Roasted Vegetable Panzanella Salad

A double layering of texture and flavor thanks to a glorious pile of caramelized, roasted vegetables and crispy, golden toasted cubed bread. Roasted vegetable panzanella salad has a luscious lemon vinaigrette with a garlicky and fresh flavor you’ll drizzle over zucchini, eggplant, parsnips and onions. An easy main course salad recipe that helps clean out the vegetable crisper!

white bowl with finished roasted veggie panzanella and lemon vinaigrette dressing nearby
Roasted veggies add a rustic comfort to a vegetable panzanella salad.

When you saw panzanella in the title, you might have thought this was just another tomato and pepper panzanella salad. This roasted vegetable panzanella is not that. That panzanella is bright and sunny and summer. And this panzanella is chock full of rustic yet vibrant flavors that brings forth cozy fall recipes.

Call it a transitional seasonal recipe with one foot planted in summer (we see you zucchinis and eggplants) and the other foot (roasted parsnips) tiptoeing us into the colder months.

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Why panzanella salads are an easy meal

Panzanellas are the complete package. They’ve got and want it ALL. The main stars are ingredients like:

Bread. The super easy and crispy cubed bread you’ll make adds crunch, bulk and soaks up all that amazing, lemony dressing.

Vegetables. Any combo of veggies works well in panzanella

Protein. Shred or cube some perfectly cooked sauteed chicken breasts to make panzanella salad a main course like this savory and sweet peach panzanella chicken salad. Or crumble in some feta cheese or shredded parmesan.

Other easy Italian recipes like this you’ll ♥️: garlic bread salad, citrus Brussels sprouts salad, and these zippy cold marinated carrots. Or give my dill chickpea salad a try…so good!

The flavor profile of roasted vegetable panzanella

My roasted vegetable panzanella has an irresistible combination of roasted vegetables and toasted bread. Here’s what roasting vegetables does to panzanella:

  • Brings out their natural sugars, creating a rich and deep flavor that elevates the entire dish. As the vegetables caramelize, they develop an earthy sweetness that pairs beautifully with the savory notes of herbs and olive oil.
  • The bread soaks up the flavor-packed juices from the roasted vegetables and mixes with the tangy dressing to become a chewy but crispy crouton.

It’s all so good!

What you’ll need

ingredients to make roasted vegetable panzanella salad on a wooden board
Zucchini, eggplant, parsnip and onion are the standout stars of vegetable panzanella salad.
  • A big tray of vegetables. You can use any vegetables you have on hand but think about color and texture when selecting.
  • Crusty bread. I prefer an Italian bread (sourdough is great too!) but not one with too thick of a crust. Day old bread is traditionally used for panzanella so it’s a great way to use up all those half loaves of uneaten bread.
  • Ricotta salata. The feta cheese of Italian ricotta cheese. See more below.
  • White balsamic vinegar. The hidden gem of the dressing that adds zest and a touch of sweetness.
  • Lemon. Gives the vegetables a bright yet acidic flavor.

Ingredient spotlight: ricotta salata

Ricotta salata is similar to feta cheese. It’s made by pressing the whey and water out of ricotta cheese. The cheese is salted and dried creating a crumbly texture that is amazing on salads.

You can find ricotta salata at most national grocery stores, especially if it has a fine cheese case. BelGioioso is one brand that carries ricotta salata so look for it near you!

How to roast vegetables in the oven…perfectly…every time

sheet pan of vegetables prepped for a roasted veggie panzanella salad.
  • Always preheat the oven to at least 400˚.
  • Use a really big, extra large sheet pan so that the vegetables roast and don’t steam.
  • Dice the veggies as close to the same size as possible so that they cook evenly.
  • Group vegetables that cook approximately the same amount of time on the same pans. For example, mushrooms and zucchini are softer so will roast in the same amount of time whereas butternut squash and potatoes are harder and will take longer.
  • Toss the vegetables with a spatula halfway through roasting so they caramelize on both sides.

Roasting vegetable tip

Vegetables shrink when roasted but that doesn’t mean they should be packed closely together. Don’t crowd the pan!


Let’s make panzanella…step by step

bread cubes in a black skillet being toasted in olive oil for roasted vegetable panzanella salad
Toast the cubed bread for panzanella over medium-high heat until crispy and golden.
diced vegetables on a dark sheet pan prepped for roasted vegetable panzanella salad
Prep a sheet pan of vegetables and toss with olive oil and roast until caramelized.
white bowl of whisk mixing dressing for roasted vegetable panzanella salad
Whisk the lemon vinaigrette dressing until blended.
prepping ingredients in a bowl to make roasted vegetable bread salad with a basil leaf before dressing
Slide the veggies into a bowl along with the toasted bread and drizzle over some dressing.
  • Make panzanella croutons. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add cubed bread. Sprinkle with salt and toss until golden brown and crispy about 8 minutes.
  • Dice and roast vegetables. Using a sharp chef’s knife, place diced veggies on a baking sheet(s) coated with olive oil. Don’t crowd the pan.
  • Mix up the dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a measuring cup.
  • Add the toasted bread and the roasted veggies to a large shallow serving bowl and toss together. Drizzle with 1/2 the dressing and toss again. Sprinkle with ricotta salata.

Bread Tip

For roasted veggie panzanella, cube the bread smaller as the vegetables will shrink during roasting.

-Josie + Nina

Tips for panzanella success

wooden spoon scooping up some roasted zucchini and eggplant panzanella salad with a lemon piece and fresh basil

Make ahead

Make the bread ahead. Toast the bread and lay in a large sheet pan at room temperature until completely cool. Cover with a clean dishtowel up to 2 days until ready to use.

Mix the dressing ahead and roast the veggies. Store in airtight containers until ready to toss with the bread.

Serving

Reserve half of the dressing for right before serving roasted veggie panzanella.

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The croutons will get softer as they sit and their flavor will intensify. I don’t recommend freezing panzanella salad.

Made this recipe?

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white bowl with finished roasted veggie panzanella and lemon vinaigrette dressing nearby
5 from 1 vote

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella Salad

A double layering of texture and flavor thanks to a glorious pile of caramelized, roasted vegetables and crispy, golden toasted cubed bread. Roasted vegetable panzanella salad has a luscious lemon vinaigrette that drizzles its garlicky and fresh flavor over zucchini, eggplant, parsnips and onions. An easy main course salad recipe that helps clean out the vegetable crisper!
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the lemon balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400˚.

For the vegetables

  • Dice the vegetables evenly and spread onto an extra large baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. (TIP: Group vegetables that cook the same amount of time together and don't crowd the pan. You want to caramelize the vegetables not steam them 😊)
    1-2 eggplants diced into 1” cubes, 2 yellow squash diced into 1” cubes, 1 yellow onion wedged into small pieces, 1 parsnip, 2 zucchini
  • Toss the veggies in the olive oil to coat, adding 1 Tablespoon more of olive oil as needed. You want them lightly coated. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and black ground pepper.

For the bread

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in the croutons and sprinkle with salt. Toss until golden, about 6-8minutes. Remove from heat to a large sheet pan (if not using immediately).
    ½ loaf of italian bread, 2 T olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast for approximately 20-25 minutes until caramelized and golden. Keep an eye on them as oven temperatures vary.

For the dressing

  • Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small measuring cup and set aside.
    ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons chopped shallots, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 1 lemon juiced and zested, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black ground pepper

Assemble

  • To a large serving bowl, add the vegetables and croutons. Drizzle with dressing and toss until combined. Check for flavor and adjust seasoning as needed

Notes

Make ahead tips
  • You can make the toast the bread ahead and leave in the pan or lay on a baking sheet lightly covered with plastic wrap or a towel until ready to use.
  • The dressing can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Toss 1/2 the dressing over the salad, reserving the other half for right before serving.
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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