Spring Panzanella

Updated: Apr 7

Seemingly every summer, someone asks me about Panzanella, and rightfully so, as it is definitely one of my favorite expressions of the season. Here is a recipe and a little history to go with it…



Panzanella was first mentioned by Italian author Boccaccio in the Decameron, called “pan lavato” washed bread). At the time and for many centuries to follow, Panzanella was a dish that was made only n the homes of farmers and country folk. It was made with day old bread, soaked in water and mixed with veggies fresh from the garden. The word panzanella is said to come from the two words: “pane” (or bread) and “zanella” (soup bowl). It wasn’t until 1865 when Panzanella began to be enjoyed by all social classes. When the dish was served to Vittorio Emanuele, the King of Italy, by statesman Bettino Ricasoli, it was said that the green basil, the white bread, and red tomato expressed the glorious colors of Italy and its flag. Panzanella has come a long way since the water soggin bread of years past and is now found on many fine dining restaurant menus. Common in Panzanella are the bread, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, peppers, and red onion. Some original recipes found the onion as the most prominent ingredient. Today, most chefs dress the bread in olive oil and vinegar rather than water, which I must say is way tastier! As with any recipe, the one here is a road map to a great dish. However, there are multiple ways to vary the recipe and utilize what you have on hand at the local market, or if you’re lucky enough, the ingredients popping out of your garden!



Ciabatta Panzanella - Ingredient List

1 Loaf Ciabatta - split horizontally

2 oz. Olive Oil

4 oz. French Green Beans - trimmed

4 oz. Sugar Snap Pea Pods

2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes - cut in half

2 Petite Persian Cucumbers - ¼” coins

½ Cup Castelvetrano Olives - cut in half

½ Cup Torn Basil Leaves

1 Small Red Onion - sliced paper thin

4 oz. Crumbled Feta Cheese

2 Tablespoons California Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Drizzle of Red Wine Vinaigrette

- Recipe Serves 2-4

- See Vinaigrette Recipe Below


Place a pot of water on the stove, salt heavily, and bring to a boil. Get an ice bath ready and set aside. Place green beans and snap peas in boiling water and allow water to come back to a boil. Remove green vegetables with a slotted spoon, place in ice water, and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Remove from ice water and set aside on a paper towel. Toss the bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes at 375° until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside till you are ready to assemble the salad. In a large bowl combine the bread, blanched vegetables, Feta cheese and fresh vegetables. Toss with red wine vinaigrette and serve. Pair with a chilled Grenache Blanc and enjoy!


Red Wine Vinaigrette - Ingredient List

2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

¼ Cup California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Clove of Garlic - finely minced

1 Teaspoon Honey

¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt


Whisk above ingredients together and set

aside until ready to serve salad. Toss salad

ingredients with red wine vinaigrette and

serve immediately.

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