Classic Italian: How to Make Grilled Panzanella Salad
A simple recipe with a rich heritage
The Tuscany region of Italy is famous for its simple yet flavorful cuisine. Panzanella is no exception. This classic Italian salad makes use of stale, crusty bread pan fried in olive oil and garlic—think croutons—and mixes it with delicious fresh vegetables.
Panzanella makes a great side dish for plenty of meals. Its fresh and light flavor also makes it an excellent summer entree when you're looking for a meal that won't weigh you down.
In this new twist on an old favorite, we've forgone pan frying the bread. Instead, we've chose to grill it to a nice, toasty dark brown right alongside our fresh veggies. This gives the dish a bold, roasted flavor that compliments the vegetables very nicely.
- 1 loaf, French Bread
- 1 large Red Pepper
- 1 medium Red Onion
- 1 medium Zucchini
- 4 oz Cherry Tomato
- 1 medium Cucumber, seedless
- .2 oz Basil, fresh
- 2 oz Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 6 oz Fresh Mozzarella Pearls
- Salt & Pepper
30 minutes active
1 hour total
How to Make Grilled Panzanella Salad
- Heat grill to high heat.
- Begin by cutting the French loaf in half and then split it down the middle; Drizzle with oil.
- Cut the onion in half down through the root and remove the skin.
- Split the zucchini lengthwise and then quarter into spears.
- Split the red pepper in half through the stem.
- Add onion, zucchini, red pepper, and bread to grill; Grill until desired char is achieved.
- Removed grilled vegetables and bread from grill and set aside to cool.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the cucumber, and cut the basil into chiffanade; Combine all items into a mixing bowl.
- Dress with vinaigrette and mozzarella; Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Serve room temperature or chilled.
A Few Notes About This Recipe:
"I hate zucchini - can I use something else?"
Of course you can! After all, panzanella is a salad and salad is French for "whatever-you-have-on-hand-dish". Okay, so it's not French for that at all, but you can still use any veggies of your choosing, so long as the bread is there it's panzanella in our book!
Can I grill ALL of the vegetables?
You certainly could—no one will stop you—but it's worth to have some different textures in your dish. Also, grilling all of the veggies (especially ones like tomatoes) can produce a dish that's a little more runny than desired. While grilled tomatoes are fantastic, we like to keep them cool and crunchy.
What should I pair my panzanella with?
Chicken is a popular option. Consider trying roasted, marinade, or even grilled (since you'll already be using the grill, anyway). Fish can also be a great option, especially in the summer when you're looking for a lighter dish but you don't think the salad will be enough on its own.
These are just recommendations, of course. Feel free to try your own combinations for an inspired fusion dish.