Spring panzanella with lemon-pesto dressing

Confession: I’m a vegetarian and I don’t love salads. It’s all those pesky greens getting in the way: spinach, arugula, romaine…they just get soggy and sad.

But not this salad. This salad features bread as the superstar. Instead of the traditional tomato-basil pairing in panzanella, this version has crispy spring veggies and a zesty lemon-pesto dressing that soaks into the bread and ties everything together.

It’s sturdy enough to be taken on a picnic or eaten the next day. It’s also healthy and hearty enough to eat as a light meal.

Feel free to use whichever spring veggies you want. I included radishes in the ingredient list because I really wanted to include them here but my local grocery store didn’t have them. (Weird. Get it together, Trader Joe’s.) You could also omit the feta if you’re vegan and add white beans for extra protein. I found the dressing was flavorful enough for me but you could throw in some fresh herbs if you felt like it. Think mint, basil, parsley, green onions, etc.

Whatever you do, make this salad. It’s like spring on a plate.

Ingredients: salad

  • 2 cups asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup snap peas, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 baguette sourdough bread, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz feta (optional)

Ingredients: dressing

  • 4 tablespoons pesto
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp agave or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread on foil lined tray and drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Toss until bread is evenly coated. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove tray from oven and let cool.
  2. Make dressing by combining pesto, lemon juice, vinegar, agave, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir until ingredients are well mixed.
  3. In a large bowl, toss veggies, toasted bread, and dressing together until combined.
  4. Serve immediately or chill and serve the next day, depending on how crunchy your want your bread. It tastes good both ways.

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