April 22, 2012

Spring Panzanella

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you may know that one of my favourite things to make is panzanella - basically a salad of vegetables and crusty bread, tossed in a simple oil and vinegar dressing.  I think panzanella is best in the summertime, when you can get fresh tomatoes and basil from your own garden, but the great thing about this dish is that it can be adapted so easily to each season.

My first panzanella recipe that I posted was this Roasted Summer Panzanella, made with corn, tomatoes, and summer squash.  When the colder weather came around, I changed up the recipe by using root veggies and pumpernickel bread to make this Winter Panzanella that I loved.

Now that Spring is finally here, I couldn't wait to make another version of my favourite salad using some of the new produce that becomes available in springtime.

For the vegetables, I chose asparagus, radishes, and mini new red potatoes, along with the standard cherry tomatoes that I think are essential to a panzanella. For the bread, I wanted something with seeds, because they remind me of springtime and new growth, so I found a nice hearty loaf of sunflower seed rye bread that I toasted and broke into pieces.

I also like to change up the type of fresh herb that I put in my salad based on the season.  In the summer, I always use fresh basil, and in the winter, I used sage.  For my spring version, I decided to add some fresh dill, and I loved the way it brightened up the whole dish.

Finally, I topped off my salad with a big handful of alfalfa sprouts for some extra texture and substance (I added more sprouts after these pictures were taken and mixed them in so that they were spread throughout the salad).

I loved the way everything came together to create an such an interesting and flavourful meal! I thought each of the components went well with the others, and I liked to combine them in different ways with each bite!

And if you're not a fan of radishes, you should try roasting them - they lose some of that bite that can turn people off and instead take on a sweeter, more mellow flavour with a softer texture. I couldn't find any local radishes or asparagus yet when I made this, but I will definitely be making it again, and I bet it will taste even better once the local produce is available!

Spring Panzanella
Inspired by my previous recipes for Roasted Summer Panzanella and Roasted Winter Panzanella
*Note: the amounts below are approximate amounts for 1 large serving.  You can easily increase the amounts to serve more people. I roasted extra vegetables so that I could have leftovers to make another salad the next day - just add the bread and dressing separately when you want to eat it.

4 oz mini red potatoes, cut in half
4 oz radishes, cut in half if large
1/2 tsp dried oregano
~5 cherry or grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed
4-5 spears asparagus
1-2 thick slices of bread – I recommend a multigrain or sunflower seed loaf
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for roasting
2 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
1 tbsp fresh dill
Salt and pepper
Handful of sprouts (I used alfalfa sprouts)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Toss the potatoes and radishes with a drizzle of olive oil, the dried oregano, and some salt and pepper.  Transfer to a large baking dish and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Toss the tomatoes and garlic with a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to the pan with the potatoes and radishes.  Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, until potatoes and radishes are tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by breaking off the woody ends and placing them on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add to the oven for the last 10 minutes of roasting time.

Toast the bread by adding the slices to the oven for the last 5-10 minutes of roasting time (I placed my bread on the same baking sheet with the asparagus).

When everything is done roasting, remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl.  Toss with the remaining olive oil, vinegar, and dill.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with the sprouts.

Makes 1 serving.


  1. This looks fantastic! I love panzanella too! Your spring version looks yummy - with asparagus and radishes and fresh herbs! YUM! Definitely need to make this to bring for lunches this week! :)

    1. Thanks! It would make a nice lunch, although I would definitely keep the dressing separate until you are ready to eat it so that the bread doesn't get too soggy!

  2. i've always wants to try panzanella! this version seems fairly simple and super delicious!

    1. You should definitely try panzanella - it can be as simple as you want it to be....just yesterday I made one for lunch but I used fresh vegetables instead of roasted(tomatoes, cucumber and radish) and stale bread that didn't need to be toasted, so it came together really quickly and was still delicious!

  3. Roasted Radishes are absolutey AMAZING! The texture and flavors totally transform when roasted. I love panzanella too - when I saw the title of your post I couldn't click fast enough to see what you came up with - and I must say this is the best springtime panzanella ever, love that you used sunflower bread, it must have been so yummy!

    1. I just tried roasted radishes this Easter and was amazed, so I had to make them again myself! And since there are quite a few other spring panzanella recipes out there, your compliment is much appreciated :)

  4. Panzanella with asparagus in it?! Oh, happiness! I'm not a big fan of tomatoes (sometimes I think I'm the only one!), so I think this panzanella sounds better than the traditional summertime one!

    1. Oh I love tomatoes in salads! (well except for the flavorless ones you sometimes get in winter). But you can definitely adapt this recipe and remove or replace any of the veggies that you don't like!

  5. Stunning photos - WOW does this look delicious :)

    1. Thanks so much! I love roasted vegetables, and this combination was especially good!

  6. Hi again! :) I just had to come back to this recipe and leave a message inviting you to link this up at my Sunlight Sunday featuring asparagus! (Along with any other recipes you'd like!)



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