Hello perfect Summer Salad! This Peach Panzanella Salad with Fennel and Arugula is made with lightened-up baked croutons, red onion, basil ribbons and pumpkin seeds. Top it with grilled chicken for heartier appetites, or keep it vegan! A simple, healthy & delicious salad full of summer flavor!
Time itself had changed, as if it were suspended – like the dust motes in the air. There was so much time, and it was so slow, I could take as long as I needed to sense each and every thing. And what is more, I felt companioned. ~ Stepen Buhner
This Peach Panzanella Salad with Fennel and Arugula has morphed over the years into so many different variations, but we’ve seem to have landed on this, at least for now. Light and refreshing, the lightened- up, baked croutons give it such a delicious crunchy texture.
When peaches are in season, so juicy and fragrant and dripping with flavor, I love them in everything, and especially in salads using arugula. Their sweet, tangy flavor pairs so perfectly with peppery nutty arugula. But it’s the thinly sliced fennel bulb that adds such a unique and tasty twist in my opinion, I can’t wait for you to try this combo!
Red onion, fresh basil and pepitas finish it off.
To lighten up the croutons, lightly toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and simply bake. No need for butter. I prefer baking croutons rather than to cooking them on the stove top for the convenience of being a little more hands-free. Plus I think it requires less oil. While they are baking you can prep the other ingredients.
When making baked croutons, use a rustic bread, preferably with lots of air pockets. This is key. This keeps the croutons nice and light. Always get un-sliced bread , so you can cut them into bigger, one-inch cubes.
Simply toss with olive oil and salt and bake in a 375 F oven until toasted and crispy, about 20 minutes.
You want to cut the fennel and onion as thinly as possible, so if you have one, use a mandolin. Otherwise a very sharp knife and a little patience will do fine too.
The dressing is basic and can be modified to fit your taste, and if feeling creative, feel free to try out different vinegar. If you have herb, berry or fruit-infused vinegar, this is an excellent time to use them!
I’ve kept this salad intentionally vegan, but if wanting to “beef it up”, of course you could add cheese or even grilled chicken, like I do for Brian sometimes.
I’ll add a few more pumpkin seeds to mine, and we are both happy. 🙂
Ok ….a simple, easy Peach Panzanella Salad with Fennel and Arugula for you to try this week. Pair it with grilled chicken or keep it vegan. Up to you.
For another peach salad option without bread or gluten….. try this Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese & Almonds !
Happy, healthy, delicious week. xo
Peach Panzanella Salad with Fennel and Arugula
Peach Panzanella Salad with Fennel and Arugula – a simple, healthy & delicious salad full of summer flavor! Vegan.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Salad, vegan, main
- Method: tossed
- Cuisine: Northwest
- 3-4 cups rustic bread, cut into 1 inch cubes ( You may not need all for the salad, but nice to have more around)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch salt
- 1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced (use a mandolin) about 1-1 ½ cups
- ¼ of a red onion, very thinly sliced, about ½ cup
- 3 ripe peaches, sliced into ½ inch wedges
- 3-4 ounces organic baby arugula
- 10-20 basil leaves
- ¼ cup -½ cup pumpkin seeds
Panzanella Dressing: (you may not use all)
Preheat oven to 400. F
Prep croutons, cutting them into 1 inch cubes. Lightly toss with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Lower heat to 375 F and bake them on a sheet pan 20-25 minutes ( until crisp and golden) tossing halfway through. Let cool.
In the meantime…whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Keep in mind, you may not use all of it depending on how much lettuce and croutons you use.
Place the fennel and onion in a large bowl, and toss with a little of the dressing ( enough to coat) letting this marinate for 10-15 minutes. When ready to serve, add the arugula, sliced peaches, basil and pumpkin seeds. Once the croutons have cooled, add them to the bowl last and gently toss the salad with some more of the dressing, adding more as you need, being careful to not overdress. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper if. needed
If making ahead and serving for a gathering, keep the croutons on the side and wait to toss with the dressing, right before serving.
Feel free to turn this into a heartier entree salad by adding grilled chicken ( simple lemon or citrus flavors are nice) – simply grill ( or bake or sear) and slice and serve atop the salad.
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