This hearty vegan Panzanella Salad recipe is perfect for those lingering days of Summer, and it can work its way into the cooler months as well. With it’s bright green base and hearty components, it can be a meal or side dish nearly any time of year.
This isn’t really a traditional Panzanella recipe: most panzanella recipes call for primarily bread and a few veggies – making it more of a bread salad. Yet this healthy panzanella recipe highlights the veggies, using bread as just an accent – more than croutons but less than what might be called for in traditional recipes.
You can really use any type of green here, like a good massaged kale, arugula, or even field greens. However, spinach is the perfect balance between hearty and light that seems just perfect to balance the strong flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes, olives and garlic-infused olive oil.
Other additions that would be really good here include some vegan feta cheese or vegan parmesan cheese, fresh chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, or other fresh herbs, like dill or oregano. I think it could be extra yummy with some chickpeas, too. Play with the flavors, and make this salad your own.
Spinach Panzanella Recipe
¼ cup olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves, minced finely
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked one hour in water
½ cup Kalamata olives (sliced or whole, optional)
½ cup chopped artichoke hearts
½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp salt
Pinch of black pepper
6 slices bread of choice, or 3 cups chopped/torn (see note below)
1 cup fresh basil, sliced thinly
6 cups fresh spinach, sliced roughly
- In a small saucepan warm olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook until garlic is browned, about five minutes.
- To a large bowl, add sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes, and walnuts. Pour on warm olive oil and garlic mixture, then add vinegars and salt and pepper. Toss to combine. You can let this marinate for an hour, up to overnight, or use immediately.
- To the tomato mixture, add the cubed/torn bread and toss to combine. Toss until bread is coated, then toss in the fresh, sliced basil.
- Divide spinach evenly among serving bowls. Add tomato/bread mixture atop the greens. Serve as is, or toss to combine.
- If serving later, keep all components separate until just before serving. Enjoy your salad al fresco while dreaming of Italian summers!
A note about the bread: You want the bread to absorb as much of the oil and vinegar as possible, so use either stale bread or fresh bread that has been toasted to dry it out a bit. Of course, choose gluten-free if needed.
A note about the sun-dried tomatoes: I usually buy my dry sun-dried tomatoes in the bulk section, and then rehydrate in warm water as needed. You can also use the sun-dried tomatoes found in jars that are already soaked in oil or water- if using these just skip the soak step.
Isn’t this the yummiest salad? Andrea