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This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. 

This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul.

This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. Panzanella is as much a celebration of the exquisite taste and utility of the tomato as it is a way of using up good but stale bread. Known largely as a cunning way of transforming a spare hunk of bread into a hearty but fresh-tasting dish, panzanella – bread and tomato salad – is quite simply a stunner of a supper. Whether eaten in a slightly overcast Scottish garden, bees buzzing amongst the roses and sweet peas, or in Tuscany, on a battered trestle table under a canopy of grape-laden vines, panzanella is a perfect summer, throw-together salad.

This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. If I wasn’t wanting and needing to make other recipes I would quite happily settle on this colour-rammed salad pretty much all summer long, adding and subtracting ingredients as required, and desired. There are just so many ways a basic panzanella can go – add sliced, hard-cooked eggs or cooled, cooked beans for a shot of protein; have a mix of roasted and fresh veggies (like I’ve done here); change up the herbs; use citrus instead of the usual sharp vinegar. It’s all okay.

— Unless you ask an Italian mama. Don’t ask just do, is my advice.

— And definitely don’t tell her that her precious panzanella has gone Greek!This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. 

Why you will love this summer-kissed salad

1. It is a great way to use stale bread. In fact, don’t bother making this UNLESS you have stale bread. You could dry bread out in a low oven, but seriously, just let a good, artisan loaf (ie preservative- and additive-free) go a bit dry, cube it up and toss it in. That is literally what you do. Oh, and the better the bread, the better the salad. 

2. Panzanella is just the best picnic salad. You put the whole thing together, dressing and all, pack it away and hit the road or trail. After you’ve had your swim in the sea or flung your blanket on the forest floor, tuck into this salad and feel just a bit smug at your cleverness. Soggy sandwiches and delicate leafy salads will never be on your picnic menu again.

3. It’s helluva healthy. There is nothing in here not to like. Not only is it flipping delicious and satisfying, this juicy salad is a nutritional wunderkind. Even that bread – good stuff, whole grain and additive-free – is a healthy part of this recipe. Ripest tomatoes and peppers, olive oil, best vinegar, garlic, best bread (albeit stale), fresh herbs, crunchy green beans, red onion, a few plucks of Kalamata olive, creamy beans. Irresistible.

4. It’s flexible. This bread and tomato salad can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. You can go kitchen sink or ascetic monk and it will be good. Better than good. Just make sure your (top notch) bread is stale, tomatoes just picked (or near as dammit), your olive oil extra virgin and your acid sings both sweet and sharp.

Have you had Panzanella? What are your tips for making and eating it?

This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. 

Greek-style Panzanella

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean. and so very good for body and soul. xx

100g (3.5 ounces) stale best bread – gluten-free is fine

1 kg (about 2 lbs) ripest tomatoes – a mix of varieties and sizes is nice

1 tsp salt plus extra as required

1 each of red and orange peppers

1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced and placed in a small bowl of cold water to tame them

2 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

4 tbsp best extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed and minced

100g (3.5 oz) green/fine beans, topped, tailed and boiled for four minutes then cooled

150g (5.3 ounces) cooked beans, such as cannellini or borlotti

8 Kalamata olives, flesh pinched from the stone

Large handful of basil, oregano and mint leaves, washed and torn if large

Method

1. Chop the tomatoes into bite-size pieces, saving any juice. Pop the pieces into a fine sieve, sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt (it helps draw out the juices) and set over a bowl to allow the juice to drain for about 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. You will be using the juice in the dressing.This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. 

2. For the peppers, there are two ways to go. The first way is to blister the peppers over an open flame (I did mine on my gas hob, turning with tongs) or in a 220C/430F oven for 40 minutes. You want the peppers blackened. Use your hands to initially rub away the blackened skin, following up with a paper towel to get the rest. Now chop them into bite-sized pieces. OR, just chop and use them raw!This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. 

3. Once the tomatoes have drained, add the vinegar to the bowl of tomato water then whisk in the oil, adding it in a steady drizzle. Whisk in the garlic and Dijon; taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as you wish. This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. 

4. Now it is just a matter of putting it together. Add the chopped tomatoes and peppers to a large serving bowl, followed by the red onion, green beans, cannellini beans, olives, bread and most of the herbs. Pour over the dressing and toss well. Then toss some more. Let the flavours meld for at least half an hour before serving. Toss one more time before serving. Scatter over the remaining herbs.

***Let me know if you make this recipe. And if you are on Instagram and post a pic, tag me (@food_to_glow) and use the hashtag #foodtoglow. I’ll repost any that I see!***

Ripe for Pinning! And you can follow me on Pinterest, too 🙂This recipe is a Greek take on the classic Italian bread and tomato salad, with loads of fresh oregano, mint and basil as well as hearty beans to make this a proper lunch or light supper. Panzanella is the ultimate picnic and lunch box salad, actually getting better as it waits. Mediterranean, colorful, and so very good for body and soul. 

 

 

 

 

56 thoughts on “How to Make Greek-style Panzanella

  1. Colleen says:

    What a beautiful (and I’m sure delicious) salad!

    1. Thank you, Colleen. I hope you try it – or a version of it. 🙂

  2. Looks beautiful, bravo!!! 👏👏👏

    1. I’m very glad you like it 🙂

      1. I do! I definitely want to try it out!

  3. Once again, you blow me away with one of your recipes. I could taste and smell each ingredient as I followed along with the instructions. I’m not fond of refrigerated salads but I could make an exception for this one, make it on Sunday, and nibble on for a couple of days, or send it to work with my sweetie. Thank you. You draw the best word pictures!

    1. You are so very kind! What sweet, encouraging words. I love to give a bit of a story before the recipe but wonder how many people just skip past the prose and straight for the grub. I am heartened to know you read it all. Thank you 🙂 xx

  4. Looks very healthy and tasty.. Will definitely give this one a try..

    1. I hope you do. Let me know?

  5. It looks really tasty! Thank you for inspiration 🙂

    1. Well I am very glad you like it. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  6. thespicyrd says:

    Gorgeous salad Kellie! I LOVE Panzanella salad, and the fact that it’s Greek style makes it even better IMO. I hope you {almost} summer is off to a fabulous start 🙂

    1. Well now I know of course that you have made this, and made it your own! Love your feta and fridge raid spin on panzanella. It is now my go-t0 basic summer lunch recipe to riff on. All of your gorgeous So Cal produce will give you so many spanking fresh options. I’m just a tad jealous 😉

  7. I’m feeling a dollop of feta on this salad but I’m sure it isn’t needed.
    Love it and it’s tomato season here. Yum
    Tracey

    1. Yes! EA over at The Spicy RD did just that and let me know on Instagram. I am trying to avoid salt so I am making some of my recipes (not all though!) reflect that. But I wholeheartedly endorse feta in this! 🙂

  8. Mr A says:

    This is the ultimate summer comfort food – outstanding!!!

    1. Cheers, m’dear (est) xxx

  9. Katie @ Whole Nourishment says:

    Two big thumbs up for your Greek interpretation. If I were making panzanella, this would be exactly what I’d want to include. Love the Dijon spiked dressing, beans, olives, and red onion especially. Going on the list to make!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you like, it, Katie. I really have been making it a lot. We all love it. We are very slow with bread eating so there is always some that is past it’s best. Beats making breadcrumbs every week! I hope you are having a lovely summer and that it’s not too unbearably hot in Madrid 🙂

      1. Katie @ Whole Nourishment says:

        Made it last night for a picnic in the park and it was superb! Would have never thought to add green beans but really liked them here. It was the perfect picnic meal all in one. Thanks for the inspiration Kellie!

  10. Oooh gorgeous! I love a good panzanella but I think sometimes they can be a bit dull, when the tomatoes aren’t good enough to carry the stale bread. Here, I love all the different tomatoes and the extra flavour from charred peppers as well. So colourful and perfect in this heat!

    1. I totally agree. Every element needs to be top notch or it’s not worth making. There are some very beautiful tomatoes around just now so we are making this rather a lot!

  11. Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet.com says:

    What a vibrant bowl of food this will be for dinner in this relentless heatwave!

    1. I’ve had it about five times already, all different versions. Such a useful basic recipe to riff on. Great heatwave salad. 🙂

  12. Looks amazing! I’ve never tried making panzanells but I can certainly see how it would be addictive! Loving the Greek twist too. On my menu very soon!

    1. Thanks so much, Lucy :-). I would be so chuffed if this made it onto one of your summer menus. I hope you are having a great summer!

  13. Kellie always looking forward to your post on my reader! Keep up the great work!

    1. You are so sweet, Praise. And my goodness, how much do I love your name! Gorgeous! 🙂

  14. Debra says:

    I will be making this as quickly as possible! I bake sourdough bread and almost always have a quarter loaf leftover and needing good use. 🙂 This is a wonderful recipe!

    1. I would be so happy if you did make it with leftover homemade bread! I bet it would be even tastier. Let me know if you make it and how you liked it, Debra. 🙂 PS my sourdough starter and I had a serious falling out several years ago and I’ve not gone back to it since….

  15. I love your summery recipes and fresh flavour combinations and they are recipes to keep – I have made your asian summer rolls from a few years back on the blog twice this week already as the lovely crispy minty fresh flavours cut it so well in this humid weather we are having. Thanks for all your fab recipes 🙂

    1. I think you make my Asian summer rolls more than I do, Niki! I really think you would like this panzanella. Rachel and I had some today and we just used what we had in the fridge (including leftover roast chicken and some walnuts for extra protein) as well as pickings from the garden. 🙂

  16. This looks and sounds lush! Rather embarrassed to say that I’ve never had Panzanella. I’m holidaying in Italy very soon so may get to try the real deal (although I also love Greek flavours)

    1. I have been reluctant to make it for ages as it seemed like I wouldn’t get on with the texture. But the way I’ve done it has eliminated the mush, which may be more to modern tastes, or at least UK and US tastes. enjoy your holiday in Italy. Where are you going? I love Lucca, and have been 4 times!

  17. Dear Kellie! You have a wonderful blog. It would be a pleasure if you would find some time to swing by on our blog. We translate most of our blogposts in english. Have a wonderful week. Greetings from The Recipettes from Vienna – Danuta & Manuela

    1. Thank you. You two look like you have so much fun writing up your blog! Vienna is on my list of places to visit 🙂

  18. This recipe looks awesome! It is so beautifully plated

  19. I must admit, I’ve always been a bit hesitant about panzanella, all that bread in there getting soggy doesn’t make sense to me. But this version with the beans and the roasted peppers and that good bread is just calling my name. Will have to let a loaf go past its prime and then give it a try!

    1. I will also admit to being hesitant. I’ve seen images where the bread is just mush, and thought “nope, it’s not for me”. But you maybe noticed that I add less liquid to the salad than is typical and that I don’t presoak the bread. Perhaps if the bread is actually hard as a rock this is necessary, but most of us won’t have bread quite that stale. I am happy to eat this up within 24 hours, but after that I would recommend just keeping the bread separate if it is to be eaten over a few days. Worth trying rather than making usual breadcrumbs with it, so I hope you give it a shot, Katie 🙂

  20. SISTER FEAST says:

    So funny, I was just thinking about something like this and there you were. Thank you!! Making tonight, yummy.

    1. Yay! Thanks for letting me know. I really hope you like it and want to make it again and again. And that you have the weather to match it. 🙂

  21. karenpavone says:

    The quintessential summer salad! Love this rustic, tasty combo.

  22. LocalChef says:

    Cant wait to try 😋

  23. This looks absolutely delicious. Always looking for new summer recipes!

  24. stateeats says:

    Hi Kellie – like the addition of the two types of beans here. I think a little feta on top would be great too (and amp up the Greekness). -Kat

  25. chefkreso says:

    Love all the flavours and colors, looks incredible 😀

  26. choclette says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had panzanella salad and I’ve certainly not made it. It sounds perfect for picnics if it just gets better the longer you leave it. As always, your photos make me want to dive straight in.

  27. Lucy Parissi says:

    In Greece you dip your crusty bread in Greek salad to get every last ounce of the tomato juice oil combo. So this is just perfect!

  28. What a beautiful looking salad! I love panzanella but don’t make it very often, I really should start making it more regularly, particularly your delicious looking version!

  29. Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    Oh nice crossover. I’ll have a bowl of that!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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