Panzanella: A Healthy, Veggie, Seasonal Dinner

by Rebekahcooked up on July 28, 2011

A panzanella is an Italian bread and tomato salad, but the recipe we found in a Tastes of Home magazine earlier this year added cannelini beans and artichokes and turned it into a full meal that’s perfect for summer and requires almost no cooking.

Dave has such great intuition when it comes to cooking. It was his idea to use as many kinds of tomatoes as we did (three – yes, it was awesome). He also had the idea to try this recipe.

Every day I feel like we get better at making meatless meals because of recipes like this one. Actually, depending on what bread you use, it’s probably vegan. We aren’t vegans or vegetarians – you may have noticed the pulled pork recipe from a few weeks ago – but we don’t eat a lot of meat for health reasons and because of concern for the environment (but that is a post for another day). In fact, I think the last time we had any was last Saturday at a party.

Here’s a list of what we used in our panzanella (you can find the recipe we based it on here):

  • 6 cups of cubed good french style bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes
  • half a cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 cubed fresh hothouse tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup ish of artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, quartered


  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Douse the bread cubes in some olive oil and toast in the oven for 10-20 minutes. They should be pretty crunchy when you take them out.

In the  meantime, drain the canned whole tomatoes and put them into a bowl. Use a spoon to break them up.

Chop your fresh ones…

And your sun-dried ones (look in the produce aisle – for some reason, there are cheaper jars of sun-dried tomatoes there that are not also placed in the Italian section with the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes).

Soo many tomatoes. Yummy. Chop your red onion as well and add it, the beans and the artichokes all to the bowl and mix.

You can either spoon this over the bread in your bowl or mix it all together at once. Meanwhile, mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a smaller vessel:

Use this to dress the salad and toasted bread after you’ve spooned it into serving dishes.

Ah, so delicious.

We definitely don’t always have fresh herbs on hand, but I think with this particular dinner they really made a difference. The oregano was fresh from our backyard, but we bought the parsley. 🙂

This dinner also reminds me of a campaign out of Johns Hopkins that I think is a really great idea – Meatless Mondays. For your health alone, it’s a good idea to not eat a ton of red meat, and so this campaign is encouraging folks to better their health by cutting out meat one day a week.

Friends, what are your thoughts? Do you have any good veggie recipes? And what do you think about this campaign?


  1. yum… I want to read about your choice to be mostly vegetarian sometime! that’s how I like to eat/cook also.

    Comment by kimberly — July 28, 2011 at 9:15 am

  2. That’s a really hearty lookin’ salad! I feel like meat every meal was so ingrained in my eating habits growing up that it’s a hard thing to kick, but with so many great meat-less recipes floating around (like this one!) it might not be too tough. Meatless Mondays might just have to be something I try out.

    Comment by Mary Knopp — July 28, 2011 at 9:31 am

  3. This looks delicious! I think I’m adding it to next weeks menu.

    Comment by Brigette — July 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Other dinner recipes to try:

Chili Rubbed Steelhead Protein Bowl with Farro and Pomegranate Glaze

Well friends, we are getting down to the wire over here! Only 5-7 more weeks to go before our twin baby boys make their way into this world. I can’t believe it’s so close – and yet so far. We’ve come through so many months of the eating (and drinking) restrictions, weird symptoms of all […]

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

Hands down my favorite thing to do with my armloads of summer tomatoes.

BLT Wedge Salad with Charred Corn

Summer calls for an update to my favorite crispy salad!