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Food Revolution Day: green panzanella salad

We’re real friends. We stand up for real food. 

We live in different countries, though, so we tried to figure out how to make our part for the first-ever global Food Revolution Day, (I have goose bumps, we can make a difference, people!)  that in this Saturday, May 19, is celebrated throughout the world: schools, homes, gardens, refectories, offices, everywhere! It is all due to Jamie Oliver.

The first time I saw one of Jamie’s shows on tv it was many year ago, long before he would become famous in Italy. There was something about him, something beyond his attractive English accent, his fun and down to earth approach to cooking, his mouthwatering recipes. He was real. He managed to demonstrate that anyone can cook. Then he went further.

As Jamie says in his article for the Huffington PostFood Revolution Day is an opportunity for everyone around the world to do something. The Food Revolution and Food Revolution Day is about empowering people through education or, frankly, just inspiring people to be more street-wise about food, where it comes from and how it affects their bodies. If you know how to cook you can save yourself money, feel better and live longer, and the chances are, your kids will follow suit. 

We want to change the way people eat by educating every child about food, giving families the skills to cook from scratch again, and motivating people to stand up for their right to better food.

If we lived closer, we would have met for sure, bringing our friendship along with generous quantities of home made food for a pot luck dinner somewhere out in the countryside. We would have laid a checkered blanket on the fresh grass, pulling out of our baskets goodies, dishes and cutlery. It’s a kind of  déjeuner sur l’herbe, isn’t it?

I could see Emiko, giving light touches of elegance to our get together, a candle in a jar here, few striped paper straws there. Sarka would have taken so many vivid pictures, while posting on Instagram all our dishes. Zizi would have offered us a yummy vegetarian dish, while Karin would have spiced up the meeting with her travel spice set. Valeria would have bring some fresh London air, along with a selection of her favourite cheeses. Regula, dressed in black and red as a ’50s lady, would have brought her contagious laugh to the party, not to mention some British humor. And what about me? I would have sit under a beech tree (I can perfectly see that beech), basking in our friendship and food.

Having too many miles and sometimes oceans dividing us, we decided to ‘meet’ in our virtual favourite place, our blogs, the reason we first met, and enjoy a virtual pot-luck dinner together, cooking a real, sustainable dish, representative of where we are from.

These are dishes everyone can cook. You can make them from scratches with local and seasonal ingredients. You can enjoy the preparation of these recipes in the kitchen with your friends and kids, getting them to know the value of every single ingredient, the importance of choosing what is in season, for health, ethic, taste and economical reasons (have you ever noticed how expensive the products are when not in season? just this reason should be enough to convince you not to buy them!). My dish for the pot-luck is a green panzanella salad.

First, let me clarify one point: panzanella salad, a typical dish of the Tuscan peasant cooking, is made with bread soaked in water. No crunchy bits, no beautifully golden croutons. Soaked and squeezed stale bread. In the past time the farmers baked their bread once a week, so it could easily get stale after a few days.

For their down to earth approach to life, it was unthinkable to throw it away, so they found many a delicious way to recycle it. Panzanella is one of those recipies.

But today, just to show you how versatile the recipe is and to flirt with the international version of panzanella salad, I tossed the diced stale bread with salt and pepper and browned it in a large skillet, adding at the very end  a good handful of fresh spring vegetables. Drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil and a dash of honey vinegar for a flavourful seasonal dish.

It’s easy, good, seasonal, fresh, colourful, versatile. Choose the reason that appeal your senses, but read the recipe, try it at home with your kids, enjoy it and pass it on. Stand up for real food, starting from your kitchen!

Green panzanella salad

5 from 2 votes
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Servings 4


  • 10 slices of stale bread
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 asparagus
  • 10 snow peas
  • 2 handfuls of shelled peas
  • 2 handfuls of shelled fava beans
  • honey vinegar
  • fresh mint leaves
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  • Dice the stale bread, toss it with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large non stick skillet with 2 cloves of garlic and let them infuse until golden, then remove it.
  • Brown the bread for 5 minutes or until golden and crunchy, stirring it often with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
  • Chop the asparagus and the snow peas and boil them in salted water for 5 minutes, until tender. Drain them and pass them under cold running water to preserve their bright green colour.
  • In a large bowl mix the brown bread, the boiled asparagus and snow peas, the shelled fava beans and peas.
  • Toss all the ingredients together with more salt and pepper if required.
  • Season with a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil and honey vinegar. Add some fresh mint leaves and serve. Enjoy it and pass it on.
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Now follow us and enjoy the complete menu we created for the virtual pot-luck dinner (we really friends spread in the whole world, aren’t we?)

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Other interesting recipes from all over the world… stand up for real food!

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This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Oh, hello my dinner friend! It is a lovely, gorgeous post. I adore your pictures!!! I want to have a garden to take photos like these! Let the party begin! 🙂

  2. Dear Giulia, thank you so much for setting the scene and the table for our pot-luck.
    I felt so close to you all reading your lines.. so happy and free and basking in the joys of friendship and yummy things shared, the joy the laughter the togetherness.
    You have created a worthy dejeuner sur l’herbe and I am looking forward to one soon with most of you in Tuscany in June!
    xoxo Karin

  3. Hello my dear friend, so happy to be together on this day even if it’s just trough our blogs. Your panzanella looks divine and I wish we could all sit down with a bowl of it in your lovely garden. Can’t wait to see you next month!!!
    happy food revolution day xxx

  4. I love that simply looking at your photos, it feels like being in Tuscany! This was the best potluck ever 😉

  5. Gorgeous landscape pictures and a lovely panzanella! Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is awesome. I just love what he does and I’m a big fan of his shows/books.



  6. I wanna be there, I want to sit under olive trees in your garden, devouring your delicious panzanella salad, soaking up the Tuscan sun and enjoying the presents of my friends, laughing and sharing wonderful food. I really wish this potluck dinner was real.
    Your photos make me miss Tuscany!

  7. Now, I think I could sacrifice a finger for sitting on that grass at the sunset to enjoy our meal together. what an amazing scenario for our potluck that will be. sigh!

  8. 5 stars
    I love this salad. Saw it on Foodbuzz and had to stop by and read the recipe :-). It looks so delicious and filling! I must try it. And your photos are simply stunning: both the landscapes and the closeups!

    Now that I’m here, I would like to invite you to share this post (and other posts 🙂 ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched only last week. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) –

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board 🙂

  9. Love that panzanella salad! And gorgeous photos too! Make me wish for more summer (although today was really hot!) Perfect weather for salads like this!

  10. Bread. Obviously, we go to the market and to our local berkay to find the best, freshest bread available.a0 When I was working in Manhattan, I would run out of work on Wednesday evenings hoping to catch the vendors packing up at the Union Square Greenmarket. a0Bread would be the last thing I could count on finding- most fresh loaves were snagged within the first several hours of the market opening. But sometimes, I would be lucky enough to find a loaf or two left. a0Having been sitting outside for 12 hours, I figured, why not let it sit out a little more? a0Older bread, left out on the counter for a couple days, can be the perfect base for the best croutons, the crunchiest breadcrumbs, and the tastiest panzanella salad.

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve done this recipe thanks to you( and lots of others) and my family loved it. I’m learning to cook the tuscan way..luv it luv it luv it more power!

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