Health  |  Parenting

Healthy Recipe: Easy, Light Summer Panzanella Salad

A veggie-filled Italian dish you and your kids will love.

Photograph by Carlene Thomas.

Does salad on the menu have the kids headed for the hills? Not all salads have to focus on leafy greens. In this simple spin on a traditional Italian meal, let the family enjoy summer produce with different shapes and textures paired with two kid favorites that may help them try something new. To round out this summer meal, serve with a rotisserie chicken from the market or a grilled steak.

Summer Panzanella Salad

Serves 4



1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/8 cup lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar


3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 small white onion

3 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 cups of cubed toasted baguette, Italian bread or olive oil bread

1 small English cucumber

2 large tomatos

1 small green pepper

6 ounces mozzarella cheese (sliced or cubed)

1/4 cup fresh basil

pinch kosher salt


1. Add dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid. Close the lid and shake to combine. If you don’t have a jar, whisk in a bowl.

2. To make the salad, slice bread into thick pieces, brush with olive oil and grill or toast until crisp. Tear or cut the slices into cubes.

3. In a pan, add remaining olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until fragrant.

4. Remove the onion and garlic from the pan and begin slicing vegetables.

5. Cut cheese. Cut fresh basil.

6. To build the salad everything can be added to one large mixing bowl, dressed and tossed to combine, or it can be individually plated and dressed. Add additional sea salt to taste.

Carlene Thomas RDN,LD is a dietitian nutritionist and healthy living blogger on Healthfully Ever After.