Panzanella with Sausage

July 6, 2011


I am still deeply immersed in my 3+ year food magazine recipe compiling project. I mean, it will probably never end. It’s a strangely relaxing project. Thank goodness.


And it also has me discovering recipes that I cut out of magazines ages ago and then promptly forgot about. Whenever I go to my parents’ house, my mom gives me a stack of food magazines and instead of letting them pile up to the ceiling (which they have basically done before), I try to cut out the pages that I want to save right away. Occasionally there are a few Rachael Ray mags in the mix and I do count her magazine as being quite entertaining and filled with simple inspiration. And while working on my project the other day, I was attracted to this ultra summery recipe that I found amid the cut-outs.


If I had my way, I’d eat juicy red tomatoes and fresh aromatic basil all summer long. Plain. OK fine, maybe with some nice crusty bread. And/or mozzarella. And/or good olive oil and vinegar. But plain is totally perfect, too. My dad recently potted some basil for me and it’s been growing brilliantly. And non-stop. Heaven in a (super cute) pot!


So, how about a super refreshing, you don’t even have to turn the oven on (stove, maybe, but no oven) salad? That also involves some meat. And it very quick and easy. I promise. I definitely lightened R.R’s version up with lots more tomato and basil. Because that’s what summer is all about.

Panzanella with Sausage (serves 4-6):
Adapted from Rachael Ray mag
Print this recipe!

• 3 medium vine tomatoes, chopped
• 1/2 red onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 4-5 thick slices of Italian bread
• 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
• 2 T red wine vinegar
• 1/4 C parmesan, grated
• Small bunch fresh basil leaves, julienned
• 4 links of Italian sausage (spicy or sweet)



Chop the tomatoes to whatever size you like. I like to keep them a little bit bigger, but still bite-sized.


Combine the tomatoes, red onion, and garlic in a large bowl. As you can see, I kept my garlic pieces not so small either. This made for a SUPER garlic-y bite, which I love. You could always mince your garlic… Or use less. Or just make sure to brush your teeth and use mouthwash after you eat this. Especially if you have a date later 🙂


Mix the tomatoes, onion, and garlic up and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for about 15 minutes, so the flavors can marry each other. Here comes the bride…


While the flavors are marinating, you’ll want to toast up your bread. Brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil (using about 2 T of the olive oil).


Toast in grill pan (or on an actual grill… Or just in a regular old pan) over medium heat for about 2 minutes.


Flip the bread and cover the toasted side with half of the parmesan cheese. Let toast for another 2 minutes.


Remove from grill and let cool.


Now, pierce the sausage with a fork or knife and cook it over medium on your grill/grill pan/regular pan, too, until cooked through. I used spicy Italian sausage because I always use spicy when given a choice.


Add the vinegar and remaining 2 T olive oil to the tomato mixture. Stir in the basil, too. (P.S. this photo makes me so happy).


Cut the bread into cubes and slice the sausage and mix it into the salad, too.


Serve on plates or in bowls and top with the remaining parmesan.

The flavors are obviously all perfect together and I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the summer. While I enjoyed leftovers, you might not love that the bread gets soggy. I still liked it.


Eat outside, while enjoying the hot evening air and the setting sun. Because summer really is too fleeting and fresh tomatoes and basil plants on your windowsill won’t last forever. Sob.


But that’s OK because there’s something to be said for the freezing cold Boston winters, right? Right?? OK, we don’t have to think about that right now. But for the record, yes there is something to be said for cold Boston winters: sweet potato and pumpkin everything, thick and hearty chili, indulgent mac and cheese, winter veggie soups, and mugs filled with steaming tea or hot chocolate. Case closed.

For now, just enjoy this.


And then when winter comes, you can stare at the photos with your hands wrapped tightly around your hot cocoa.

But for now, enjoy! It was 90 degrees in Boston today and I’m intent on enjoying every single second of it 🙂


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37 Responses to "Panzanella with Sausage"

  1. Kerstin says:

    I love organizing so that looks like a fun project 🙂 Adding meat to a panzanella to make it a main dish is such a fabulous idea too!

  2. Erika K says:

    These flavors are perfect together, and I’ve been enjoying my rather rambunctious basil plant this summer. Need to find a great sausage my family likes and I can pull this all together. My tomatoes are lagging behind, but I won’t wait for them to try this.


    Cuisinart 12 cup food processor

  3. Erica says:

    Panzanella is one of my most favorite salads. I mean toasted chunks of bread in a salad? What could be better. Good luck on the project!!

  4. Joanne says:

    I have recently fallen in LOVE with panzanella! This looks absolutely delicious! I really need to start a food magazine organizing project also. They are taking over my apartment!

  5. Simply Life says:

    oh this looks fabulous!

  6. Cara says:

    This looks awesome! I love panzanella during summertime but never would have thought to add meat to it! I hear you on the recipe organizing, I was ripping apart magazines last night!

  7. The panzanella looks and sounds wonderful! Definitely a fantastic meal for the summer 🙂
    I think I try and organize my magazine recipes once a year… it’s so daunting most times!!

  8. Mal says:

    I’m with you, fresh summer tomatoes and basil are just amazing! This salad looks so incredible. I love anything that doesn’t require the oven to be on in the summer.

  9. Daisy says:

    what a unique summer meal! I love it!!

  10. Lexi says:

    I’d love to hear more about this project! I am doing the same thing. I’ve been pulling recipes from mags and then copying them onto recipe cards, for the box, but now my recipe card box is full and I need a new one! How are you organizing?

  11. Love this take on panzanella! I can taste the garlic now 🙂

  12. That looks really good! And, your version looks a lot better than the picture in the magazine.

  13. Great idea for a panzanella addition – it really is such a fun salad that needs more attention!

  14. Barbara says:

    A couple years ago when I had surgery, I went through my recipes files. What a terrible job!! But I sorted and saved. Of course, I haven’t looked at it since. 🙂
    We’re fond of panzanella here, but I’ve never added meat of any kind. This looks really delicious. (Why is is I always eat the bread first?)

  15. Ruth says:

    This looks fantastic – I love panzanella and I love sausages, so its perfect!

  16. Monique says:

    I love love love panzanella! that looks amazing!

    I save my mags too and then i end up tossing them – the horror!

  17. Kathryn says:

    I do the same thing with my garlic! I like to leave it in larger pieces and I generally add at least 1 extra clove to every recipe! The finished product looks super delicious- I’ve never actually made panzanella before.

  18. Shannon says:

    oh wow, that looks amazing!! and love not having to turn on the oven 🙂 grow basil grow!

  19. This is a great recipe for summer!

  20. megabrooke says:

    mmm sounds yummy!
    maybe you could do a post on how you’re organizing all your recipes?! i have tons too… and i’ve been keeping them on index cards- rewriting them!, and then putting them in a photo typle album. this works pretty well, but sometimes it’s nice to see the original recipe from the magazine too! how are you sorting yours out?

  21. CookiePie says:

    YUM – that salad looks fantastic! Love the basil pic! I’m growing some too — and it’s actually growing, even though I’m the worst gardener 🙂

  22. Jill says:

    I would LOVE a blog post on how you’re organizing your recipes!

  23. LOVE this beefed up panzanella- if i could only eat tomatoes and basil everyday i would be a happy girl

  24. YUM. i am totally ob-sessed with the tomatoes coming out of our garden right now. minus the sausage, i am ON this!

  25. Kelly says:

    I love the arts & crafts meets recipes feel of this. I will admit that I have a slightly different approach. I have a software program (macgourmet) that I transfer them all into. It’s not quite as cute and crafty but it makes things oh so accessible. It also has an iphone app. I may be a bit obsessed.

  26. Claudia says:

    I am doing this. I have tomatoes, basil and fresh mozz for lunch all summer long – because when the basil and tomatoes are gone – they’re gone for 9 months! Love adding the sausage and making this a dinner.

  27. Michelle says:

    I have recipe binders where I put recipes I’ve tried in clear coversheets and recipes I’ve clipped and want to try in folders. As we get ready for our move, I’ve been going through all of my cooking magazines and tearing out recipes. These binders are so full now! I can’t wait to use my new kitchen to try these recipes out!

  28. Holly says:

    Sues we are so much alike! I have a MOUNTAIN of recipes from magazines!! I love going to my Moms cause she does the same thing, she’s always giving me another pile of them : ) This Rachel Ray dish sounds really good!

  29. peachkins says:

    I guess I better start my own project huh? The Panzanella with sausage looks really fantastic!

  30. Sutapa says:

    I like both your bride and groom and they way you make the flavors marry and later when you mix the whole relationships into a super deliciousness …. a successful celebration!!

  31. Susan says:

    Panzanella is one salad I have never tried but I have always thought they look delicious – this one I’m sure my hubby would love with the sausage in it too. There is nothing than fresh basil either!

    I used to do the same thing as you with cut-out recipes but now I have a scanner that can create PDF files so I store them on my external hard drive.

  32. Organizing your magazine recipes sounds like such a good idea, and it’s something I really need to do because I have way too many magazines and have forgotten now what’s in each of them. It would be so much more useful to just take out the recipes I’m interested in making. This panzanella does look like a lovely summer meal- fresh tomatoes and basil make this irresistible to me! 🙂

  33. oriana says:

    I was missing this version and discovered your blog thatnks to thi meaty version. I collect different versions of Panzanella!

  34. So glad to see I’m not the only person with a magazine recipe organization project! Sausages on the grill is in regular rotation at our house during the summer. This recipe is just what I need to mix things up! Thanks for sharing.

  35. !!! As a kid, I used to cut recipes out of magazines and then glue them to index cards to make my own little recipe box. I couldn’t even cook yet for the most part or was just learning, but they were things I wanted to make in the future nonetheless. I’ve never seen anyone else do anything similar! <3

  36. Oh, and magazines are so much better for it now. I remember getting so frustrated when a recipe would continue on the back of a page so that I couldn’t cut it or glue it correctly. And the lack of pictures was often frustrating, too.

  37. Jane Rivera says:

    Every cook needs a recipe card box
    in their kitchen to hold their secret family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

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