Panzanella Salad with Griddled Aubergine

Have you heard of panzanella? It’s an incredible Italian tomato and bread salad. The bread works brilliantly at soaking up all the wonderful flavours of the tomatoes and, whilst bread in a salad may sound a bit unusual to you, I promise it tastes incredible.

Panzanella is exactly what I want to eat on a hot and sunny summer’s day. It features the great Italian flavour combination of tomato, basil and olive oil. The capers and red onion add piquancy and, topped with the melt in your mouth garlicky griddled aubergine, this is truly the ultimate summer salad.

Quick to make and easy to assemble this dish is a dream on those balmy summer days when you want to spend more time outside and a lot less time in the kitchen. It’s perfect for lunch or a light dinner and the aubergines are also brilliant cooked on the BBQ.

So seek out the best possible tomatoes you can and make this dish now while the tomatoes are at their most flavoursome. Then leave me a comment in the comments box below and let me know what you thought!

Panzanella Salad with Griddled Aubergine

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2


  • 1/2 red onion small
  • 100 grams stale sourdough or ciabatta bread
  • 400 grams tomatoes
  • 1 pinch salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp capers drained
  • 15 grams basil
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 aubergine


  • Finely slice the red onion, then put in to a small bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Cut the bread in to large dice, lay out on a baking tray or large dish and leave somewhere warm to dry out even more.
  • Cut the tomatoes into large dice about the same size as the bread and place in a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper, capers, white wine vinegar and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Stir to combine and leave to sit at room temperature.
  • Finely chop the garlic and whisk together with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil plus a pinch of salt. Slice the aubergine into 4 lengthways.
  • Heat the griddle pan on a medium-high heat. Brush the aubergine slices with the garlic oil. Cook the aubergine in the griddle pan until soft.
  • Remove the aubergine slices from the griddle pan and set aside, if your bread isn’t already really stale, throw the bread in to the hot pan and toast on the griddle for a couple of minutes turning regularly.
  • Add the toasted bread to the tomato salad. Drain the onions well and add these to the salad. 
  • Stir everything together well so the bread absorbs all the liquid from the tomatoes. Roughly chop the basil leaves and stir into the salad, setting aside a few for garnish.
  • Spoon the salad on to plates. Serve topped with the griddled garlic aubergine and decorated with a few extra basil leaves.
Keyword lunch, panzanella, salad, summer, vegan

Panzanella Salad Recipe Notes:

  • Griddled courgette also works really well instead of aubergine, and if you have an allotment you probably have plenty of courgettes right now!
  • Other ingredients that taste incredible in this salad are: roasted peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives.
  • Try using a variety of different tomatoes in this recipe to make it even prettier!
  • Stale bread works best as fresh bread becomes too soggy. But if I don’t have any leftover bread to use I’ll buy a ciabatta roll then cut it in to large dice and leave it somewhere warm to dry out. You can then toast it in the griddle pan before adding to the salad (see recipe instructions).

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