Summer calls for a the perfect BBQ party dish. Watermelon panzanella ticks all the boxes. Sweet watermelon mingles with salty feta and dried olives to make a lovely sweet and briny salad that you’ll absolutely love. Top it all off with a balsamic vinaigrette and some fresh mint, and enjoy!
I first discovered panzanella in Italy. It’s a beautiful summer salad made of homemade croutons and ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden. Panzanella is a simple salad so it’s critical that all the ingredients are top notch. In this recipe we’ll replace tomatoes with watermelon for a refreshing update on a classic.
If you want to, you can serve your watermelon panzanella over a bed of arugula or watercress, but I think it’s perfect as it is.
Watermelon Panzanella Ingredients:
- Baguette: Use a French baguette to make the croutons. Leave the bread out for a day or two. Stale bread makes for perfect, crunchy croutons.
- Olive oil: Use the best quality extra-virgin olive oil you can find in this recipe. There aren’t many ingredients, and it’s important that the ones you use are top notch.
- Sea Salt: You can opt for the ever popular kosher salt, but I’d encourage you to expand your salt palette and try flaky sea salt. You’ll notice the difference.
- Watermelon: How do you tell if a watermelon is ripe? When a watermelon is ripe, you’ll see a patch of white or yellow on it’s underside. If the stem is still attached on one end, make sure it’s still green and not dried out and brown, indicating that the watermelon has been freshly harvested.
- Vegan Feta cheese: Sometimes vegan feta cheese is referred to as “Greek Style.” You can find it at most grocery stores.
- Olive oil: – Go for an extra-virgin olive oil. It will make a world of difference in how this dish tastes.
- Garlic: – Garlic broadens and stretches the other flavors in a dish. Don’t skip it. It adds so much more to a recipe than a garlicky flavor.
- Balsamic Vinegar: A good quality balsamic vinegar should be rich, brown, glossy and have a deep complex flavor.
- Olives: I’ve used pitted and dried olives. Dry cured olives have been pitted and the moisture has been cured out of them, leaving only the salty, briny flesh of the olive. You can find a vriety of brands at the grocery store. This is one that I like.
- Mint: Always use your hands to tear apart mint when using it as a garnish. Mint tends to blacken when you cut it with a knife.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and to cut your watermelon into cubes. Slice the watermelon into equal sized slices, remove the rind and seeds and cut the flesh into equal sized cubes. Put the cubes into the fridge to chill, while you get on with making the croutons.
Now cut your baguette into roughly sized squares. Lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil minced garlic. Sprinkle the sea salt over the croutons and bake them for about 15 minutes.
While your croutons are baking, begin preparing your dressing. Simply mix the extra-virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar and set aside.
Let’s put together the panzanella. Layer the freshly baked croutons on the bottom, and top with watermelon, crumbled feta and olives. Dress the salad with the balsamic dressing and garnish with fresh mint. Enjoy!
If You Liked Watermelon Panzanella, You Might Like:
- 150 g baguette, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
- 200 g seedless watermelon rind removed and cubed
- 100 g feta cheese crumbled
- 60 g dried and pitted black olives
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 sprigs mint roughly torn
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (350 Farenheit)Cut the watermelon int slices, removing the rind and seeds. Cut the flesh into cubes, and put them in the fridge to chill while you prepare the croutons.
- Cut the baguette into roughly sized squares. Lay them out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the minced garlic and sea salt over the croutons and bake for 15 minutes, or until crunchy and nicely browned.
- While the croutons are baking, make the dressing by combining the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
- Spread the croutons out on a serving platter, and lay the watermelon cubes on top. Crumble the feta cheese over the top. Finish by adding the olives and balsamic dressing. Garnish with freshly torn mint.
Want more great ideas for what to have for dinner?