Spring Panzanella

May 6, 2011

Author Notes: Rarely do signs appear with big flashing lights to guide or comfort us in difficult times. Inspiration surrounds us at every moment, gently whispering and nudging us in the right direction – half the time, we’re just too busy or distracted to even notice. Direction and guidance lie tucked in the innuendo; the passing smile of a stranger, old songs on the radio… little reminders that we are not alone and that it’s all okay.

It is our work to practice mindfulness and give ourselves permission to spend time just noticing. When we stop to simply notice, our busy and anxious minds are forced to the sideline and our intuitions get a chance to shine. The little signs around us end up only pointing to what we already instinctively knew.

Spring is the perfect season to practice the art of noticing all the beauty and wisdom the world has to offer us. The winds are shifting, the flowers are blooming, and the markets are bursting with fresh and invigorating vegetables that help keep a lightness about our days.

Get creative and incorporate any other fresh delicate veggies from your CSA box this week :)

Serves: 4


Bread Cubes

  • 1/2 loaf of bread, cut into 1" cubes
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Salad Base

  • 2-3 medium leeks, sliced thin
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 of a red onion, minced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut thin with mandoline
  • 1 cup onion sprouts
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sping peas, halved
  • 3-4 cups arugula or rocket
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 16 ounces oz. cooked chickpeas, rinsed and tossed with lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white whine vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
In This Recipe


Bread Cubes

  1. Toss bread cubes in olive oil and generous amounts of salt, and pepper. Lay flat on a baking sheet and toss in the oven at 400’ for 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and toast on one side for 2 minutes. Shake the pan to turn the cubes and broil until golden brown and crispy. Set to the side.

Salad Base

  1. In a small pan, bring 3-4 cups of water to boil and cook asparagus for no longer than 2 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and immerse in cold water to stop cooking. In a large bowl, combine the leeks, red onion, mint, basil, fennel, tomatoes, sprouts, and spring peas, toss with a splash of oil and vinegar, then add the rocket/arugula and cooled asparagus. Toss with the additional dressing, garbanzo beans, and bread cubes. Season with a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

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Reviews (11) Questions (0)

11 Reviews

PieceOfLayerCake May 1, 2014
I'm thinking about making this for a summer picnic....however....can I leave out the whine? There's already going to be enough children there. ;)
theyearinfood May 10, 2011
I already said that I love this, but I'll say it again! Spring is all about creative, inspired salads.
Author Comment
Happyolks May 10, 2011
Thanks girl! I totally agree. I've been eating copious amounts of rocket, spinach, and leafy greens this season with my CSA box!
fiveandspice May 9, 2011
Gorgeous. This sounds so refreshing and delicious. And your thoughts on mindfulness are lovely.
Author Comment
Happyolks May 10, 2011
Thank you!
boulangere May 6, 2011
Beautiful take on one of my favorite salads. And at the end of a very long day at the end of a very busy week, it was quite welcome to be reminded about quiet mindfulness. That said, I've decided to spend Mother's Day hiking with Esmé the perfect dog. Thank you.
Author Comment
Happyolks May 10, 2011
I'm so glad it resonated, I hope your hike was rejuvenating!
mrslarkin May 6, 2011
Yes, your photos are absolutely stunning! I love the theme of mindfulness in your writing; it's something I try to practice everyday. How do you make onion sprouts??
Author Comment
Happyolks May 7, 2011
Thank you so much, the kind comments mean so much. As for the onion sprouts, they actually have been coming in my weekly CSA boxes. I'm very lucky that our share includes a variety of different micro greens. I did a little digging, and this is what I could find for making them at home: http://sproutpeople.org/onion.html -- Best of luck!
hardlikearmour May 6, 2011
Wow, your photo is gorgeous! The salad sounds super delish, too.
Author Comment
Happyolks May 10, 2011
thank you!