Best Spring Panzanella Salad with Crispy Shallots

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This Spring Panzanella Salad is loaded with spring's best snap peas, asparagus, and cucumbers. Then that all gets mixed with garlicky croutons, salty chunks of feta, crispy shallots, and a lemon vinaigrette for good measure.

Spring Panzanella Salad with Crispy Shallots


 

Spring produce is in full swing. We’ve got snap peas, asparagus, radishes, arugula… you name it. I’ve been stocking up of all of the above so I can make simple almost-no-cook recipes for dinner on the daily. This Spring Panzanella Salad fits the bill perfectly. 

It’s loaded with the freshest crunchy spring snap peas and asparagus that gets blanched quickly. This step helps bring out the color and flavor and leaves you with crisp and tender veggies. Then there's a healthy amount of herbs: dill, chives, basil, and mint which brightens this Spring Panzanella Salad. And lastly caramelized shallots are sprinkled on top to add a nice sweet crunch.

Ingredients

  • Veggies - English cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and asparagus add a refreshing crunch to this green Panzanella Salad
  • Herbs - I use dill, chives, basil, and mint in this recipe, don't skimp on the fresh herbs they're what make this salad really shine
  • Feta - if you can find feta in the brine buy it and cube it yourself
  • Focaccia bread - for the torn croutons
  • Shallots - for the lemon vinaigrette and the crispy shallots on top
  • Lemon Vinaigrette - shallot, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper

How to make Panzanella Salad

This salad is super simple to make it just takes a little extra prep but I promise it's worth it!

Start by prepping the blanched veggies

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set it aside. Add the trimmed snap peas and asparagus to the boiling water and cook until they turn bright green but remain crisp tender, about 2-4 minutes. Then drain the water and place the vegetables into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Then make the croutons

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Tear the bread into bite sized pieces and transfer it to a baking sheet. Drizzle it with olive oil and season with salt and garlic powder. Place the baking sheet into the oven and toast until the bread is golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

While the croutons bake make the vinaigrette

Combine the shallot, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Lastly prep the crispy shallots

The trick here is to start the oil from cold, so combine the shallots and oil in a medium saucepan. Put it on the stove and turn the heat to high. Cook stirring frequently, until shallots begin to bubble, about 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking and stirring constantly until shallots turn pale golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Carefully remove the shallots with a strainer and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil.

All that's left is to assemble the Spring Panzanella Salad

On a large platter, arrange the cucumbers, peas, asparagus and herbs with the torn croutons and chunks of feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with more herbs and the crispy shallots and serve immediately.

Spring Panzanella Salad with Crispy Shallots

Variations and Substitutions

Feta - Feel free to omit to make this Spring Panzanella Salad Dairy Free.

Focaccia Bread - I used focaccia bread for the croutons, but you could use any french bread, sourdough, ciabatta, or anything else along those lines.

Tips & Tricks

The asparagus and spring peas in this Spring Panzanella Salad are quickly blanched to help bring out the color, flavor, and ensure the veggies are crisp and tender. The goal here is to cook them quickly until they just start to turn bright green but remain crisp tender. This takes about 2-4 minutes. Once they're done cooking immediately drain the water and place the vegetables straight into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

When making the crispy shallots it is SO IMPORTANT to start the oil from COLD. This helps prevent the loss of moisture from the shallots, so they don't end up soaking up all of the oil and instead gently come to a crisp.

Spring Panzanella Salad with Crispy Shallots

FAQ's

What does panzanella mean in Italian?

The name is believed to originate from two words "pane" which means bread in Italian and "zanella" which means a deep bowl similar to the one it's traditionally served in.

What can you eat with panzanella?

I would serve it with any protein like grilled chicken, steak, or salmon.

Panzanella salad with crispy shallots and feta cheese on a blue table.

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Spring Panzanella Salad with Crispy Shallots from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Panzanella Salad

Author: Gaby Dalkin
4.8 from 12 votes
This Spring Panzanella Salad is loaded with spring's best snap peas, asparagus, and cucumbers. Then that all gets mixed with garlicky croutons, salty chunks of feta, crispy shallots, and a lemon vinaigrette for good measure. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

For the Salad

  • 1 English cucumber halved and sliced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and sliced on a diagonal into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dill
  • ¼ cup chives
  • ¼ cup basil
  • ¼ cup mint
  • 4-6 ounces feta crumbled into large chunks
  • Maldon Sea Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the Torn Croutons

  • ½ loaf focaccia bread
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

For the Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1 small shallot roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Crispy Shallots

  • 1 small shallot finely sliced
  • olive oil

Instructions
 

For the Blanched Veggies

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set it aside. Add the trimmed snap peas and asparagus to the boiling water and cook until they turn bright green but remain crisp tender, about 2-4 minutes. Then drain the water and place the vegetables into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

For the Croutons

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Tear the bread into bite sized pieces. Transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and garlic powder. Place the baking sheet into the oven and toast until the bread is crisp. Remove and use on the salad as needed.

For the Crispy Shallots

  • Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels.
  • Combine shallots and oil in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots begin to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly as the shallots fry to ensure even cooking, until shallots turn pale golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Carefully remove the shallots with a strainer and transfer to the paper towel lined plate. IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO START THE OIL FROM COLD

For the Vinaigrette

  • Combine everything in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

To Assemble

  • On a large platter, arrange the cucumbers, peas, asparagus and herbs with the torn croutons and chunks of feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with more herbs and the crispy shallots and serve.

Notes

  • When making the crispy shallots it is SO IMPORTANT to start the oil from COLD.
  • I used focaccia bread for the croutons, but you could use any french bread, sourdough, ciabatta, or anything else along those lines.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 601kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 2345mg | Potassium: 522mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1852IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 217mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was an incredible salad. And I usually don’t care for asparagus and snap peas but this salad was soooo flavorful and light. I loved the large, salty croutons. That was a must. Also added an avocado cause why not 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious. I made it for a mothers day brunch. It was easy to prepare the components the night before to toss together right before the meal. I continue to dream about eating this salad, and would give it 10 stars if I could!

  3. This is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It also is so much fun to cook; 10 outta 10 would come again.

  4. 5 stars
    This looks so fresh and delicious. Such a great spring and summer salad! Bring on the summer entertainment!

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