This recipe is your classic, Italian Tomato and Olive Panzanella Salad made with home grown tomatoes, marinated olives and Italian crusty bread. The tomatoes are left to sit in the olive oil that intensifies flavours. This healthy, tasty salad is a great midweek recipe that can be made in minutes and is beyond good.
Here we are, smack in the middle of summer and I’m loving every minute of it. Having just returned from a fabulous cruise around New Zealand, I’m truly rested, a few kilos heavier. Hence the reason I’m creating more healthy, tasty salads. I’m ready to knuckle down, get my body moving and create some healthier packed-lunch recipe options.
Today’s recipe is an old favourite and I regularly take this salad to work as a packed lunch. The Panzanella salad consists of crispy croutons, which soak up all the tomato juices, making it very satisfying to me. It’s also a great salad that can be made in no time. We Australians love firing up a BBQ even if it’s a week night, and this salad is the perfect accompaniment when grilling.
I can’t get enough of all of these beautiful fresh flavours and colours.
Let’s begin making Panzanella Salad
To begin, let’s start with creating the herbed crunchy croutons. I love using a good crusty, Italian bread but sourdough is also great. Cut the bread into 1cm cubes and drizzle with olive oil. Alternatively, use an olive oil spray, coat the bread cubes generously then sprinkle with dried oregano leaves. Place on a preheated oven 200°C and bake for 15 minutes until they’re golden and crunchy.
While your bread is toasting in the oven, use the time to chop the tomatoes in halves or cubes, depending on the size and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and dried oregano. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until the croutons are ready. The salt releases the juices in the tomato and the oregano intensifies the flavours.
Add the marinated olives…
Place the tomatoes in a serving dish and add the croutons. Finish off with some chopped basil and serve.
Feel free to serve the Panzanella as a side salad (it goes particularly well with steak, fish or anything off the BBQ). Enjoy!!
PS If you can get your hands on some home grown tomatoes when making this recipe, it’s well worth it!
Tomato and Olive Panzanella Salad
- 4-5 tomatoes cut in halves
- 3 slices Italian Ciabatta / Vienna loaf cut into cubes
- 1 cup marinated olives
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp oregano dried
- 1 tsp salt
- Starting with the cut bread, place on a tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the dried oregano over the cut bread pieces. Bake in a pre-heated oven marked 200°C for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, wash and cut the tomatoes and place into a bowl.
- Season with salt, add the remaining olive oil and oregano. Allow to sit for approx. 10 minutes or until the croutons are cooking.
- Add the marinated olives to the tomatoes and place in a serving dish.
- Top with the croutons and serve. You may add more olive oil to the tomatoes if preferred.
- This salad can be served as a side dish with roast chicken, fish, or lamb OR is perfectly satisfying as a main meal.
- It’s an easy, summer salad to serve at your next BBQ and can be made a few hour ahead of time. If you are making it ahead of time, drizzle with olive oil and place in the fridge. Add the croutons when you are ready to serve.
- It’s a great packed lunch option for vegetarians.
- For all non-vegetarians, you can add some protein to the dish such as prawns, tuna or chicken breast.
I truely hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I have enjoyed sharing it with others over the years.