Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

Though light and low in fat, this one-dish meal is sustaining enough to satisfy hungry appetites. You'll see why salads like this - of bread, vegetables, and herbs - have always been improvised by cooks throughout the Mediterranean. They were and are born of ingredients found in almost every kitchen - the last remnants of the previous week's bread baking, dried out perhaps, but far too important as food to ever throw away; vinegar, always in the larder for flavoring and preserving; and whatever vegetables the market offers at any particular time.

Use the following as a starting point, and be sure to use organic ingredients if at all possible. They make a big difference not only in what you put in your mouth, but to our environment.


  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice ice

  • 1/2 loaf or 4 cups big chunks of coarse, chewy country bread (whole wheat, multi-grain, or part whole wheat, all without sugar)

  • 7 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 1 anchovy

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced

  • 1 small stalk celery with leaves

  • 1 to 2 sweet yellow peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • small bunch young dandelion greens, arugala, or wild salad mix

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

  • 1 pound Sugarsnap peas, strung and cut in half

  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 12 Italian oil-cured or Kalamata olives, pitted

  • 3 whole scallions

  • 1 tablespoon salted or vinegar-marinated capers, rinsed

  • about 18 fresh coriander or basil leaves

  • 6 large fresh mint leaves

  • 3 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 ounces Ricotta Salata or Fontinella cheese

  • crumbled salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a small bowl, cover onions with ice water. Put bread in another bowl, sprinkling with 3 tablespoons of the vinegar and the 1/2 cup water. Chill both 30 minutes while preparing other ingredients. In a large bowl, mash together anchovy, rest of the vinegar, and the garlic. Let stand about 10 minutes. Add all the vegetables. Set aside a few whole herb leaves, then finely chop the rest with the garlic, olives, scallions, and capers. Add to the bowl with the drained onions. Squeeze bread dry, adding it to the bowl with rest of the vinegar and the cheese. Toss and taste for seasoning.

Finish with the herb leaves. A large white bowl sets off the salad's color beautifully. Serve lightly chilled.

Copyright 1996 Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.