header image 2

Panzanella with Cannellini Beans

August 6th, 2010 · 6 Comments

Looking for a no-cook summer supper idea? How about one that uses up almost-overripe tomatoes and stale bread? Panzanella is an Italian summer salad that is best made with the ripest summer tomatoes you can find — and the perfect way to use those tomatoes sitting on your kitchen counter.

Panzanella can be served as a side dish or the main course — because I was serving this for Meatless Monday, I added cannellini (or white kidney) beans to boost the protein content. A good quality cheese — parmigiano reggiano or my personal favorite, a sharp pecorino — is a great finishing touch. Because I use canned beans to save time (see note below), I like to cook them with a little garlic first to add flavor. You can omit that step if you prefer, or if you’re more organized than I and cook dried beans ahead of time.

Recipe: Panzanella with Cannellini Beans


  • 1 loaf day-old Italian bread
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans*
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large, very ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • parmigiano or pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus 1 tablespoon for the beans)
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper

* I use Eden brand organic, BPA-free canned beans

Instructions: Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Rinse and drain the canned beans, then add them to the pan, stirring to combine with the garlic. Cook on low for 5 minutes.

In a large salad bowl, pour the bread cubes, cooked beans, tomatoes and basil. Separately, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Drizzle over the salad and toss gently to combine. Let the salad sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes to let the flavors meld before eating. Just before serving, grate some cheese over top. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

Note: this recipe depends on juicy tomatoes to moisten the salad — if your salad seems dry, add additional olive oil and vinegar to taste.

Tags: at market · beans · meatless monday · proteins · recipe

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tweets that mention » Blog Archive » Panzanella with Cannellini Beans -- // Aug 9, 2010 at 8:36 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Colleen/FoodieTots, Michelle McCorkle. Michelle McCorkle said: In honor of Meatless Monday: […]

  • 2 Diana // Aug 9, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Looks delicious, but keep in mind that Parmigiana cheese is rarely truly vegetarian. It’s made from enzymes which are derived from animals. I guess we can debate whether such a cheese belongs in a meat-free dish, or not.

    One could easily substitute a cheese made from a non-animal-based enzyme, if desired.

  • 3 foodietots
    Twitter: foodietots
    // Aug 9, 2010 at 10:44 am

    @ Diana — that’s true, you can substitute a cheese made without animal rennet if that’s important to you — or omit the cheese altogether to go vegan.

  • 4 Meatless Monday Campaign | Greening Austin Daily // Aug 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    […] This time around, she’s a lot more creative. With two children and a not-psyched-about-tofu husband, she’s adapted lots of recipes using grains such as quinoa and lots of beans. On her menu Monday night: stuffed zucchini boats and panzanella. […]

  • 5 Gladys // May 22, 2014 at 2:03 am

    ?he above and below signs are what I call “Faux Bytes. Your subconscious mind actually controls telepathy and it can be encouraged with the right telepathy techniques. Meditation and yoga are ancient science and one would get best results practicing the same on a regular basis.

  • 6 stenci // Oct 9, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Hi friends, pleasant paragraph and good urging commented at this
    place, I am really enjoying by these.