Grilled Panzanella with Poached Egg

grilled panzanella //

I love charred bread, but I haven’t always.  When I was younger, my dad ate all the family reject burnt food. Overdone toast, accidentally burnt pancakes, cookies we left in the oven too long… my sister and I had a preference toward underdone and doughy food so whatever we messed up and overcooked, we’d pile on a plate for my dad. And he’d always say “this is the best kind.”

The first time I put burnt toast on a plate for Jack, he looked at me and said “what’s this, am I your dad now?” I had just always assumed that burnt food equalled man food. So over time, I selflessly became the eater of the black toast… not quite as black as my dad would eat but I’ve come to love bread with a nice deep char. Especially in a salad like this.

Toasty garlicky bread cubes kick up your average panzanella… that char offers such a delightful contrast to the juicy tomatoes, sweet basil and fruity olive oil.

Make it a full meal by topping it with a poached egg.

grilled panzanella // grilled panzanella // grilled panzanella // grilled panzanella // grilled panzanella //

grilled panzanella
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • half loaf of day-old ciabatta bread
  • olive oil
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 1½ c cherry and/or pear tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ c ricotta salata cheese, chopped into ½ inch cubes
  • 5 or 6 basil leaves, torn
  • ¼ c toasted pine nuts
  • 2-4 eggs, for poaching (optional)
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar (or white or red wine vinegar)
  • squeeze of lemon juice (1-2 tbsp, to taste)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  1. Optional step: In a small bowl, toss red onion slices with a teaspoon or two of the champagne vinegar. Set aside while you work on the rest of the steps. This helps cut down on the harsh raw onion taste.
  2. Slice bread into ½-inch thick slices, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a few pinches of salt and grill both sides until lightly charred. Remove bread from grill and rub it it with the sliced side of the garlic clove while the bread is still warm. Chop the bread into cubes and set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl toss the bread cubes, tomatoes, onion slices, ricotta salata, and basil together with the dressing. Top with toasted pine nuts and a few more red pepper flakes. Allow the salad to sit for 15-20 minutes for the dressing to soak into the bread. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Top plated servings with poached eggs if you wish.

For poaching the eggs: I love Deb’s tutorial here.

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Kathryn from on said:

    I love how the bread soaks up all the wonderful tomato flavours in this kind of salad. And the idea of a poached egg on top is just perfect.

  2. Eileen from on said:

    I don’t know–I would draw a line (fine, but there) between charred and actually burnt bread, personally. But! I definitely agree that perfectly charred bread with summer tomatoes is a perfect combination. Love it!

  3. Kelly from on said:

    Panzanella is one of the things I look most forward to in the summer – and nothing says summer quite like grilled bread and tomatoes – this looks wonderful! LOVE the added poached egg too!

  4. Nicole Franzen from on said:

    panzanella has my heart. I made the best one ever when I was in SF last August. Used cowgirl creameries mozzarella and the tastiest heirlooms around. HEAVEN my favorite summer meal.

  5. Jennifer from on said:

    Combines three of my favorite things: bread, summer ripe tomatoes, and a perfectly poached egg. Yum.

  6. Sarah from on said:

    Mmmm. The addition of pine nuts here is perfect. I’m so thrilled tomatoes are in season and I always forget about panzanella as a great option for using up almost-stale bread. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Kate from on said:

    Panzanella is my most favorite means of eating in the rich bounty of summertime. There’s something about that grilled taste to a chunk of bread, rubbed with garlic and doused with fresh tomato and oil. I love adding other grilled vegetables to the salad to mix it up a bit, make it go further and color it deeper. My freezer holds plenty of day-old bread just waiting to be made in to crisp, crunchy, garlicky croutons, just for this purpose.

  8. Courtney Jones from on said:

    Such a great way to enjoy fresh, ripe tomatoes from the garden. I usually toast bread for panzanella in the oven but grilling it sounds SO much better. Great idea! Looking forward to trying this out. Just bought some pine nuts too. They make everything better. *hehe*

  9. i’d be like your dad on this subject – love the char! and super-crispy bacon? that’d be perfect in that salad too!

  10. I’m not a massive fan of salads but this one has got such appeal – all the bright colours and the wonderful flavours. The charred bread would add a bit of depth to the taste I can imagine – as long as it’s not too well done like you say!

  11. Heather from on said:

    I have been on a total panzanella kick lately – thank goodness for tomato season! Dont you just love the little yellpw pear tomatoes, they are like heaven in your mouth, so good!

    • jeanine from on said:

      yes, and those little pear tomatoes actually came from my garden!

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  16. Katie on said:

    Hi! What a great recipe – the “foolproof tutorial for poaching eggs” didn’t come up though – do you have a link? Would love to try but I haven’t yet mastered the art of poaching eggs yet! 🙂

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  21. Kim on said:

    Holy moly! This was HEAVENLY.

    I’m obsessed with your blog. (I’m actually in the publishing biz and I was suggesting that someone contact you about a book proposal JUST BEFORE you announced your deal with Avery–which is fantastic! congrats! I’m really looking forward to the book!)

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