Rustic Winter Panzanella Salad with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette |

Rustic Winter Panzanella Salad with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette

This post was originally published here on February 3, 2020. I’ve since adjusted the recipe instructions slightly. And I’ve updated the text and photographs to reflect those changes.

I often find myself getting into a salad rut this time of year. Because a lot of my usual salad staples, like tomatoes and berries, just aren’t that appealing in the Winter. So I end up dumping roasted squash or sweet potatoes onto pretty much every salad that I make. And frankly, it’s getting old.

But I’m trying to look beyond the orange starches and make more of an effort to incorporate other seasonal vegetables into my salad routine. And this Rustic Winter Panzanella Salad with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette is helping me do that.

And just look at how colorful and vibrant this salad turned out! It’s a sure-fire Winter pick-me-up!

Rustic Winter Panzanella Salad with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette |

One of the main components of a panzanella salad is the bread. Panzanella salad is not just a few stale croutons scattered on top to finish. Rather, a significant portion of the salad is the bread. So making your own croutons from a decent loaf of Italian or French bread is part of the deal here. Please don’t just buy a bag of croutons from the grocery store and toss them in. It won’t be the same. This is one instance where using a homemade version makes a HUGE difference in the overall quality of the final dish.

But once you’ve got your croutons squared away, the rest of the salad is a total breeze. A little slicing and chopping of some seasonal fruits and vegetables, including radicchio, golden beets, fennel and oranges. And a quick whisk of a few ingredients to make a zippy orange and ginger-flavored vinaigrette. That’s it!

I prefer golden beets for this salad because they have a more mild, mellow flavor when raw (and they are so sunny and happy!). But if you can only find red beets, those will work just fine. Radicchio is a bitter lettuce, so I do like to balance it out with a couple handfuls of tender green leaf or butter lettuce.



Rustic Winter Panzanella Salad with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette

Rustic Winter Panzanella Salad with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette

At a Glance:
Yield: Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


For the Croutons:

  • 4 cups cubed bread
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used a combination of parsley, thyme and rosemary)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salad:

  • 1 head radicchio, leaves torn (about 4-5 cups)
  • 2 small-medium golden beets, trimmed, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • About 2 cups torn green leaf or butter lettuce
  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented


  1. Make the croutons. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil. Then add the Parmesan cheese, herbs and black pepper and toss to coat. Spread the bread out onto a large rimmed baking sheet and bake in your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. Remove and set aside.
  2. Make the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, honey, orange zest, ginger, salt and black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Assemble the salad. Add the croutons, radicchio, beets and fennel to a large bowl. Drizzle in some of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Then fold in the green leaf/butter lettuce and oranges. 
  4. Transfer to serving plates and drizzle with additional dressing, if desired. 

2 comments on “Rustic Winter Panzanella Salad with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette”

  1. thank you, I’ve about run out of patience with my go to salads, or am just kinda tired of them, so appreciate this refreshing salad recipe, especially the orange vinaigrette

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