Grilled Panzanella Salad with Chicken Sausage: A grilled version of a classic panzanella salad, made heartier with the addition of sausage.
Salads make the perfect dinner summer. They are light and refreshing and showcase the plentiful bounties of fresh summer produce. Plus, they very rarely involve cooking in the kitchen–which is great to keep the heat out of the kitchen when warmer weather hits.
I truly could eat a hearty salad everyday in the summer. Actually, I probably do eat a hearty salad at least 3 times a week in the summer. My family LOVES Chicken Quesadilla Salad, Buffalo Chicken Salad, and I love to eat on Spinach and Lemon Quinoa Salad for lunches–it is the perfect thing to pack for picnics or trips to the pool.
The recipe I am featuring today, Grilled Panzanella Salad with Chicken Sausage, is by far one of my favorite recipes.
It is easy, versatile based on what you have in your fridge or garden, low fat, high protein, and utterly satisfying. Plus, my entire family devours this salad when it is placed on the dinner table and that just makes this Mom happy!
This dish comes together in less than 30 minutes and can easily be made with what you have on hand.
The only essentials are a hearty lettuce (like romaine or napa cabbage) that can stand up to being grilled, flavorful sausage (I use Chicken Sausage that is MSG free, nitrate free, and all natural), hearty bread, and veggies. I prefer to grill peppers, onions, and zucchini.
But my kids prefer ONLY peppers. So that is how I wrote the recipe, because when I am cooking at home, that is how I make the recipe. But feel free to throw some zucchini ribbon and onions on the grill and toss them into the salad as well–delicious!
Fire up that grill and get those ingredients seasoned with salt and pepper and let the flames bring the flavors of this salad to a whole new level of ridiculous!
Once the char has been given to the lovely array of ingredients you were working with, chop it all up to throw into some washed and dressed lettuce.
On a side note, I had an idea that I thought I was brilliant–that turned out to be NOT so smart. I took my lettuce and put it into my salad spinner to evenly coat my lettuce with my vinaigrette. You can stop laughing now. You are probably thinking, “Crazy, Lady there are holes in the spinner–the dressing will fly through it.” Yep, that is what happened. Tongs work–and clean hands work wonders for tossing salads as well.
So avoid the spinner and toss your grilled ingredients with the dressed lettuce and some Parmesan cheese and there you have it, a fabulous meal fit for company, carnivores, dieters, children, and I think it’s even good enough to serve the Queen.
Be sure to check out all my Easy Healthy 30 Minute Family Meals!
So onto the recipe: Remember I used what I had on hand. Don’t have any quality bread…what about pita chips or croutons? They work great to soak up a vinaigrette. Roast your peppers on the grill or open a jar of roasted peppers, or I don’t care–skip the peppers! Just use what you have and what you love. Use this recipe as a guide. But the vinaigrette, that is dynamite–you may not want to tweek it much.
Grilled Panzanella Salad with Chicken Sausage
- For the Viniagrette:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- For the salad:
- 10 ounces Chicken Sausages (I used a Feta and Spinach flavor)
- 1 cup sweet mini peppers
- 1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 8 oz whole grain baguette this is usually half a store bought loaf, cut into 1/2" slices
- 1 head of green leafy lettuce or romaine washed, dried
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving or omit for dairy-free
- Prepare the vinaigrette by blending all the ingredients together, until well combined and capers have been broken down. Set to the side.
- Preheat grill to medium. Throw sausage on grill. Slice lettuce in half, leaving the head of lettuce in tack. Season lettuce, peppers, and bread with a drizzle of of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place all veggies and slices of bread on grill. Close lid on grill and leave for 5 minutes. Flip veggies and bread and grill for another 3-4 minutes or until bread is toasted and veggies and sausages have nice grill marks evenly.
- Remove everything and dice up into small bite size chunks.
- Toss with tomatoes and vinaigrette.
- Grate fresh Parmesan over entire salad, Serve immediately or after 1 hour to allow bread to soften (I like it best right away!)