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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 6 cups

Croutons are crucial to panzanella, which gets its name in part from the Italian word for bread. This low-fat version omits oil in favor of a juicy, lip-smacking-good Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. Serve this fresh and satisfying bread salad on its own or as part of a healthy vegan Mediterranean feast. 

Tip: You can also leave the bread cubes out overnight to dry instead of baking them.


  • 4 sun-dried tomato pieces (not oil-packed)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices whole grain bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 2 cups chopped romaine
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • ½ of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped


  1. Make Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette: Place sun-dried tomato pieces in a small bowl with enough hot water to cover. Soak 20 minutes; drain. In a blender combine rehydrated tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, pine nuts, garlic, oregano, and ½ cup water. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted and crispy.
  3. In a large bowl combine croutons with the next six ingredients (through basil). Toss well. Serve in bowls drizzled with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. Store leftover vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Comments (8)

(5 from 4 votes)
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Debra1 year ago
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This is a fantastic tasting dressing and easy to make. I used Marny Stevenson’s recommendation using walnuts in place of pine nuts. Great suggestion due to price of pine nuts and easy to find. I did add a little more water due to thickness and also added herbs du Provence in place of basil. I also used 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes.

Carolyn1 year ago
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This salad dressing is seriously good. Tangy and flavorful and rich tasting. I’m using it on lots of things

Jojo1 year ago
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Need cup measuring for sun dried tomatoes.. good recipes have measurable amounts given. Ugh Js

marny stevenson1 year ago
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I used walnuts instead of pine nuts; I added some of the tomato soaking water to help blend; I’m going to use my high speed blender next time to see if I like it smoother; I used 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (I made lots); I added parsley to the sauce as well. Super delicious. I’m going to have the left-over sauce on my bowl for supper, with beans…yum!

Joyce Butz1 year ago
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Thanks for the tips!

Terri1 year ago
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Loved the dressing! No oil needed. I used white balsamic vinegar.

Johanna1 year ago
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What size are your sun-dried tomato pieces? I made it with 4 pieces and it turned out to be flavored vinegar. I added about 1/4 cup and it’s a bit better. Also, I would like to add this recipe to my meal planner recipes. Would like to see that button added for this recipe. Thanks!

Shelley1 year ago
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Looks refreshing. I’m going to try this one


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about the author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.

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