We put a fun summer spin on an Italian Classic with this Panzanella Salad with Cherries. A combination of flavours including sweet cherries, fresh tomatoes, grilled halloumi cheese and toasted French bread will wake up your taste buds and have you wanting this salad all summer long!
I consider myself quite lucky to have grown up with cherries trees in our yard. The big, lush, plump juicy variety. We ate them until our fingers and mouths were stained red.
There were so many my mom would can them, freeze them, make all kinds of desserts and also make cherry wine!
There are so many variety’s of cherries right now I have no clue which ones my parents grew. Click the link to learn more about cherry varieties.
When we pick cherries in the Okanagan we end up with whatever cherry trees in their orchards are available at the time. One time an early frost had cleared out over 60% of the orchards that year so there were only a few options for picking. Plus did you know they are rated by size? Interesting, right?
Buying cherries means going to the local markets that offer the largest cherries since they are simply the best.
While it might surprise you to add cherries to a salad that is not a fruit salad, it’s important to note they hold up in any kind of salad. There is a lot of texture and flavour in this Panzanella salad with cherries.
Did you know the original panzanella salad was made with onions, not tomatoes? This changed when the 20th century came along and modern panzanella salads were made with stale bread soaked in water and squeezed dry. This may still be the case today, although we prefer our bread crunchy!
Where to serve Cherry Salad
I’d say anything goes. If I were single, I’d eat it as a main meal.
Potlucks, family dinners (we had ours while house sitting), picnics, as a main, as a side, even for your next barbecue.
- Thawed frozen cherries can be used although the texture will not be the same as fresh.
- Try focaccia bread, challah or even an olive bread in this recipe.
- It’s the perfect side to your grilled main.
- Have all ingredients ready to go so you can literally dump them all together and mix.
- We’ve used white vinegar to replace red wine. Balsamic is also delicious. Play around.
Summer salad recipes
Love salads in the summer, give these a try:
- Watermelon, Herb and Cucumber Salad
- Blueberry Caprese Salad
- Watermelon, Blueberry, Mint and Feta Salad
If you’ve tried our salad let us know what you thought in the comments!
- 1-2 cups loaf day old french bread sliced 1 inch thick
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup fresh cherries halved & pits removed
- 2 tbsp toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 package halloumi cheese, cut into slices, grilled and cut into smaller bite size pieces
- 1/4 fresh basil sliced thin or small leaves
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your grill to medium high.
- Cut your bread into 1 inch slices and drizzle with olive oil on both sides. Grill bread on both sides until grill marks or a little char occurs.
- Chop into bite size pieces. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl lightly toss cherries, tomatoes, halloumi cheese, grilled bread and dressing.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and pepitas. Serve immediately.