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Panzanella with Roast Beef and Feta

Panzanella with Roast Beef and Feta

Renée Robinson

A Bread and Tomato Salad with Cold Roast Beef Hit the Spot.

Slices of cold roast beef make for a surprising  addition to this dish. Whenever I make panzanella with tomatoes, I always use the basic amounts from Kenji Lopez’s recipe. It’s my favorite and uses a couple of techniques I think make for the best panzanella. 3/4 of a pound of bread and 2 1/2 pounds of tomatoes seems to be the winning ratio for that perfect balance of bread and tomatoes. 

The cut up tomatoes are placed in a colander which sits over a big bowl. The tomatoes are salted and left to let their juices drain into the bowl. Those juices are then mixed into the vinaigrette before being tossed with the other components of the salad.  You end up with a beautifully seasoned dressing that screams tomato flavor.

bread cubes and fresh tomatoes for panzanella

The other important technique is to dry out your bread in the oven – not to the point of browning it – only enough to crisp it up. This gives you the best of both worlds, as far as texture is concerned You get the crispy outside of the cubes of bread while the inside remains soft.

I feel free to play with the other ingredients. This time around I added a whole lot of extra minced shallots, one bunch of chopped scallions and crumbled a block of feta into the mix. All that was left to do was to very thinly slice the last of my roast beef, chop some parsley and sprinkle it all with nigella seeds. I had never considered adding roast beef to a tomato panzanella, but it really did hit the spot and the the bright flavors of the salad served to highlight the deep flavor of the beef. It worked!

Panzanella with Roast Beef and Feta

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Bread and Tomato Salad with Sliced Cold Roast Beef and Feta

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  • 2 1/2 pounds 2 1/2 (1.1kg) mixed ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 2 teaspoons 2 (8g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 3/4 pound 3/4 (340g) crusty ciabatta type or rustic sourdough bread, cut into 1 1/2–inch cubes (about 6 cups bread cubes)

  • 10 tablespoons 10 (150ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2 large 2 shallots, minced (1/3 cup)

  • 2 medium 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons 2 red wine vinegar

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1 bunch (6)scallions, roughly chopped

  • 4 ounces 4 feta cheese, roughly crumbled

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 flat leaf parsley, divided (1 tablespoon chopped and the rest of the leaves left whole)

  • 2 teaspoons 2 nigella seeds

  • 1/3 to 1/2 pound 1/3 to 1/2 pound very thinly sliced roast beef


  • Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Toss the cubes of bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place on a half sheet pan and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until they’re crisp, but not brown.
  • Place the cut up tomatoes in a colander and toss with 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Let drain for about a half hour, gently tossing them occasionally.
  • Remove the colander from the bowl and place it in the sink. To the bowl of tomato juices, add the shallots, garlic, mustard, vinegar, and plenty of black pepper. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Check for seasoning.
  • Add the bread, tomatoes, and scallions to the bowl and toss gently. Let sit for 30 minutes. Fold in the feta cheese and parsley leaves. Top with the sliced roast beef and sprinkle with nigella seeds and chopped parsley.


  • Recipe adapted from Classic Panzanella Salad by J. Kenji López-Alt.

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