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overhead shot of winter panzanella salad with a serving spoon in it

Winter Panzanella Salad Recipe

Winter Panzanella Salad is a delicious and beautiful salad to serve with a bottle of good wine and a charcuterie plate for a hearty appetizer. It is so fast and easy to make, you can have it for dinner tonight. If you love Panzanella salad with tomatoes in the summer, you will want to try this recipe tonight. You can enjoy this salad year-round as it is an easy and versatile meal or appetizer. Another great winter salad is this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad or check our Salad recipes for more delicious inspiration.

Panzanella salad was first made in Tuscany, Umbria Italy made of just tomatoes, onions, and stale bread soaked in vinegar. It was the early 1800s when vegetables were many and bread molded quickly. They soaked the bread in water for a chewy texture and then added vinegar or wine. In fact, in 1865, it was served to King Vittoria. 

Ingredients needed:

  • Cauliflower: Break it into cauliflower florets. 
  • Radishes: If you can find French breakfast radishes, that would be perfect. You can use a vegetable peeler or grater for easier slicing. You want thin slices, finely chopped. 
  • Pomegranate arils: You could use the whole seed or just the arils, whichever you prefer. 
  • Capers: Be sure to rinse off the salt and brine. 
  • Raisins: First, soak them in water that has just been boiled for 15 minutes. Then drain them well. 
  • Flat leaf parsley: Roughly chopped.
  • White balsamic vinegar: If you do not like balsamic vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar instead. 
  • Bread: Use good bread like sourdough or ciabatta. 
  • Red chilies: Make sure you cut them in half, remove the seeds, and chop them finely.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: You can use whatever oil you like for making dressing. 
  • Garlic cloves: Slice your garlic cloves thinly so they do not overpower the other flavors.
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed is best but you can use store-bought. 
  • Feta cheese: Broken up into crumbs. 
  • Sea salt: Just a couple of pinches of sea salt will be enough.
  • Ground black pepper: You can leave out the pepper if you like.

How to make winter panzanella from scratch?

  1. Steam the cauliflower: To begin, steam the cauliflower until it is tender and set it aside. 
  2. Make toasted bread cubes: Then, tear bread into small cubes and fry it in hot oil over medium heat in a large frying pan until it is golden and crispy. This should take about four to five minutes. Transfer bread to a large bowl as you cook in batches. 
  3. Mix it up: Then, put all the bread cubes in the pan and add garlic, pomegranate, and chilis. Saute for another few minutes but ensure the garlic does not get too brown. 
  4. Toss bread: After, pour the bread mixture into a large salad bowl and add the parsley, capers, and raisins.
  5. Fry the cauliflower: Now, add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the cauliflower over high heat until it is just tinged with gold. 
  6. Serve immediately: Next, pour the browned cauliflower into the bowl with the bread mixture and gently toss in the lemon juice, vinegar, and radishes. Stir well and sprinkle the feta cheese crumbs on top before serving. 

Recipe variations:

  • Another oil: Feel free to use another oil such as avocado oil or whichever you like cooking with instead of olive oil.
  • Herbs and spices: Make your winter panzanella salad even tastier with fresh thyme, oregano, onion powder, basil, rosemary, and smoked paprika. You can use whatever kind you like. 
  • Add a hearty winter green: For an even more tasty salad with extra vitamins, gently toss some Tuscan kale into the mix. 
  • More winter produce: You can also add more fresh vegetables like shredded carrots, broccoli florets, sweet corn, mushrooms, celery, and whatever else you like. 
  • Sweeten your salad: Use a tablespoon of pure maple syrup for a sweeter winter salad. 
  • Crunchy winter panzanella: Add a half-measured cup of chopped walnuts or pecans to add some crunch to your salad.

Frequently asked questions

Can I add more roasted vegetables?

You can absolutely add more vegetables including roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, red onion, and tomatoes. The easiest way to make roasted vegetables is to drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper on them and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then, roast in the oven preheated to 400 degrees F for several minutes or until they are golden brown. Let them cool slightly and add roasted squash and other veggies to the dish when you add your cauliflower.

What are pomegranate arils?

Actually, pomegranate arils are the outside part of pomegranate seeds. The seeds are small and hard, but the arils are juicy and delicious. You can eat the whole seed with the arils on it or remove the arils for a chewier texture. To remove seeds from the fruit, cut it in half lengthwise and push the seeds out into a small bowl of cold water. 

What are some good winter vegetables?

One of the best is butternut squash but the sweet potato is also one of my favorites. You can also use pumpkin, rutabaga, beets, cabbage, kabocha, parsnips, fennel, and celery. But winter fruit is also a good addition to this tasty salad. Try some chopped kiwi, grapes, oranges, lemons, pears, and apples. 

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: You can store your leftover winter panzanella in an airtight container or a large ziplock baggie. It will stay fresh in the fridge for several days. 
  • Freeze: If you cannot finish your winter panzanella salad in a few days, put it in a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container and it can be frozen for up to 30 days. 
  • Thaw: Thaw your leftovers overnight in the fridge for the best flavor and texture. 
  • Reheat: Reheating is not necessary, but you can microwave it for 30 to 90 seconds if you like.

More salad recipes:

Winter Panzanella Salad

  • Prep Time30 MIN
  • Cook Time
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 9 oz good bread sourdough or ciabatta
  • 2 red chillies halved, deseeded, and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup raisins soaked in just-boiled water and drained
  • 1 tablespoon capers rinsed
  • 1/4 cup parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbs
  • 1 watermelon pink radish finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, blanch the cauliflower, or quickly team it, until it’s just tender. Careful not to overcook it, then set aside.
    boiling cauliflower florets and mixing them with a wooden spoon
  • Cut the bread into small cubes, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan. After that, fry the bread cubes over medium heat (in batches if needed) until golden – about 4-5 mins per batch.
  • Once done with the final batch, add all the bread back into the pan and add the chili, and garlic, to the pan (more oil if needed), and sauté for 2 mins, until the garlic is golden.
    sautéing croutons with garlic and spices
  • Transfer the bread mixture into a large bowl and add the raisins, capers, and parsley. Mix.
    mixing croutons with capers and parsley in a bowl
  • Add the rest of the olive oil to the frying pan and, increase the heat to high, add the cauliflower florets, stir, and cook until golden.
    sautéing cauliflower florets in a skillet
  • Next, transfer the cauliflower to the bowl with the bread mixture, add the sliced radish, feta, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and some olive oil, and toss everything together.
    mixing croutons with feta cheese and pink radish in a bowl
  • Season with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts

Recipe tips:

  • Taste and add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper as needed. 
  • Instead of frying your bread in a pan, roast it in the oven. Just spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cooking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees F.
  • If you do not like balsamic vinegar, use whatever salad dressing you usually use.
  • Be sure to slice the garlic cloves and radishes thin so they do not overpower the other flavors. 
  • Toss squash, pumpkin, kale, and other healthy veggies into your winter panzanella salad. It is just what the doctor ordered and tastes delicious.

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Comments

(19)
Claudia Krusch

Claudia Krusch

Such an amazing recipe! Love the ingredients! I can't wait to try it this coming weekend!

Melissa Cushing

Melissa Cushing

I am so loving the look and sounds of this delicious recipe. I pinned this one to try sometime soon as I think my husband would totally love this!

Lynndee

Lynndee

I love a good salad and that looks delish. I don't think I've ever had that before. Must make some!

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Looks really good! Adding on our must make list!

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