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Tuesday 30 April 2013

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Panzanella

The first recipe I saw for panzanella described it as a salad of stale bread and squashed tomatoes. Mmm - thanks for the dinner invite, but I am very sadly busy from now until 2074.

Don't panic. This simple Tuscan salad is far more vibrant and delicious than it first sounds (apparently Siany had it for lunch nearly every day on her adventure in Italy last week, jealous). You can rejuvenate day-old bread by flavouring it with garlic and soaking it in vinegar, tomatoes and olive oil. Mixed with roasted vegetables, it makes for an excellent light dinner or starter. If you're not veggie you could add grilled chicken, fish or prawns to it, but a big bowl of it on its own will fill you up.

Panzanella (serves 2)
You will need:
  • 3 plum tomatoes 
  • 1 stale ciabatta roll
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olives
  • 6 basil leaves, torn up
Make it!
  1. Remove the tomato skins by scoring a cross in them, plunging them into a bowl of boiling water for a minute, then scooping out and leaving to cool. The skins should easily peel away. Cut each tomato into around 8 pieces.
  2. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub it over your ciabatta. Then tear the bread into large chunks and place in a bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes, vinegar and olive oil, and set aside to marinate for an hour. It should be moist but not soggy when it's ready.
  3. Mix the bread with the rest of the salad with your hands, season to taste, and enjoy.


  1. This is also on the lunch menu in the office canteen today. How strange. Suddenly everyone is all about the bread salad. (Rightly so, it's tasty.)

    1. "Bread salad" sounds so prosaic and British compared to the fanfare that is PANZANELLA! though.

    2. It was 'invented' to use up stale bread so it's not really fancy (I listened really hard in Italy, can you tell?)

    3. I know, it's basically peasant food. But it has a fancy name and it looks pretty so it feels more decadent.

  2. PANZANELLA! This is possibly one of my most favourite things, ever.

  3. I pretty much follow what you have - although I'm a bit of a olive fiend so there's usually a very healthy dose involved! Usually I char grill the peppers and remove the skins as well - although that's sometimes a bit of a faff.

    1. Yes, I did think about doing that - better flavour and texture, but what a palaver.


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