Have you ever tried an Italian panzanella bread salad before? I mean, it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You’re having a salad for lunch, but really it’s mostly just damn delicious crusty bread that’s soaked up a tangy balsamic and olive oil dressing, lots of flavoursome cherry tomatoes, red onion and basil leaves. As we liked to do, we’ve pimped this salad up a bit adding two of our favourite plant-based nutritional powerhouses: pomegranate arils and hemp seeds. Now, thats my kind of salad folks…
WHAT YOULL NEED FOR OUR VEGAN PANZANELLA BREAD SALAD
FOR THE SALAD-
- Crusty sourdough loaf– it’s important to use a good quality bread so you get the crunchy texture, any other bread will just go soggy. If you cant get sourdough, ciabatta or panda di casa can work well too.
- Cherry tomatoes– we love to use flavoursome cherry tomatoes but of course if you can’t source them just cut up any tomatoes you have. As tomatoes are a big flavour factor here, try to find vine ripened ones.
- Red onion– a delicious addition but if you cant handle raw onion simply omit. Onions are a great anti-inflammatory food, so are a great food as medicine.
- Pomegranate arils– a pop of freshness and colour. They can be substituted for red grapes, dried cranberries or blueberries but if you can get them the pomegranate the flavour cannot be beaten. See below for tips on how to open and deed your pomegranate.
- Hemp seeds– most definitely not a traditional ingredient but we love the addition of hemp for a nutritional boost. You can simply omit, or you could use quinoa, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
- Fresh basil– no if’s or but’s about it, basil is essential. If your not a basil fan, this salad just may not be for you…
FOR THE DRESSING
- Extra virgin olive oil– our favourite choice for a salad dressing as it’s bold flavour pairs so perfectly with this traditional Italian salad, and thus we do not recommend swapping it for any other oil. A good source of healthy fats is a bonus!
- Balsamic vinegar-a concentrated, flavoursome and absolutely delicious vinegar made from grapes. Again, balsamic is an essential for this salad. You can sub for red wine vinegar if that is what you have on hand.
- Dijon mustard– add’s a tangy element to your dressing, and is important to emulsify the ingredients. Dijon is usually a very mild mustard, so if you’re not a mustard fan usually then this one might be ok for you.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper– um… always, right?
HERES HOW ITS DONE
- CUT up your bread, leave it to stale.
- CHOP your ingredients, and peel your pomegranate arils out.
- BLEND your dressing using a stick blender or nutribullet- You can use a whisk, but the dressing might not emulsify as well. That won’t affect taste, just how creamy and uniform it looks.
- COMBINE your bread and dressing, massaging with your hands to get all that juicy delicious flavour in. This step is so important to create the best Vegan panzanella bread and tomato salad- so don’t be afraid to really get your hands in there.
- TOSS your salad together.
Thats it! Super simple, minimal ingredients, satisfying, packed full of flavour, nutritious, quick and easy to assemble and very versatile.
For a full description please see the recipe card below.
HOW TO DESEED A POMEGRANATE
It s easier than is looks once you know how! It can be messy work if you don’t follow these simple steps.
- Use a small sharp knife to cute a small round off the top and bottom.
- Next, Find a ridge in the pomegranate, and cut a line down the ridge from top to bottom and then find the next ridge and repeat until they are all cut.
- Standing over a sink, you should now be able to peel the skin off in sections between each ridge.
- Fill a large bowl with water, and immerse the de-skinned pomegranate, breaking it apart into segments and then breaking the segments to free all the arils.
- The pith and inedible parts of the pomegranate will float to the top of the water. Remove these, leaving only the water and arils.
- Drain, and store arils in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you love the sounds of our vegan panzanella bread and tomato salad here’s a few other savoury recipes to try-
- Vegan smokey chilli beans
- Vegan pasta bake. Spinach and feta shells
- 20 minute easy cauliflower chickpea curry
- Crispy sage and pumpkin cashew pasta
We hope you like our vegan panzanella bread and tomato salad as much as we do! We love hearing your feedback, so if you try this recipe please leave a review or a comment at the bottom of the page. Have a great day.
A traditional Italian bread salad, made vegan of course. A delicious combination of crusty sourdough bread, cherry tomatoes, red onion, pomegranate arils, hemp seeds and basil paired perfectly with a tangy balsamic dressing.
FOR THE SALAD
- 250g stale sourdough bread (approximately half a loaf)
- 500g cherry tomatos (2 punnets)*
- 1 small red onion, thinly diced
- 1/2 pomegranate, arils only**
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds***
- 1 bunch basil, leaves only
FOR THE DRESSING
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic oil
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- Few pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cut up your bread and spread on a tray. Allow to stale for 30 minutes, or even overnight.
- Wash and half your tomatoes. Finely slice your onions. Remove pomegranate arils, discard any pitch or discoloured arils.
- Combine all of your dressing ingredients in a small jug and blend with a stick blender, or a NutriBullet. Using this method will give you a much smoother, more emulsified end product but if you don’t have either of these simply use a whisk.
- Combine your bread and dressing in a large bowl. Massage the dressing into the bread with your hands, take the time to ensure you’ve massaged the bread well so it soaks up all the flavour.
- Add in the rest of your salad ingredients, tossing to combine. Eat immediately, or within a few hours. I would not recommend saving for the next day as the bread and basil will go bad.
*we use cherry tomatoes but you can of course use any tomatoes you want.
**pomegranate arils are a delicious addition but we understand they can be hard to source/may be expensive. You could sub for red grapes, halved, dried cranberries or blueberries.
***we have not tried the salad with substitutes for hemp but you could simply omit if you don’t have it, or you could try it with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or even quinoa.