I woke up in the middle of the night with a list of things ‘to-do’ in my head. I’m usually quite proud of my solid sleeping skills (two minutes in the car and I’m out) but this past week has kept me up tossing and turning a bit more than I’m used to. In the morning I woke up and made a list of all the things that were keeping me from dreaming, and somehow things always seem a little less troubling in the light of day.
I am in love with this article I came across over on Laura’s blog. It came up just at the right time when I was feeling unsure where to focus my energy. I often feel like I do a lot of things in a day but that those things aren’t necessarily helping me reach the end goal, you know? I probably spend a lot more time thinking about what I should be doing rather than actually doing it. Anyways, if any of this sounds familiar to you, read the article and let’s get on with reaching our full potential shall we. ok? ok. Nights should be spent dreaming about adventures and love and garden panzanellas, not the stressing about the small stuff.
Panzanella salads are a favorite of mine, and it seems like they are forever in season. I love the rustic simplicity of this kind of meal. This white bean version is definitely a nice send off to summer; warm garlicky croutons, fresh tomatoes, earthy fennel and olives, a few of my favorite herbs and some good olive oil. September salad dreams come true, be still my panzanella loving heart.
Tuscan White Bean Panzanella with Fennel and Olives
We grew this beautiful green and purple romaine in the garden this summer. Something about it just seemed so rustic, like it was made to be thrown into a panzanella like this. Recipe inspiration can come from almost anywhere, I guess. As with most recipes, this one is only as good as the sum of its parts – so seek out good, fresh produce whenever you can. Panzanellas are a great thing to bring to picnics and potluck as you can dress them at home and they will be perfectly marinated upon arrival.
Vegan. Serves 4.
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- 1 small loaf of ciabatta (or bread of choice)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
- 1 medium bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooked white cannellini beans
- 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and halved
- 6-8 roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1 large handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, or greens of choice
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Lemon zest, parsley and olive oil to finish
What to do
Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C
Slice or tear the bread into large, bite size chunks. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the bread pieces on it. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and add grated garlic. Toss everything together with your hands so the bread is well coated. Season with a good pinch of salt and bake in the oven until brown and crisp around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
While the croutons are baking, prep the rest of the salad.
Add thinly sliced fennel, beans and olives to a large bowl. Add fresh herbs, olive oil and red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine and set aside. I like to dress this part of the salad first, the fennel and beans feel almost marinated and it adds a nice contrast to the crisp croutons and fresh tomatoes.
Once the croutons have cooled, add the marinated fennel and beans to the sheet pan. Mix together so that the bread starts to soak up the dressing. The bread won’t get soak, just more delicious. Add in sliced tomatoes. At this point you can let the salad rest for 30 minutes before serving. Add romaine before serving and garnish with lemon zest, black pepper, a sprinkle of parsley and a good lug of olive oil. Serve right off the sheet pan or in a large bowl. Salad will keep for one day (without the romaine) in the fridge but is best served fresh.