Sprouted Whole Grain Panzanella Salad with Grilled Peaches
Adapted from an article originally published on https://plantbasedrdblog.com/2021/06/panzanella-salad-with-grilled-peaches/
I feel there is not a lot of salad appreciation out in the world because we often think that salads mean something boring. But there's a world outside of the classic boring salads you might have grown up with. There are ones where the base is quinoa, a lot where the base of them is pasta and many that just really showcase the bounty of vegetables of the season. But probably one of my favourites out of them all are the bread-based ones like this panzanella-inspired salad.
This is a twist on the classic Italian panzanella. Still focused on the bread, tomatoes and vinegary notes of the dressing meant to coat them. However, there's the lovely addition of freshly grilled summer peaches to celebrate the warmer months and we aren't just using any old bread for this salad. We're amping up the nutrition by using some sprouted grains to make us feel good even after we've plowed through our last bite.
Choose Sprouted Grains
As much as I love eating yummy food during the summer, I also want that yummy food to fuel me right. That's why I chose to use some organic sprouted whole grain bread from Silver Hills. Now, let's just get this out of the way if you've ever worried about consuming carbs: Not all carbs are created equal!
Why Choose Complex Carbs?
It's true! The quality of those carbs can make a huge difference in terms of how you feel after you consume it. So let's think about a high quality carbohydrate or as we like to say in the dietitian realm, a complex carbohydrate. These types of carbohydrates have more fibre and nutrients that prevent massive blood sugar spikes. But what does that mean? Actually, it's a little bonus for you! Ever get a sugar crash before? When something doesn't have a lot of fibre, it gets processed a lot faster by our bodies. We get that sudden spike of energy, but because it happens so fast we also drop that energy too quickly. That's where you feel that crash or absolute drag in energy, but it doesn't always have to happen that way.
Stable Energy and Good Flavour
If you opt for grains that have a good amount of fibre, this will help keep those sugar levels a lot more balanced. It's also one of the reasons I highly recommend using sprouted whole grain bread. Not only will it provide a good source of fibre, but sprouted grains tend to keep our energy levels more stable to help us keep our energy up for those fun summer celebrations you are looking forward to having. Added bonus, this Organic Sprouted Power Bread has a blend of sprouted whole grains and organic wheat flour, so you still get the nutrition, but the bread is nice, light and fluffy in texture, so this salad will still keep everyone's palate happy.
Why You’ll Love This Sprouted Whole Grain Panzanella Salad
Panzanella salad is not panzanella salad without the bread. To make this salad more wholesome we are using Silver Hills Organic Sprouted Power Bread. The bread is hearty and toasts up perfectly in this application.
Grilled peaches pair with all the wonderful, savoury elements of the classic recipe, alongside ripe, in-season tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes, which retain good flavour throughout the year). Slightly milder and perfect to pair with rich olive oil, garlic and herbs, white wine vinegar makes this dressing a true complement to this sweet and savoury recipe.
For the grilled peaches:
- 2 peaches, cut into wedges
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
For the Sprouted Whole Grain Panzanella Salad:
- 3 cups Silver Hills Bakery Organic Sprouted Power Bread (about 7 – 8 slices), cubed (I used Farmer Fife)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup cucumbers, deseeded and sliced
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp dry basil
- Pinch of cayenne
For the grilled peaches:
- In a grill pan or on a preheated griddle, spray the surface with oil and place your peach wedges on top to cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until grill marks appear, then flip and cook again for 1 – 2 minutes then remove from the grill. Set peaches aside.
For the Sprouted Whole Grain Panzanella Salad:
- Start by toasting your cubed bread on a skillet with a little olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toast for 4 – 5 minutes, tossing the cubes until they start to get lightly golden and crispy, then set aside. (Bread will continue to crisp as it cools).
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl or the bottom of the same bowl that you plan to mix your salad in.
- Add your toasted bread, fresh basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and grilled peaches. Toss everything together with the dressing until coated. Serve salad immediately and enjoy.
Serving Suggestions, Add Ins and Swaps:
Feel free to use this recipe as inspiration but know that you can absolutely modify the ingredients to your preference. Try any of the following swaps for your own fun twist!
- Skip the grill for the peaches and use fresh juicy ones
- Replace the peaches with fresh cut strawberries
- Leave the fruit out and replace with more cherry tomatoes and cucumbers
- Use grilled zucchini instead of the grilled peaches
- You can add in some freshly made pesto
- For more salty/umami flavors feel free to add some diced capers or olives to this
What do you serve with Panzanella?
This salad goes perfectly with some grilled tofu, barbecue baked seitan and baked or grilled chickpea patties. I also love this salad with freshly grilled corn and extra salad greens like romaine hearts for extra crunch.
- For best results, toast your bread! Since we are using sandwich bread, toasting it will help to keep the salad from going soggy and maintain its heartiness once it's mixed with the dressing.
- To help keep your salad crisp, deseed your cucumber. Cut your cucumber in half lengthwise and with a spoon scrape out the seeds from the center. This will help remove a lot of extra moisture from the salad.
- I highly recommend enjoying this salad within 30 minutes of prepping it. Leaving the salad for too long will cause the bread to get soggy over time. If you'd like to prep some ingredients of the salad in advance, I would suggest prepping the peaches, veggies and herbs in advance. Mix the dressing separately and store in the fridge until ready to use. When ready to toss everything together, toast your bread and add it with the other mixed ingredients along with the dressing.
Catherine is a registered dietitian with a masters in Human Nutrition. She is a plant-based enthusiast who has been vegan since 2009 and first chose a plant-based lifestyle to improve her overall health. This eventually led to her passion for using this lifestyle to help reduce harm to the environment and all living creatures within her ability. She currently works one on one virtually with clients in the employee wellness space while sharing her favorite recipes on her blog, Plant Based RD, and Instagram in hopes of sharing evidence-based nutrition education and easy to approach plant-based recipes.