Spring Panzanella*

Spring Panzanella*

Spring Panzanella*With secret ingredient

Hidden within this perfectly delicious spring panzanella salad is a secret ingredient you should know about: toasted croutons, made of sunflower seed bread. The mind reels at how this could change the concept of salad forever; crunchy and substantial, these croutons have heft to them. They make you feel like you’re taking good care of yourself with every bite.

This is a true dinner salad, or in small portions an appetizer, and I find myself thinking about it when I’m hungry and haven’t eaten much – or well – all day. It’s like a superhero salad that swoops in to restore the digestive equilibrium of your body, leaving you feeling healthy and wise. I make the sunflower seed bread croutons in batches now and save them for other things (especially snacking,) and you only need a few to satisfy a hangry moment. You’re gonna love these!

Spring Panzanella Salad with Sunflower Panzanella
Adapted from Food and Wine, 2016
Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 45 minutes


  • ½ pound sunflower seed bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 ½ cups shelled fresh peas
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • Salt and pepper to taste, plus ½ teaspoon salt for croutons, plus 1 teaspoon salt for salad dressing
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound baby asparagus, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sunflower sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • Labnah, for garnish


  1. To make the asparagus: Blanch asparagus in a pot of salted boiling water for one minute. Strain and plunge into ice water. Strain and pat dry.
  2. To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread cubes of bread on a baking pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Bake ten minutes until golden brown and set aside to cool.
  3. Bring salted water to boil in a small pot and cook the peas until tender – only a couple of minutes. Drain and transfer to bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. Drain well and pat dry.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, dill and shallot, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Reserve half the dressing for later. Add cucumbers, asparagus, peas and croutons to the bowl and toss to coat.
  6. Mound the salad on plates and top with sunflower seeds and sprouts, and dollop a spoonful of labneh on each salad, serving remaining dressing on the side.

Spring Panzanella

Spring Panzanella

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