Wow. I’ve really got to get it together. Home alone and suddenly my mind goes blank when it comes to cooking. On my way home I remembered that I had a baggie of cubed whole wheat baguette in the freezer that I’d been meaning to turn into a panzanella salad. At least that was somewhere to start.

A traditional Italian panzanella salad is really more of a summer thing. Fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette tossed with cubes of lightly toasted bread. Basically giant crutons plus veggies plus dressing. I’d seen a roasted vegetable panzanella recipe awhile back so I thought I’d give it a try.

My version featured green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and mozzarella. It would have featured cannellini beans and capers too, but I suffered many minutes in line at Trader Joe’s, only to realize I’d forgotten my can of beans when it was too late. I didn’t have anyone to send to fetch the beans, and as I was on the verge of strangling one of the many people who don’t understand TJ’s etiquitte (you get in line, and shop the perimeter after you are in line. Don’t shove between me and the other guy in line to get your yogurt. GET IN LINE.) I thought better of leaving the line to go anywhere. I could have stopped at another store on the way home, but do you know that thing where you’re just determined to get home already and you convince yourself maybe you have that item in the cupboard that you actually know you don’t? Yeah, that happened to me.

I have no excuse for forgetting the capers. Here’s the recipe anyway, and I’m adding the capers and the damn beans even though mine didn’t have them. The beans would really make it more like a meal. Serves 2.

Roasted Veggie Panzanella

2 – 3 c. of cubed stale bread
3/4 c. halved green beans, trimmed
1/2 c. grape or cherry tomatoes
10 cremini mushrooms, or one portabella cap
3 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 c. cubed fresh mozzarella
1 T. capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1/2 c. cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
2 T. balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread your bread cubes out on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 – 10 minutes, stirring if necessary.

Place the mushrooms (left whole, stems removed), beans, tomatoes and whole cloves of garlic on a baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to wrinkle. Let cool to room temperature. Toss the veggies with the cheese, capers and beans. Add the balsamic, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.