Are you looking for a light yet flavourful vegan salad recipe? Look no further than this Avocado Panzanella! This twist on the classic Panzanella salad is made with fresh, creamy avocados and is perfect for any summer gathering or to add a little excitement to your weekday salad making!
This vegan avocado salad is packed with flavour and texture yet light enough to enjoy during the hot summer months. The avocados provide a nice creaminess, the tomatoes add some aromatic sweetness and the cucumbers add a nice crunch. Topped off with a handful of croutons and a tangy red wine vinaigrette, this salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
This is not the only Italia-style salad we have on the blog; you could also try our:
What I LOVE ❤️ About this Salad!
The incredible burst of flavour you get from the toasted sourdough that has soaked up all the flavourful dressing! Yuuummmmmmy!!
Plus, it only has a handful of staple ingredients that you can throw together in a few minutes to make this mouthwatering simple salad.
So what makes Avocado Panzanella so nutritious? Let's take a closer look at the ingredients:
- Tomatoes: Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, tomatoes can help protect your cells from damage. Plus, they're full of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help lower your risk of certain types of cancer.
- Cucumbers: Not only are cucumbers a great source of vitamin K (which supports blood clotting and bone strength), but they're also super hydrating. Plus, they contain several other essential nutrients, including vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium.
- Avocado: Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, which can keep you feeling fuller for longer. Plus, they have plenty of fibre, which can help reduce cholesterol levels and aid digestion.
- Basil: With its mild, sweet flavour, basil is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and iron.
Let's Talk Ingredients
- Avocado - form the base of this salad; make sure to choose ripe ones; give the avocado a gentle squeeze, and if it gives slightly, then it is ripe. Different varieties are available throughout the year so pick whatever is in season.
- Tomatoes - look for aromatic ripe tomatoes; we went for a selection of Heirloom tomatoes - we just love them! Beefsteak and truss/vine-ripened tomatoes are also good choices, or even some small tomatoes like cherry or mini Roma tomatoes would be great.
- Cucumbers - we used Lebanese/Persian cucumbers as they are seedless and crunchy. Any seedless variety of cucumber, such as Kirby or English cucumbers. You could also just remove the seeds from ordinary cucumbers and slice them into half moons instead.
- Basil - an Italian classic that we have an abundant supply of growing in our garden during the summer; it is such an aromatic herb and oh so versatile! Use whatever basil variety you can find.
- Croutons - I just toasted a couple of slices of sourdough for this salad that I lightly toasted. You can cut up the rest to serve on the side to mop up that lip-smacking dressing. Try a ciabatta, an artisan loaf or a pane di casa - we need a dense loaf with a chewy centre.
- Capers - added for some tangy flavour; you can swap for caperberries or olives if you prefer. Or just leave them altogether.
- Dressing - we have just shaken up a simple vinaigrette with some red wine vinegar, good-quality olive oil, and minced garlic. You can try a simple balsamic vinaigrette if you prefer, or our basil balsamic goes great here also! We have also finished the salad with some balsamic glaze to add some extra sweetness.
You Will Need
💡 Top Tips 💡
How to Make a Vegan Avocado Salad
Step 1 - Slice, Dice and Toast!
Pop the sourdough slices into your toaster, toast until golden and then cut them into large dice.
Alternatively, you can just tear up some stale bread and toast in the oven as we have done in our Panzanella Toscana.
Wash, trim and peel your cucumber, leaving thin alternate dark green strips, then cut into rounds.
Rinse, peel and remove the pit from the avocados and then slice it vertically.
Wash your basil, shake dry and then strip the leaves from the stems, gently tearing any large leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Rinse the baby capers in a strainer and shake to remove excess water.
Step 2 - Shake it Up.
Place the olive oil, red wine vinegar and minced garlic in a small glass jar, season and shake until emulsified.
Alternatively, you can swap the red wine vinegar for some balsamic.
Step 3 - Assemble Your Avocado Panzanella
Place all the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, season and pour over the dressing and mix well to combine.
Taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
Arrange in a salad bowl and drizzle with the balsamic glaze to finish.
Keep it chilled until you are ready to serve.
The great thing about this vegan avocado Panzanella is that it can be enjoyed as a main dish or side dish. It's a great option if you're looking for a light lunch or dinner; it's also a great make-ahead salad since it keeps well once it's made.
This is a great Italian salad that would suit any Italian main such as pasta, risotto or pizza. It does just as well served at a barbecue alongside grilled meats, poultry and seafood.
We served ours with some Italian chicken rolls cooked in a fresh homemade tomato passata.
Common Questions - FAQs
Always choose “virgin” or “extra virgin” varieties as these oils have been extracted by mechanical, not chemical, means. Therefore, flavour and health benefits are not compromised during processing.
The “extra virgin” oils are extracted from top-quality olives that have not been adulterated or refined and are handled and stored in the right manner.
As oils are sensitive to heat, light and exposure to oxygen, it is best to choose dark glass or metal cans; if it’s in clear glass, select a bottle from the back of the shelf, as these will have less exposure to light.
For this salad, I would recommend using either an Heirloom or a Truss tomato variety, as they are much more aromatic and flavourful than ordinary round tomatoes.
Choose ripe tomatoes that are firm with unmarked skin and no soft spots, as this means that they are spoilt.
Our avocado Panzanella salad is still great if kept in the fridge, even after a few days. I quite often blitz everything up and add it to mince with fresh herbs, a raw egg and breadcrumbs, mix well and make them into meatballs to cook for an easy dinner.
This vegan avocado salad still tastes great even after a couple of days in the fridge, even though the veggies may have softened and the basil may have gone a bit brown.
Avocado Panzanella is dairy-free and nut-free and suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Each of our serves contains approximately 377 calories with total net carbs of 20 grams.
To make it suitable for keto, low-carb, paleo and whole30 diets, you will need to skip out on the croutons (try some roasted nuts instead, such as pine nuts or almonds) and check your vinegar to make sure it is suitable.
(Please note we use a nutritional database to calculate the nutritional information, and it should be considered as an estimate)
- A tomato or serrated edge knife
- 500 grams Heirloom tomatoes (3 medium, approximately 18 ounces)
- 240 grams Lebanese or Persian cucumbers (2 medium, approximately 8.5 ounces)
- 430 grams medium avocados (2 small, approximately 15.2 ounces)
- 150 grams sourdough, lightly toasted (3 slices, approximately 5.3 ounces)
- ½ cup basil leaves, loosely packed
- ¼ cup capers
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- Toast the sourdough until golden and then cut them into large dice.
- Wash, trim and peel your cucumber, leaving thin alternate dark green strips, then cut into rounds.
- Rinse, peel and remove the pit from the avocados and then slice it horzontally.
- Wash your basil, shake dry and then strip the leaves from the stems, gently tearing any large leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Rinse the baby capers in a strainer and shake to remove excess water.
- Place the olive oil, red wine vinegar and minced garlic in a small glass jar, season and shake until emulsified.
- Place all the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, season and pour over the dressing and mix well to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
- Arrange in a salad bowl and drizzle with the balsamic glaze to finish.
- Keep it chilled until you are ready to serve.
- It is important to use a good quality olive oil in this salad as it is a simple oil and vinegar dressing. You will find olive oil buying tips in our FAQs section.
- Choose aromatic tomatoes as the main ingredient, tips in FAQs.
- Let it stand for a few minutes to allow the bread to soak up the dressing and to create bombs of tangy flavour.
- Use a tomato knife or serrated knife to cut the tomatoes; you will get clean cuts without squishing your tomatoes .
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