I saw a picture in a magazine of traditional panzanella the other day and it triggered such a strong craving for the bready salad. I pinned a bunch of panzanella recipes on Pinterest, but I wasn’t 100% sold on any of the varieties I came across. I found a breakfast panzanella that looked great, so I decided to create a new recipe with the basics of that one in mind. I used whole wheat ciabatta bread, asparagus, poached eggs, and basil as my star ingredients. Both the asparagus and basil are very “springy” ingredients to me, because both become widely available and inexpensive this time of year. I also planted basil in our herb garden a few weeks ago and I’ve been putting it on everything lately. I was extremely happy with how this panzanella turned out. It looks impressive, but it’s actually not incredibly difficult or time consuming. The crusty bread soaks up the broth and creamy egg yolk and becomes just a tad bit soft. Nutritionally, the whole wheat bread provides carbohydrates to energize your body, the egg provides protein, and the asparagus provides a TON of nutrients (like Vitamins A, C, E, and K; and fiber) that are essential to our bodies. Asparagus is also a rich source of glutathione (which can help fight cancer), folate (which can help fight against cognitive decline), and the amino acid asparagine (which acts as a natural diuretic). TONE IT UP GIRLS- this makes a great Meal 1 (breakfast) or Meal 3 (lunch) because “bready” foods should be eaten early in the day if you are following the TIU Nutrition Plan.
NOTE: A serving size is half and the bread/asparagus/broth mixture and one poached egg. For Kevin, I served two poached eggs- so if you want the meal to be even more filling, feel free to add an extra egg. Nutrition information was difficult to find for the ciabatta, so use the nutrition information below as a rough estimate.
NOTE 2: Poached eggs can be a little tricky. My first one came out looking like a mess, so don’t be discouraged if yours doesn’t look fantastic initially. I found it takes a little bit of practice!
Active Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes
½ whole wheat ciabatta demi loaf (or similar bread), cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3 cups bread cubes)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ bunch asparagus
½ cup veggie broth
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Place your ciabatta cubes in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Fill a pot with water and allow to boil.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for thirty seconds. Cut the woody ends off of the asparagus and discard. Chop the rest of the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and add to the pan with the garlic. Sauté until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the veggie broth and salt to the pan. Off the heat and cover to keep warm while you poach the eggs.
Once your water is boiling, crack one egg into a small ramekin. Very gently, lower the ramekin down to the water and pour in the egg. Allow egg to poach in the water for about one minute before removing from pot with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the second egg.
Add the asparagus/broth mixture to the mixing bowl with the bread cubes. Add salt and pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and green onions. Toss to combine. Divide mixture between two bowls or plates. Top each serving with one poached egg and one tablespoon fresh basil. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories: 294 Fat: 13g Carbs: 33g Protein: 14g Sodium: 436mg Sugar: 2g
*Nutrition information is based on the products I used personally in this recipe. Different products may yield slightly different information.