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Italian Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes

Fruity, salty, sweet, and tangy sharp, with pan-crisped croutons to absorb all that juicy flavor goodness, this Italian panzanella salad with Kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes is calling your name!

Italian Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes | Letty's Kitchen

Panzanella—don’t you love how this four-syllable word rolls off your tongue? Pant-sa-nell-a. A salad invented to use up days-old bread. I used to shy away from panzanella recipes, imagining soggy bread with veggies, an image that didn’t quite jive with such a toothsome word!

Ingredients for Italian Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes

No more thinking like that–this recipe’s olive oil-toasted artisan bread croutons erase all panzanella shyness–no sodden bread here. The croutons keep their crunch even as they take on tangy red wine vinegar, olive oil, and tomato juiciness. 

Initially, I came up with this particular panzanella when a head of barely-bitter leafy lettuce-like escarole showed up in our farm share box. But when I went to share the recipe here on the blog, nary a head of escarole could be found. What to do–this panzanella salad with Kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes is too delicious not to share.

Thinking about it, ruminating, I decided romaine lettuce, its flavor and texture surprisingly similar to escarole, could stand in. Bingo! Turns out romaine lettuce, slightly wilted in garlic-rich olive oil, along with a generous handful of crunchy croutons, are what’s needed for one totally scrumptious, deliciously toothsome panzanella salad!

Italian Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes overhead

Italian Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes notes:

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5 from 1 vote
Italian Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes overhead
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Italian Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

For a light main course salad toss cooked chickpeas into this simple crouton-crunchy flavorful combo. Delicious also the second day!

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Letty | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 2 to 3 cups ciabatta or artisan bread cut in 1-inch cubes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil as needed
  • 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce or escarole trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives halved
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes halved
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the bread and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe pan clean.
  3. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet. Add garlic, and sauté about 2 minutes. Add lettuce and cook until lettuce is just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lettuce to the bread, along with the olives and tomatoes. Drizzle with more olive oil and the red wine vinegar. Season with plenty of freshly ground pepper and toss everything together. Taste for salt and vinegar tartness, adding more if needed. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Vegan Italian panzanella salad with lettuce, Kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes, with pan-crisped crunchy croutons to soak up the red wine vinegar, tomato, and olive oil juiciness. Toss in chickpeas for a light main course salad.

2 comments

  • I love escarole, but when I posted a salad recipe with it (years ago) it was NOT a hit, so apparently people either can’t find it or don’t want to pay the extra money! I think you’re smart to sub romaine, much more readily available! Reply · 11 September, 2017

  • Thanks Kalyn. And it’s amazing how similar romaine is to the leafy escarole. Reply · 11 September, 2017

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