Greek Panzanella

Greek Panzanella is a classic Greek village salad (horiatiki) tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and Greek salad dressing!

Greek Panzanella is a classic Greek village salad (horiatiki) tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and Greek salad dressing!

**This post was originally published in June 2013.  The photos and recipe have been updated but the text remains largely the same.

I feel like I’ve been keeping a really big secret from you, so I’m attempting to make amends now by introducing you to one of my favorite salads.

Say hello to the Greek Panzanella!

I feel bad that it’s taken me so long to share this with you because I make it so often.  This Greek Panzanella is that salad.  It’s the salad that comes to mind when you need a really special side dish for a pot luck or gathering.

Greek Panzanella is a classic Greek village salad (horiatiki) tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and Greek salad dressing!

Greek Panzanella

If you’re not familiar with the term panzanella, it’s an Italian bread salad typically made with onions, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar and chunks of bread.

I had no idea what a panzanella salad was until I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa many years ago.  Ina Garten made a greek panzanella recipe, which became the inspiration for this recipe.

I loved the idea of turning a classic Greek village salad (horiatiki) into a panzanella salad.  Horiatiki is a rustic Greek salad with no lettuce, and was one of my favorite dishes when I visited Greece.  It was simple but the produce was so fresh that it didn’t need much more than a trace of red wine vinegar and olive oil to make it shine.

If you use fresh vegetables at their peak, you’ll get the same effect when you create this salad (although you won’t be on a Greek island). 🙂

Greek Panzanella is a classic Greek village salad (horiatiki) tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and Greek salad dressing!

I’m not normally a crouton person, but that all changes when they’re homemade.  Homemade croutons are a must in panzanella salad — store bought croutons just wouldn’t do this salad justice.

There’s nothing like toasty homemade cubes of bread soaking up an amazing salad dressing!

Making homemade croutons is a very simple process and it will take your panzanella to the next level.  The toughest part is refraining from eating them all straight off the sheet pan. 🙂

homemade-croutons

The best part about this Greek Panzanella is that the vegetables may be prepped in advance, and the croutons and dressing may also be made ahead of time.

Simply keep the vegetables in the fridge until about an hour before serving time.  When you’re ready to assemble the salad, add the feta cheese, croutons, and the dressing, then stir well and let the salad sit out at room temperature.

How many salads can you say that about?  No wilted lettuce and no last minute salad prep.  That’s worth it’s weight in gold if you ask me. 🙂

greek-panzanella-process-collage

Next time you’re entertaining or asked to bring a dish to a gathering, give this Greek Panzanella a try.  It’s an impressive salad and I’ve never come across anyone that doesn’t love it.

Classic Greek village salad tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and tangy Greek salad dressing — what’s not to love? 🙂

Greek Panzanella is a classic Greek village salad (horiatiki) tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and Greek salad dressing!

 

If you love Greek recipes, you love these!

Greek Chicken Skewers (Souvlaki)

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad 

Greek Three Bean Salad

30-Minute Chicken with Greek Avgolemono Sauce

Greek Panzanella

Greek Panzanella is a classic Greek village salad (horiatiki) tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and Greek salad dressing!

Ingredients:

For the croutons:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces baguette or French bread, cubed (mini loaves are perfect, or use about 1/3 of a large loaf)

For the salad:

  • 16 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cut a block into cubes

For the dressing:

Directions:

Prepare the croutons:

  1. In a large saute pan, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Add the bread cubes, and stir to coat in the oil. Cook about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Prepare the salad:

  1. Place the vegetables, kalamata olives, and feta cheese in a large serving bowl. Set aside.
  2. One hour prior to serving, add the croutons and enough dressing to coat to the salad and stir until combined. Let the salad stand at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes:

  • Salad is best when eaten the same day.

Recipe source:  Flavor the Moments (inspired by Barefoot Contessa)

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