By Elena Johnson

Panzanella is an Italian bread salad. Crusty bread mixed with delicious fresh summer vegetables and herbs makes a hearty summer dish perfect for dinner outdoors – or al fresco, as they say in Italy. I like to toast the bread first to keep it from getting soggy too quickly. If it’s too hot to turn on the oven, then day-old bread tossed into the salad just before serving works best. Paired with a glass of wine, this salad would be a great accompaniment to marinated, grilled portabella mushroom “steaks” or grilled asparagus spears.




 4 – 6 servings

4 cups bread, cut into 1 inch cubes and toasted

2 cups cucumber, seeded and cut into ¾ inch cubes

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

½ cup olive oil

Combine the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, basil, and parsley in a large bowl.

In a small bowl make the vinaigrette: whisk together the mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Then slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Just before serving, mix the bread cubes into the bowl of vegetables, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and toss well to coat.

 About the Author

Elena Johnson

Elena Johnson

Elena Johnson is a second-generation Filipino American living in Baltimore, MD. As a vegan chef and caterer she has been reinventing her family’s recipes and sharing these vegetarian versions of Filipino comfort food with friends, relatives, and those unfamiliar with the flavors of the Philippines. Elena is also the Special Projects Manager at Compassion Over Killing, a national animal advocacy organization focusing on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promoting vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world for all. Elena combines her passion for vegetarian food with a love of teaching by offering cooking demonstrations to the public. To learn more about why she went veg, visit Questions/feedback: email