Sweet Pepper Panzanella

sweet pepper panzanella / @loveandlemons

Panzanella: it’s your excuse to eat bread and call it salad!

I’ve veggie’d up the classic tomato-basil panzanella with blistered sweet peppers, tangy pickled onions, and just few torn kale leaves.

sweet pepper panzanella / loveandlemons.com

It all starts with that stale bread that’s sitting on your kitchen counter. In our household of just 2 (people, that is – the dogs are paleo), we have stale bread around pretty often. These were the last bits of a rustic miche round from my favorite bread source, Easy Tiger. I just realized I labeled them as “day old,” but these scraps were actually many days old. Perfect panzanella bread.

sweet pepper panzanella / loveandlemons.com

This would be a great recipe to make on the grill… you could cook the peppers and the bread (you could even grill the kale), all at the same time. For the ease of picture taking, and because it’s insanely hot outside, I cooked mine in a pan. To bring out extra flavor, I finished them with a bit of sherry vinegar and a few pinches of smoked paprika.

Toss it all together and let the salad sit and get nice and juicy. Serve with whatever else you’re grillin!

sweet pepper panzanella / loveandlemons.com

sweet pepper panzanella

Serves: serves 3-4 as a side
  • 2-3 sweet peppers (red and/or yellow)
  • olive oil
  • sherry vinegar (or balsamic or white wine vinegar)
  • pinch of sweet or smoked paprika
  • toasted stale bread, rubbed w/ olive oil & garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 leaves of kale, torn
  • ½ cup little mozzarella balls
  • ¼ cup chunky pickled onions (see below)
  • handful of torn basil
  • salt & pepper
pickled onions:
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into thick strips
  • white wine vinegar (enough to fill the jar of onions)
  • a few pinches of cane sugar and salt
  1. For the pickled onions: (make in advance) pickle your onions by shaking all ingredients together in a jar. Chill until for at least an hour, or up to days (or weeks, really) in advance.
  2. Slice cherry tomatoes and toss them with a splash of olive oil, a splash of sherry vinegar, salt, pepper.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on your stale bread and toast (or grill) it until golden. While it's still warm, rub it with a sliced clove of garlic, then slice it into bite sized pieces.
  4. De-seed and slice your peppers into thick strips. Sautée them in a pan with olive oil until soft and lightly blistered. (you could also do this on a grill). Remove from heat, drizzle with a little sherry vinegar and a pinch of paprika.
  5. Toss all salad ingredients together so that the juices from the tomatoes and the peppers create a light dressing. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Taste, and add more salt and pepper to your liking. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes or so for the bread to soak up the juices. Serve at room temp.
Instead of pickled onions, you can also cook onions with your peppers. Use a yellow onion instead of a red one.

vegan option: skip the cheese

Fry pan: Le Creuset Stainless Steel


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Leslie

    loved it! pickled onions were a great addition.

  2. Allison

    I planned to make this recipe tonight but ran into a time crunch trying to get dinner on the table. Even with limited marinating/pickling time it was delicious! So fresh and bright. Looking forward to some wonderful leftovers tomorrow 🙂

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked it!

  3. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com

    This salad sounds so good! I love the mix of textures. Plus I always like more excuses to eat fresh mozzarella. Yay!

  4. Ale from piloncilloyvainilla.com

    Love the combination of stale bread and fresh veggies. Your dog is so cute!

  5. How colourful and gorgeous! And healthy to boot. I love all the colors and the bright green kale 🙂

  6. Ambar from cookitgirl.com

    You know? I love that there is pieces of bread thrown in there! Its like a teared up amazing sandwich! Love it!

  7. Oh man I gotta try this and see if it gets me to like peppers that much more. Fingers crossed. So far peppers and potatoes remain on my hit list!

  8. looks so delicious!! and the pictures are beautiful!!

  9. This is so gorgeous! We have day(s) old bread sitting around all the time, so this sounds like an awesome option 🙂 Love all the bright and pretty colors!

  10. I love a good panzanella, especially when there’s a good tangy dressing for the bread to sop up. But I rarely make it, so thanks for the delicious reminder! Love the sweet peppers in it too.

  11. Ileana from alittlesaffron.com

    What a pretty panzanella! Love the addition of pickled onions.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.