Home » Budget » Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad

Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad

by The Devil Wears Salad

Sweet juicy watermelon and zesty ruby grapefruit paired with warm olive oil toasted sourdough, this is our twist on the classic Panzanella salad that tastes fantastic at your next gathering.

Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad

What is Panzanella?

Originating from Tuscany, Panzanella is a popular Italian summer salad that combines a delicious mix of bread, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. What we understand is that panzanella, also known as Italian bread salad, was invented so that villagers could use up their stale bread and what a great idea it was!

Modern versions do incorporate a few more ingredients – all which match well with tomatoes such as peppers, basil, capers, anchovies and garlic.

How To Make The Perfect Panzanella?

There are two key players in a good panzanella – bread and tomatoes.

Important to use a rustic loaf of bread that is a couple of days old as you don’t want the bread to disintegrate into mush after dressing it. Fluffy white bread will not make the cut. Traditionally panzanella seeks Tuscan bread but otherwise try ciabatta or sourdough.

Most bread salad recipes will instruct you to leave the bread out to dry so it further hardens or alternatively give it a quick toast. This will help the bread to hold shape.

As for the tomatoes, use plump good quality tomatoes so that the juices can help soak up the stale bread. The bread will not have any flavour so good tomatoes will provide the sweetness. Giving the tomatoes a good salt will help too.

And finally there is a lot of writing about how long to soak the bread in dressing, juices or other liquids to add flavour. From overnight to 15 minutes, it can be confusing to know what is the perfect timing.

For me, I prefer less time before serving as the bread continues to soak in the juices as you eat and I don’t like soggy bread. So I would normally throw in the bread dry and then let it sit in the salad for 10-15 minutes to let the flavours and ingredients mingle together. Just test it out for yourself and see what works for your tastebuds.

Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad

What is Rye Bread?

For this recipe, I chose a rye sourdough loaf to create our toasty bread chunks. I’m a sucker for good bread. Seriously if my body shape allowed me to eat warm bread every meal, every day, I would.

I know it is not super popular but I do enjoy good rye bread. Preference goes to a combination of rye and wheat flour as it is lighter and less dense than pure rye bread like the German-style Pumpernickel.

Rye sourdough provides a bolder, earthy flavour than your usual white loaf. And when toasted, I feel there is a hint of deep caramel that exudes from the loaf. Totally delicious.

Rye is also considered to be more healthy as it is higher in fibre and packed with nutrients such as folate, iron, vitamin B, manganese and more. It is said to be more filling and does not affect sugar levels as much as white bread.

Since rye sourdough dates back to the middle ages, there must be something good going on!

Why I Love Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad

I’ve always enjoyed the classic panzanella salad. Being a big fan of tomatoes and basil, the delicious combination with crusty bread to soak up the dressing and natural juices really appeals. However, I also wanted to see if we can put our own refreshing twist but still make use of leftover bread.

I do still include cherry tomatoes in this recipe but the main feature is now watermelon in my version of panzanella. I love the sweet juicy flavours of watermelon in a salad. It adds a lovely fresh element. If you’re like us, we have quite a few salad recipes with watermelon salad recipe you might enjoy.

To balance the sweetness of the watermelon in the salad, I added ruby grapefruit. Compared to its yellow counterpart, ruby grapefruit is slightly sweeter and less acidic but still brings a lively tartness. And we have also done exactly that in our Roast Duck, Caramelised Grapefruit and Wombok Salad and Radicchio, Baby Gem, Orange and Ruby Grapefruit Salad.

With cucumber and mint delivering freshness and olive oil toasted sourdough for texture, our version of panzanella is deliciously summery but feeling hearty at the same time.

How to Make Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad

How To Prepare The Salad

First let’s start with the watermelon. Trim off rind and cut watermelon into 2-3 cm chunks. Set aside for assembly.

Cut red watermelon seedless

Using a sharp paring knife, slice the top and bottom of the ruby grapefruit to expose the flesh a little.

Place the ruby grapefruit cut side down. Slicing as close to the ruby grapefruit flesh as possible, cut along the curve of the fruit to remove a section of peel, exposing the fruit underneath. Continue cutting the ruby grapefruit until all peel is removed.

As ruby grapefruit is slightly larger than an orange, to make it easier I would cut the ruby grapefruit in half first before segmenting. Carefully cut long the membranes and slice the ruby grapefruit segments out.

Continue to rotate the ruby grapefruit until you have sliced all the segments. Once you have all the segments out, cut them into half or thirds depending on how big the segments are. You want bite sized fruit in the salad.

As I used baby cucumbers in my bread salad, I didn’t peel them. Give them a good wash and cut cucumber into approximately 1 cm rounds. Other types of cucumbers are fine too. For larger continental cucumbers, I would peel first and then cut into 1cm rounds. If they are larger rounds, further slice in half.

Wash mint leaves and roughly chop. Set aside for assembly.

How To Toast Sourdough Bread

I love the rustic toasted rye sourdough in this vegan bread salad. The slightly chewy texture mixed with the watermelon juices and dressing in this salad is delicious. You can however substitute rye sourdough for other types of bread.

This is a great recipe to make use of leftover bread so feel free to toast whatever you have in your pantry. Best to go with a more firm loaf versus soft white bread as it will not hold shape as well.

Cut 6 slices approximately 3 cm thick and cut them up into square chunks.

Heat up grill pan over medium-high heat.

Drizzle olive oil over bread and place on grill pan to toast. Toast for approximately 1-2 minutes, until golden brown on both sides. It may smoke a little so keep moving around to avoid toast burning. Remove from heat and set aside for assembly.

How to Make Garlic and Citrus Vinaigrette

Adding a little punch with crushed garlic, this is a versatile orange vinaigrette that can be kept in the fridge and used for other salads.

Add crushed garlic, lemon juice, orange juice and olive oil in a jar and shake to combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garlic makes an appearance in quite a few of our salad dressings including this Lemon Parsley Anchovy and Garlic Dressing. 

How to Assemble the Salad

In a large mixing bowl, place watermelon, ruby grapefruit, olive oil toasted rye sourdough, capers and half the chopped mint. Drizzle garlic and citrus vinaigrette over watermelon panzanella salad and toss together.

You want to make sure the dressing covers everything. The toast will continue to absorb the dressing and watermelon juices when you serve.

Zest ½ lemon over salad and scatter remaining chopped mint leaves. Serve immediately.

In the classic version, it is common to let the bread sit in the dressing and fully absorb the juices before serving. For me, I prefer to still have bites of crunch therefore I suggest serving immediately. And with watermelon there is far more juices that seep out as you let it stand so don’t wait too long. You can prepare this vegan bread salad ahead of time but only dress when ready to serve.

The olive oil toasted rye sourdough is a real treat against the sweet watermelon. Love the freshness but also hearty flavours. Great for any upcoming alfresco dining and entertaining with friends.

That’s all!


More Plant-Based Salad Recipes:


Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:


Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad


DON’T WANT TO MISS RECIPES? Click HERE to get them sent to your inbox.
Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.


Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Ruby Grapefruit, Watermelon Panzanella Salad

Sweet juicy watermelon and zesty ruby grapefruit paired with warm olive oil toasted sourdough, this is our twist on the classic Panzanella salad that tastes fantastic at your next gathering.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: International
Keyword: Budget, Easy, Spring Salad, Summer Salad
Dietary: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Plant Based, Vegan, Vegetarian
Food Group: Fruit, Herbs, Vegetables
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 311.98kcal
Author: Sammy Eng

Ingredients

Salad

  • ½ loaf sourdough bread
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg watermelon
  • 1 ruby grapefruit
  • 200 g cucumber
  • cup mint
  • ½ lemon, zest
  • 2 tbsp capers

Salad Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ orange, juiced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Instructions

Salad

  • Cut 6 slices of sourdough bread to approximately 3 cm thick and cut them up into square chunks. Heat up grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil over bread and place on grill pan to toast. Toast for approximately 1-2 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.
  • Trim off rind and cut watermelon into 2-3 cm chunks. Set aside for assembly.
  • Using a sharp paring knife, slice the top and bottom of the ruby grapefruit to expose the flesh a little.
  • Place the ruby grapefruit cut side down. Slicing as close to the ruby grapefruit flesh as possible, cut along the curve of the fruit to remove a section of peel, exposing the fruit underneath. Continue cutting the ruby grapefruit until all peel is removed.
    Carefully cut long the membranes and slice the ruby grapefruit segments out. Continue to rotate the ruby grapefruit until you have sliced all the segments. Once you have all the segments out, cut them into half or thirds depending on how big the segments are.
  • Wash and cut cucumber into approximately 1 cm rounds.
  • Wash mint leaves and roughly chop. Set aside for assembly.

Salad Dressing

  • Add crushed garlic, lemon juice, orange juice and olive oil in a jar and shake to combine well.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly

  • In a large mixing bowl, place watermelon, ruby grapefruit, olive oil toasted rye sourdough, capers and half the chopped mint.
  • Drizzle garlic and citrus vinaigrette over watermelon panzanella salad and toss together.
  • You want to make sure the dressing covers everything. The toast will continue to absorb the dressing and watermelon juices when you serve.
  • Zest ½ lemon over salad and scatter remaining chopped mint leaves.
  • Serve immediately.

Equipment

Grill Pan
Paring Knife
Garlic Press
Mixing Bowl

Notes

  • Any kind of rustic, firm bread would be suitable for this bread salad, it does not need to be rye sourdough. Bread that is a couple days old would be preferred as it will hold shape longer. Don’t use fluffy white bread as it will become too mushy in the salad.
  • You can substitute ruby grapefruit with yellow grapefruit or even oranges but the bread salad will be sweeter overall.
  • Continental or Lebanese cucumbers would be fine this recipe as well. For larger continental cucumbers, I would peel first and then cut into 1cm rounds. If they are larger rounds, further slice in half.

Nutrition

Calories: 311.98kcal | Carbohydrates: 65.63g | Protein: 9.95g | Fat: 3.63g | Saturated Fat: 0.63g | Sodium: 593.57mg | Potassium: 610.37mg | Fiber: 6.04g | Sugar: 24.51g | Vitamin A: 2409.05IU | Vitamin C: 72.64mg | Calcium: 95.38mg | Iron: 3.31mg
Tried this recipe? We'd Love To See It!Mention @thedevilwearssalad or tag #thedevilwearssalad!
14 comments

You may also like

14 comments

Avatar
Sue March 26, 2020 - 10:49 pm

5 stars
Wow – I absolutely love grapefruit, watermelon and cucumbers. Never would have occurred to me to combine them into a salad! I’ll be giving this a try for SURE.

Reply
The Devil Wears Salad
The Devil Wears Salad May 12, 2020 - 2:08 pm

Thanks so much Sue! We love all these ingredients individually too and together they are so yum!

Reply
Avatar
Meesha September 9, 2020 - 9:28 am

5 stars
This is a really refreshing and yummy salad !! Never thought of using watermelon is salads, but I must say it is a great addition!

Reply
The Devil Wears Salad
The Devil Wears Salad September 15, 2020 - 10:35 pm

This is one of those great summer salads. If you like watermelon in salads, you can also try our Yellow Watermelon Salad with Mint or Watermelon and Apple Salad with Tamari Lime Dressing.

Reply
Avatar
Linda September 9, 2020 - 10:04 am

5 stars
Panzanella salad is my kind of salad! Love the color and all the ingredients here. Plus, this is also a perfect salad on a hot day.

Reply
The Devil Wears Salad
The Devil Wears Salad September 15, 2020 - 10:35 pm

Yes! The watermelon and grapefruit is so refreshing on a warm and balmy day.

Reply
Avatar
Magali September 9, 2020 - 12:53 pm

5 stars
This reminds me of Italy. I loved eating this salad any day of the week. It looks so scrumptious!

Reply
The Devil Wears Salad
The Devil Wears Salad September 15, 2020 - 10:36 pm

It sure does! Panzanella all the way!

Reply
Avatar
Faith Still September 9, 2020 - 11:44 pm

What yumminess! We have a watermelon patch in the garden and I have been making sourdough bread. I might just have to try this!

Reply
The Devil Wears Salad
The Devil Wears Salad September 15, 2020 - 10:38 pm

This salad was made for you Faith! Very cool that you have a watermelon patch!

Reply
Avatar
Tera September 10, 2020 - 5:28 am

5 stars
Wow! This sounds so good! Not a salad I’ve had but I’ll be sure to try it sometime!

Reply
The Devil Wears Salad
The Devil Wears Salad September 15, 2020 - 10:39 pm

Thanks Tera! We do try and make salads that are a little bit different to mix it up a bit.

Reply
Avatar
Maren September 11, 2020 - 2:12 pm

5 stars
This salad was the perfect combination of crunchy and sweet! My family loved it!

Reply
The Devil Wears Salad
The Devil Wears Salad September 15, 2020 - 10:42 pm

Yes exactly! And a little citrus from the grapefruit too.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.