Have you heard of panzanella – the classic Italian tomato and bread salad? This is my version of it – a Panzanella bowl with vegan cashew cheese. Panzanella is a pretty simple salad, which is why I love it so. The basic version calls for just some beautiful fruity tomatoes and day old bread turned into something amazing. Although the basic version is pretty much perfect, to make my salad a proper meal I made it into a bowl meal with added vegetables and beautiful baked cashew cheese in two flavors: lemon-turmeric and roasted red pepper. Perfect salad turned into a perfect bowl meal – definitely my kind of healthy late summer food.
I have to admit I didn’t know the name of the salad until this summer, when I’ve been inspired to create classic salads with a little twist. First in order was my ultimate favorite classic Greek salad with vegan feta cheese. This panzanella bowl certainly has very similar elements: delicious summer tomatoes, red onions, something salty (olives here and capers in my Greek salad) and last but not least the queen of the bowl – vegan cheese cubes. I find these little savory well-seasoned cheese cubes to be the perfect addition to a salad bowl as they give beautiful flavor to the whole salad. Actually no dressing is even needed as the cheese is so flavorful! You can find recipes for the two vibrant cheeses here.
As a proud owner of a small garden, I’m super happy to incorporate as much homegrown produce in my recipes as I can. One of the most beautiful items from our garden is zucchini. Perfectly firm and green, just waiting to be spiralized, grilled or grated in porridge or muffin batter. Spiralized zucchini is an excellent addition to this bowl as it tastes fresh and light and also nicely absorbs other flavors. If you’re serious about eating your veggies, I recommend investing in a spiralizer. You can spiralize almost any veggie and turn your meal into something extraordinary!
This meal reminds me of a nourishing rainbow Buddha Bowl with all the right elements: vegetables, grains, protein & healthy fats. You can read more about the elements for a nutritious bowl meal in my Vegan Basics part 2: The Anatomy of a Buddha Bowl. But now to the colorful bowl – let’s dig in 🙂
- [b]Vegan cashew cheese[/b]
- You can find the recipes for both the lemon-turmeric cashew cheese and the roasted red pepper cashew cheese [url href=”https://www.myberryforest.com/baked-cashew-cheese/” target=”_blank”]here[/url].
- [b]Vegan, gluten-free croutons[/b]
- 1 cup cubed gluten-free bread (a day old bread works well in this recipe)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste. Depending on how salty the bread is)
- [b]Panzanella bowls for two[/b]
- 1 medium spiralized zucchini
- 1 cup cubed cashew cheese
- 1 cup croutons
- 1 1/2 cups of small tomatoes
- 1/2 cups of olives
- 1/4 cups sliced red onions
- Fresh herbs: parsley, basil
- [b]Vegan cashew cheese: [/b]make the cheese first. Start by soaking cashews for at least 2 hours (but preferably 4 hours) before making the cheese. Instructions for making the cheese can be found [url href=”https://www.myberryforest.com/baked-cashew-cheese/” target=”_blank”]here[/url].
- [b]Croutons: [/b]pre-heat oven to 375F / 190C.
- Toss all crouton ingredients in a bowl and coat cubed bread with oil and spices.
- Bake in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or any baking tin) for 10 min. Flip croutons and bake another 5-10 min or until the croutons are crunchy (but not too hard).
- [b]Panzanella bowl:[/b] spiralize the zucchini and cut the long spirals into smaller pieces.
- Start assembling the bowls by putting the spiralized zucchini on the bottom of the bowl and piling all other ingredients on top. Garnish with fresh herbs. The vegan cashew cheese and olives give enough flavor to the salad and no dressing is needed, but you can of course add extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste.
- Enjoy this healthy and nourishing bowl!