I fell head-over-heels in love with panzanella while writing our cookbook, and felt it was high time that we created another version of it. Enter this Greek Panzanella – your tastebuds will be in heaven! Simply leave out the bread to make a simple Greek Salad.
What is Panzanella?
Panzanella is essentially just a chopped salad that uses stale bread. Its origins are Italian (Tuscan), and this salad truly is such a great way to use up stale bread before it is thrown out. I LOVE any recipe that helps me use up food before it gets wasted, and this one hits it out o the park.
Meal salads are my summer go-to. Healthy, delicious and typically little work … what more could you ask for? Try this Cowgirl Salad (like a copycat Earl’s Santa Fe Salad) or this Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Peach Salad for two of my favourites!
I’ve been on a Greek Salad kick for a few weeks now, and find that it’s a great way to use up extra veggies when I meal plan and have a fully stocked fridge. I love how Greek Salad gets better once it sits for a bit, which is the same for panzanella. Give the bread a bit of a chance to soak up the flavours of your dressing for best results. This is a meal on its own, but you can top it with marinated grilled chicken if you wish.
What Type of Bread is Best for Panzanella?
I happened to have a half of a loaf of homemade sourdough bread that I had stuck in the freezer the other week with the intention of making croutons. But… I decided to make a panzanella instead. Well played if you ask me. I suggest using a crusty (usually white) good quality artisan bread for panzanella. Typically the ones that are a bit more dense (not the really fluffy ones) do better in my experience.
Be sure to use bread that isn’t fresh for this salad. If you’re stuck with a fresh loaf of bread (there are worse problems to have for the record) fear not. Simply tear up the bread or cut it into around 1″ pieces, toss it in olive oil, a clove of crushed garlic and a sprinkle of salt and bake it in a 300F oven until golden brown, tossing occasionally.
I chose to grill the bread that I had, and used Charles’ old trick of rubbing the toasted bread with a clove of fresh garlic that was cut in half to give it a perfect amount of garlic flavour. It’s SO GOOD! He has a few good tricks up his sleeve, I think I’ll keep him around;)
Have a stellar week and enjoy! If you make this salad (or any of my recipes) and love it I would be so grateful if you would give it a rating below or add a comment!
This Greek spin on panzanella will be a new summer favourite! Such fresh flavours and healthy ingredients! Serves 4 as a meal or 6 as a side dish.
- 1.5 lb tomatoes, roughly chopped (4 cups)
- 1 Long English cucumber, cut into half-moon shapes (2 cups)
- 2 sweet bell peppers, chopped (3 cups)
- 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled (or vegan feta)
- 1 cup pittted Kalamata olives
- ¾ cup diced or sliced red onion (about 1/2 red onion)
- 1/2 loaf good quality artisian bread (not fresh if possible)
- 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad
Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss to combine and set aside.
For the Bread
Cut the bread into thick slices, brush with olive oil and grill on both sides until golden. Cut a clove of garlic length ways and rub the cut side on both sides of the toasted bread slices. Tear into rough chunks. If you don't have a grill, tear the bread into rough pieces and toss together with a glug of olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic and a sprinkle of salt and bake at 300F on a baking sheet until golden brown.
For the Dressing
Combine all of the dressing ingredients together in a cup or mason jar, whisk together and stir into the salad with the chunks of bread prepared as per above. Serve immediately or let it sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend before eating.