Perfect, easy, hearty and rewarding vegan family dish packed with nutrients! Feast of tastes and textures: crunchy bread, sauteed and/or fresh veggies, a handful of soft vegan cheese and spices. A big bowl of hearty, healthy and so simple and cheap seasonal ingredients to meet a perfect picnic, breakfast or lunch.
The first time I saw this dish at my friend Nicole’s vegan blog Yumsome and made it instantly. Oh, how we loved it! I made a huge bowl and my family scraped it to the last bit. Since then I made countless versions, depending on the season and what I had on hand but it has never let me down, thanks to both its endless versatility and written-in-stone fact that Yumsome recipes always, always work, be them simple as this Panzanella, which really does not require much cooking skill nor exact measures, or more profound ones, like beautiful desserts or other vegan dishes. My Nico makes it so easy to grasp, make and enjoy every bite on that plate!
Despite the fact that this Panzanella is different that Nico’s and that there are countless versions of this dish, my first source, inspiration and credit will always go to Yumsome and I think it’s only fair to state so. Therefore, thank you, Nico, for this recipe that has become our all year round staple, especially when in need of something hearty, fulfilling, easy, cheap and so simple to throw together!
So please consider this recipe rather as an example and inspiration: you can really go with how much of whatever you have on hand. The base is toasted bread and from there you can go and build your dish to your preferences. Do you like sauteed onion or fresh? Maybe there are some spring onions too? They go perfectly in Panzanella, not just as a garnish but adding to taste so well.
Zucchinis are also always in my Panzanella bowl. For the most time of the year, they are both available and reasonably priced. Onions are even cheaper. And don’t forget garlic, please, lots of garlic! Along with few drops of lemon juice and a slice or two, it will lift the dish so beautifully from that earthy, breadish taste. Ok, breadish as a word does not exist 😉 but you know what I mean 🙂
And then tomatoes. Farmers markets are brimming with them in this time of the year and will continue so till the late fall. At least, fresh, seasonal tomatoes, along with cucumbers too. In winter, if you prefer only fresh and not imported/preserved/unnatural of any kind tomatoes, you can skip them but still, can you imagine Panzanella without a few red vibrant slices of tomatoes? I always add them.
In winter, I often just saute some onions along with julienned carrots, celery or parsley root and it adds perfectly. So to make a long story short: you can really use whatever veggies you have on hand. Be them fresh, precooked, fried or sauteed, just let your imagination guide you and you’ll love the result, I promise.
Because there is always some bread on hand. Maybe some olives too. If you don’t have any vegan cheese, you can use tofu, both silken or smoked. There are always some veggies hanging around your vegan pantry. And if you finish with some sprinkled seeds on top, it’ll be even better!
You noticed that there are two kinds of photos. The first Panzanella is with bell pepper and vegean cheese, without onions. The second one is with fresh onions and without the cheese and olives. That’s what I had at given moment and both versions were eaten with delight.
So enough of the talking, let’s go cooking!
Perfect, easy, hearty and rewarding vegan family dish packed with nutrients! Feast of tastes and textures: crunchy bread, sauteed and/or fresh veggies, a handful of soft vegan cheese and spices. A big bowl of hearty, healthy and so simple and cheap seasonal ingredients to meet a perfect picnic, breakfast, lunch or just gathering with your loved ones.
- 5 - 6 slices of stale bread, sourdough works best
- 1 onion
- 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 zucchinis, medium sized, sliced not too thin
- bell pepper, sliced
- olives, handfull
- 3 tomatoes, fresh, cubed
- 2 cloves of garlic, or to your taste
- salt, pepper to taste
- lemon slices and/or juice
- fresh herbs, to your taste
- spring onions, optional
- sesame or other seeds, optional
- a handfull of vegan cheese or tofu, to your liking
Toast slices of bread and cut into cubes.
In a large skillet or some other pan you have, saute onions and zucchini till they are all nice and soft.
If using, you can saute bell peppers and garlic too, or add them fresh, both works just fine.
Season to taste.
Put bread in the big bowl, add sauteed and fresh veggies and lemon juice (tbsp or two), cheese or tofu if using, and toss and turn gently, so it's all nicely combined. Taste the seasonings, add more if needed.
Garnish with fresh herbs, seeds or to your liking.
Serve immediately to your loved ones and enjoy!
This is just the way I made Panzanella and please take it as an example and inspiration to your own creations. You can use more/less/or different veggies to your liking and what you have on hand and adjust the amounts to your needs.
*PIN* for later!