RECIPES:
Dec 20, 2021

Warm Bean and Chard Panzanella Salad

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
This warm version of a panzanella salad is served with white beans and Swiss chard with roasted golden beets in a simple red wine vinaigrette and garnished with Parmesan.

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Panzanella is a Tuscan chopped salad and popular Italian staple that utilizes stale bread as the base. While the bread is usually rehydrated by the dressing made from the juices of the tomatoes, in this recipe I omit tomatoes and use a red wine vinaigrette instead for a seasonal change. This bread-based “salad” does not typically have any lettuce or greens, though for this version I add Swiss chard. 

Warm Bean and Chard Panzanella Salad

Key Ingredients in This Recipe 

  • Bread – I use day-old ciabatta (or another rustic Italian bread). Giving new life to stale bread, the cubed bread absorbs the dressing. If your bread isn’t stale I recommend drying it out a bit in the oven at low heat before adding it to the salad. This is so the bread can absorb the juices in the salad without becoming soggy. 
  • Swiss chard – Remove the thick stems in each leaf of the chard before chopping it. They can be very tough and take away from the textures in the salad. The chard can easily be swapped with another tough green like kale or collard greens. 
  • Beans – Cannellini beans, also known as white navy beans, are often used in Italian recipes. They can be used interchangeably with great northern beans. I love using them for their smooth texture – it complements the chard and crisp bread in this recipe. 
  • Beets – Beets are healthy root vegetables with earthy flavor. Roasting them until they are extremely tender brings out their unique flavor. They are wrapped in aluminum foil when cooked so the skin can easily be slipped off when they are tender. I opt to use golden beets for their bright orange color though red beets can be substituted. 
  • Red wine vinegar – Mixing a touch of red wine vinegar into the panzanella helps balance the acidity. Champagne or white wine vinegar can also be used in this recipe. 
Warm Bean and Chard Panzanella Salad

How to Make Warm Bean and Chard Panzanella Salad

For the red wine vinegar:
  1. Mix the dressing. Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk to combine until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Use or store. Use or store the vinaigrette in a container with a lid. Store, refrigerated, for 3 to 5 days.
For the panzanella:
  1. Roast beets. Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Trim the tops off the beets if needed and scrub completely. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Individually wrap each beet tightly in aluminum foil. Roast until the beets are tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Peel the beets. Remove from the oven and let the beets cool. Once cool to the touch, rub the beets to peel the skins and discard. Cut the beets into quarters.
  3. Toss the panzanella salad. Add the chard, stale bread, beans and beets to a large bowl. Add the red wine vinaigrette and toss to combine. Top with the shaved Parmesan and serve.
Warm Bean and Chard Panzanella Salad

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • If you only have fresh bread (but not stale bread) you can mimic the stale bread by baking it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until the outside is crisp and dried out, about 10 minutes.
  • If prepping the salad ahead of time, keep all elements separate until ready to serve so the bread doesn’t get soggy.
  • If you don’t have ciabatta you can use another crusty bread like French bread or a baguette, though I like the open structure of ciabatta. 
  • This salad can also be served at room temperature or chilled.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out these:

Warm Bean and Chard Panzanella Salad

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the red wine vinaigrette:

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

For the panzanella:

  • 3 medium golden beets
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 medium bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 loaf day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained and heated
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan

Instructions:

For the red wine vinegar:

  • Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk to combine until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Use or store the vinaigrette in a container with a lid. Store, refrigerated, for 3 to 5 days.

For the panzanella:

  • Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • Trim the tops off the beets if needed and scrub completely. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Individually wrap each beet tightly in aluminum foil. Roast until the beets are tender, about 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and let the beets cool. Once cool to the touch, rub the beets to peel the skins and discard. Cut the beets into quarters.
  • Add the chard, stale bread, beans and beets to a large bowl. Add the red wine vinaigrette and toss to combine. Top with the shaved Parmesan and serve.

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