Avocado Basil Panzanella

Avocado Basil Panzanella

Growing up, I always had breakfast. My parents, although both extremely busy, made sure that I had juice, bread or cereal, and a glass of milk before going to school. It was really important to them, so you would think that I have a habit to make sure that I eat breakfast now.

Something happened in college, laziness, that made this all change and now it’s a struggle now to get breakfast back into my system. I’ve come to realize that it’s mostly because of the time that I have to take to plan, prepare, and make breakfast that turns me off from wanting to do it. But it’s been way too long since I have consistently had breakfast for more than two days. I feel my body yelling at me every day for not having some form of nutrition in the beginning of the day.

So, I’ve decided to challenge myself, and possibly challenge some of my friends, to start our day with a more healthy habit.

Starting today, July 14th, I will be making, eating, and enjoying breakfast for four weeks straight. No cold pizza or super unhealthy donuts, but healthy, balanced meals to hopefully get me in the habit of eating breakfast at least 5 days a week. To kick it off, I will have a play on a tartine I used to make while I lived in DC. It was super easy but it took a long time to prepare and also was expensive to make.

The Avacado Basil Tartine required super amazing fresh ingredients. Problem was, when I made it for one or two people, it was a waste of time, resources, and ingredients. I would have to buy a whole bunch of basil, a whole tomato, a whole avacado but only use a few slices and leaves from the ingredients. I’d end up at the end of the week with a half eaten tomato, a brown avacado, and a bunch of wilting basil.   It was another reason to hate breakfast. To make sure that it didn’t ruin the most important meal of the day, I decided to turn this into a panzanella, or bread salad. In this form, I was able to also prep all the ingredients earlier, mix everything quickly and then take it with me on my commute to work.

In case you where wondering what the flavor profile was like.  When you take your first bite you first get the intense crunch from the bread, light tartness from the tomato and vinegar, peppery freshness from the basil, earthiness from the fresh ground pepper and it all ties together with a creamy sweetness from the dressing and avocado.  Voila. Breakfast on the train that the next person will surely be jealous of.  Now, a muffin or donut from the vendor on the corner is still good, you won’t be craving it.  I promise.  Plus, make sure you bring some extra forks if you eat this at work, people will try to eat it.

From start to finish (with pre-toasted bread) you can mix this in minutes.  Make the dressing and toast the bread the night before, that way you can cut corners.

About the challenge?  Follow me on twitter @brbeating to find out what I had for breakfast that day.  If I miss a day, I give you permission to publicly berate me.


2 cups of stale bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tsp olive oil plus 2 tbs for dressing

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbs honey mustard

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1½  cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 medium avacado, cubed

1½  tbs fresh basil, chiffonade

salt to taste


preheat oven to 350°f

toss bread with 2 tsp olive oil and garlic powder and toast in oven until slightly toasted, about 7 min

whisk remaining oil, mustard, pepper, vinegar, and oil in a bowl and set aside

mix all ingredients together and season to taste

-serves 4-


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