Drunken Panzanella Salad

  • Drunken Panzanella Salad
  • Drunken Panzanella Salad
  • Drunken Panzanella Salad
  • Drunken Panzanella Salad
Ranked: 205th

Rated 4.72 out of 5 based on 9 votes


  • 2 cups day old crusty bread
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 x small cucumber
  • 2 cups assorted tomatoes (use a mix of colours to make it look interesting)
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 x red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tspn pernod anise
  • 1 x juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbls fennel seeds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper


Panzanella salad is a rustic Italian bread salad. It’s super easy to make but packed full of flavour thanks to the bread soaking up the dressing. I had a panzanella salad as a side in a restaurant recently but they’d added a distinct flavour that really lifted it a cut above the rest. Turns out it was a Pernod Anise dressing – a wicked French aniseed spirit from the makers of the most wicked spirit of them all, Absinthe.

This is my own version of that salad which I’ve kicked up a notch with toasted fennel seeds.

All up it should only take you about 15 minutes to throw this together but the flavour combination is a real winner that will make it seem like a much more complex dish than it actually is.

Step 1

Heat oven to 180 C

Tear up the day old bread and scatter in a baking tray. Mix olive oil, garlic, slat and pepper and drizzle over the bread and toss to cost. Pop it in oven for around 10 minutes to get crunchy but not too crispy – we’re not wanting to make croutons.

Step 2

Pop sliced red onion into a bowl of iced water – this takes away the bite that makes your eyes water.

Step 3

Toast the fennel seeds on a medium high dry pan until fragrant – about 5 minutes – then crush a little in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. You can also leave them whole if you prefer. Make your dressing by combining the Pernod, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fennel seeds and crushed garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4

Chop up tomatoes and cucumber and add to a salad bowl with the drained red onions and spinach leaves. Add the toasted bread (make sure it is not too hot or it will wilt the spinach but warm is OK).

Step 5

Toss with the dressing and let it sit for around 20 minutes to let the bread soak up the yummy dressing.


I add a little drizzle (only a tsp or so) or truffle oil to the oil mix I toast the bread in

Add free range chicken breast for a main meal serving (pictured is one I did with chicken)

There’s only a few tablespoons of Pernod however if you want your salad alcohol free just add an extra tsp or so of fennel seeds.

Add some buffalo mozzarella and olives.

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  • A beautifully coloured dish, and I am loving your individual style with it, hats off to the pernod anise twist!


    by Peta Warren on 25/10/2012, 09:23
    Peta Warren
    • Thanks Peta, nothing like a bit of booze to spice up a dish ;)


      by Sara Y on 03/02/2013, 18:03
      Sara Y
  • Yum – this looks delicious and perfect for a Sunday lunch! I will definitely be giving this one ago!


    by Megan OBrien on 28/10/2012, 09:48
    Megan OBrien
    • Thanks Megan, that;s pretty much exactly when I make it. Hope you love it!


      by Sara Y on 03/02/2013, 18:04
      Sara Y
  • This dish is lovely! :)


    by Sarah Lewis on 30/12/2012, 12:36
    Sarah Lewis
    • Thanks Sarah, loving your gorgeous photography and dishes by the way!


      by Sara Y on 03/02/2013, 18:04
      Sara Y