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Nourishing Recipes: Classic Panzanella - quite possibly the perfect picnic food!

June 27, 2019

Nourishing Recipes: Classic Panzanella - quite possibly the perfect picnic food!

Enjoy this hearty salad on the go, or make a batch and enjoy all week at home! The best time to make this beauty is high summer, when basil and tomatoes are at their peak. Also lovely topped with avocado. Enjoy!

Panzanella Classico

Serves 6-8

2     cups  water, filtered            
4    cloves garlic, minced                    
½     tsp   sea salt            
1      tbsp   nutritional yeast             
½     cup    polenta

2      tbsp   EVOO            

4      oz      arugula, baby, washed (or torn leaves if mature)                                  
2      cups   cherry tomato, halved (or use heirlooms if in season!)           
10    leaves basil, chiffonade  
1      cup     white beans or chickpeas, drained, rinsed            
     cup     olives, drained (opt'l)           

⅓     cup     balsamic vinegar            
4      cloves   garlic minced                        
2      tbsp       lemon juice            
¼     cup     extra virgin olive oil            
1      tbsp      italian seasoning or preferred spice blend         
2      tbsp      parsley fresh            
1      tsp      salt            
1      tsp      black pepper            
       
1   cup     sunflower seeds, toasted            
1/2 cup     sesame seeds, white            
1/4  cup       nutritional yeast            
2   tsp     sea salt            
2    tsp      garlic powder        

Puree garlic, salt, and nutritional yeast with water and bring this mixture to a simmer on the stovetop. Once simmering, whisk in your polenta. Cook over very low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly. Drizzle in EVOO and whisk thoroughly to ensure it's integrated. Pour this mix about a half inch thick onto an ungreased baking sheet, smooth it with a spatula, and chill in fridge.

Combine arugula, cherry tomatoes, basil, chickpeas or white beans and olives in a bowl. In a blender, blend vinegar, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and spices and pour this dressing into the bowl, folding the greens and veggie mix together gently.

In a dry blender, pulse the last five ingredients until they are a parm-like texture. Set aside.

Remove the polenta from the fridge and cut it into 1-inch chunks - think fondue bread. Carefully fold these pieces into the greens/veggie and dressing mixture, transfer it all to a serving bowl, and top with the sesame and sunflower seed parmesan (to taste). Make ahead: assemble ingredients shortly before serving but dressing and polenta can be made several days ahead. Avocado is a lovely addition if you're sure it'll all be eaten immediately!

Ready to read more? Check out our post about the state of recycling in Mecklenburg County here!