Summer on a Plate: Panzanella Salad with Beans

I discovered panzanella salad last summer and was instantly in love. It's filling, versatile, and it's beautiful on a plate. This traditional Italian salad is meant for summer when tomatoes are at their peak, so don't even try to attempt this with less-than-stellar tomatoes or you'll be disappointed with the results.

For this version, I used the green onions and red leaf lettuce from our CSA (community sponsored agriculture) share along with some market fresh vegetables and a day old loaf of multi-grain bread from our local bakery. The beans I added as an afterthought since I had just cooked some up the night before, but it was a great call. A hearty and filling salad? Totally! And it's vegan too, so it's a win.

The only trick with this salad is to make what you will eat for that meal because leftovers turn soggy quickly. What I like to do is prepare the dressing ahead - often making a double batch so that I can make this salad quickly whenever the urge strikes. And trust me, the urge will be often. Is it embarrassing that I ate this 3 days in a row? It's that good.

Panzanella Salad with Beans
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
4-6 small tomatoes, seeded & diced
1 cup cooked beans

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 t kosher salt
1/2 t aleppo pepper

1 head of lettuce
1 cup fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
1/2 loaf of day-old peasant bread, cubed

In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.

In a small jar, give the next 5 ingredients a good shake. Pour the dressing over top of the vegetable/bean mixture and let flavors mingle for 10 minutes.

Toss in the lettuce, basil and bread. Give everything a good toss and serve immediately.

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

Jan Halvarson


Katie said...

nom nom nom. I lovvvee panzanella, thank you so much for sharing the recipe I can't wait to eat this!!!

Unknown said...

That looks delicious, I've never tried panzanella, but I think that I might have to do just that after seeing these mouthwatering photos of it!

Stephanie R. said...

YUM! I am DEFINITELY going to try this soon, and share it with my co-op (crediting poppytalk and everybodylikessandwiches, of course :). I've followed everybodylikessandwiches for awhile, and love Jeannette's contributions to poppytalk!

Bijoux said...

I LOVE panzanella salad! It's the best way to use up a half loaf of stale spelt bread without throwing it in the garbage because it cost you $6 at the farmer's market to buy. The bread absorbs all the great juices from the tomato and good olive oil and it's just delicious! The beans are a great add-in too!

Robert F said...

I made this tonight, using cannellini beans. The aleppo pepper is a must, as it adds character to the vinaigrette. I substituted roasted corn for raw green onions, which (for Judy) have too sharp of a taste. Seems like roasted red peppers might be nice too.

I didn't have stale peasant bread so I bought a new loaf and toasted it. It's a bit odd to think that recipes like this were originally intended for poor Italian farm families but are now stood up as gourmet treats.

Anyway, thanks to the fabulous Ms. Pleat for another excellent meal.