The Secret to the Ultimate Salad? Peak-Season Veggies and Bread (Yes, Bread)

An Italian salad made with leftover crusty bread, panzanella really shines when it’s made with peak-season veggies. This version is full of summer’s best and brightest produce, but this bread-heavy salad is great in colder months, too (because carbs). Here, croutons are toasted on the grill until crunchy and smoky, then tossed with charred bell pepper, summer squash, zucchini, and red onion in a garlicky vinaigrette, then topped with salty ricotta salata.

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
grill or grill pan

orange bell pepper
ounces summer squash
ounces zucchini
red onion
¼ ounce chives
clove garlic
tablespoon red wine vinegar
ounces baby arugula
ciabatta roll
14 ounces heirloom tomatoes
teaspoons balsamic glaze
ounces ricotta salata

No grill? Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare vegetables according to Step 1, then cut vegetables and ciabatta into 1-inch pieces. Place vegetables on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper and arrange in a single layer. On a separate baking sheet, toss ciabatta with 1 teaspoon olive oil and arrange in a single layer. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake until vegetables are tender and croutons are toasted and golden, 8–10 minutes.


Prepare Ingredients:

Preheat grill to medium-high heat (see Recipe Tip). Rinse all produce. Quarter bell pepper, discarding seeds and stem, and place in a large bowl. Quarter summer squash and zucchini lengthwise, discarding ends, and add to bowl with bell pepper. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Peel onion, slice into ½-inch rings, and rub all over with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Set vegetables aside until ready to grill.

Make Garlic Paste:

Thinly slice chives. Mince garlic, and, still on cutting board, sprinkle over ⅛ teaspoon salt. Using a large knife, carefully scrape over mixture at a 45° angle, pressing down. Repeat until garlic is broken down and a paste forms, then place in a separate large bowl.

Make Vinaigrette:

Add red wine vinegar to bowl with garlic paste and whisk to combine. Whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Add arugula to bowl with vinaigrette and set aside until ready to toss.

Grill Ciabatta and Vegetables:

If using a grill pan, place it over medium-high heat now. Halve ciabatta lengthwise and drizzle insides with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place ciabatta cut-side down on grill and cook until charred and toasted, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate and set aside. Arrange vegetables on grill in a single layer and cook until charred and softened, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate with ciabatta and set aside to cool.

Prepare Panzanella:

While vegetables cool, slice tomatoes into wedges. Add chives and tomatoes to bowl with arugula. Cut ciabatta into 1-inch pieces and add to bowl with arugula. When vegetables have cooled slightly, cut bell peppersummer squash, and zucchini into 1-inch pieces. Roughly chop onion. Add grilled vegetables to bowl with arugula and toss to coat.


Divide grilled summer vegetable panzanella between serving plates. Drizzle over balsamic glaze and crumble over ricotta salata. Dig in!

Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!

Get 25% off your first four weeks of Plated!

On the List?

Subscribe to Plated's Newsletter

Thanks for signing up!

There was an error signing you up.
Please check that your email is valid. Try again