This super tasty Greek panzanella salad with honey and watermelon is a fusion of Greek and Italian cuisine and makes the perfect light lunch or a fun salad to start a meal with friends and family.
I love a good Greek salad (come on who doesn’t) but how do you improve on such a classic. Well you can add extras that you like personally to make it more ‘you’. Or you can add stuff to make it more filling.
I’ve done both here. I’ve added another Greek summertime classic – watermelon. And I’ve gone for some bread to make it more of a filling salad. Oh and there’s honey, gorgeous Greek honey.
What is Panzanella salad
Panzanella or panmolle is a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It’s also popular in other parts of central Italy.
Using bread in a salad is a great way to A. use up slightly aged (I mean day old not ancient) bread, and B. A great way to add more body to a simple salad and make it a meal in itself. It’s a win, win situation really.
This Greek panzanella salad was inspired by honey. I love honey, especially the Greek honey that all my friends make it Crete from their own bee hives on the hillsides around Agia Galini. The Greeks love their honey and just dipping bread into honey is a snack in itself over there.
That got me thinking. What if you made the traditional Greek salad a bit more hearty by adding bread and then drizzled over honey. Then you’re getting that classic Greek honey and bread combo but in a salad.
Ingredients for this simple salad
- Red peppers
- Red onion
- Black olives
- Water melon
- Day old Sourdough bread
- Basil and mint leaves
- Dried oregano
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
Making this panzanella Greek salad
- Firstly tear or chop up the bread into pieces about 2cm in size. You don’t want great hunks of bread that you can’t pick up with a fork. Nor do you want tiny pieces that will just turn into mushy breadcrumbs when the dressing is added.
- Chop the tomatoes, onions and peppers into bite sized pieces.
- Mix the bread pieces with all salad ingredients (apart from feta) in a bowl
- Mix olive oil, lemon juice, Greek yogurt, dried oregano and salt and pepper in a small jar and shake well
- Pour dressing over salad and lightly toss everything together
- Sprinkle with feta
- Drizzle over honey
What type of bread to use?
Ciabatta bread, sourdough bread or other pretty robust breads are best. You want something that will hold it’s own and not completely dissolve. Forget the sliced white! If you don’t happen to have day old bread lurking in the bread bin then lightly bake a couple of slices of fresh bread. This will crisp it enough so that the dressing doesn’t turn it to mush. Instant aging.
I’ve used dried oregano (the Greek stuff from the Cretan hillsides) as it has a better flavour than the fresh herb. Fresh basil and mint though. It really is only oregano that I tend to use in dry form as opposed to the fresh herb.
Mint gives a fresh lightness and the basil adds that almost anaseed warmth. It’s a lovely combination.
How to serve this Greek panzanella salad
I like to serve this simple salad as a lunch dish on it’s own. A glass of chilled white wine and sitting in the garden is the perfect idea. It would also be good as a starter salad served family style in the centre of the table for a meal with family and friends. All dig in and help yourselves.
You could also serve this salad as a side dish with pork chops. It would be the perfect side for my Greek fried meatballs (Keftedes), or try it with my lamb koftas. This salad would also go great with simple roast chicken too.
Looking for more super salad inspiration? Then check these out before you go;
Homemade tzatziki and classic Greek salad
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Greek panzanella salad with honey and watermelon
- 2 slices bread day-old bread or fresh bread torn into bite-size pieces
- 6 tomatoes chopped into quarters
- 1 red pepper bite-sized pieces
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1/2 cucumber sliced
- 6 tbsp watermelon cubed
- 3 tbsp black olives
- 4 tbsp feta crumbled
- basil and mint leaves torn
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp honey runny honey
For the dressing
- 1 tbsp Greek yogurt or any other plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients (apart from feta in a bowl)
- Add the salad dressing and toss
- sprinkle over the feta and drizzle with the honey, add salt and pepper
- Mix all salad dressing ingredients in small jar and shake well