Words and images by Amber Bremner

This loose interpretation of panzanella (Italian bread salad) is my idea of spring on a plate, though I’d be delighted to eat it any time of year. Toasted cubes of sourdough are tossed with chunks of avocado, podded broad beans, spring onions, salad greens (I used pea tendrils from Kaimai Greens) and a white balsamic and caper vinaigrette. This salad is refreshingly light, bright and tangy, yet surprisingly substantial as a light meal or side dish.


4 thick slices of sourdough (or other good quality bread)

olive oil to spray or brush

1 avocado, peeled and chopped into chunks

2 cups broad beans (fresh or frozen)

2 handfuls salad greens (pea tendrils or baby rocket are ideal)

2 spring onions, thinly sliced


½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar (or substitute white wine vinegar, or lemon juice)

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp capers, finely chopped

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground white pepper

Slice or tear bread into roughly 2cm chunks. Spray or brush lightly with olive oil and pop into a 180°C oven for 10–15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare broad beans by blanching in boiling water for 1–2 minutes if fresh, or 3–4 minutes if frozen. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking, then pop them out of their tough outer skins. Compost the skins and reserve inner beans for the salad.

Shake vinaigrette ingredients together in a small jar, or blend using a stick blender (this will result in a thicker, creamier dressing). Taste and adjust seasoning to suit your preference. You might need a touch more sugar if using white wine vinegar or lemon juice.

In a large mixing bowl combine toasted bread, avocado chunks, broad beans, salad greens, spring onions and about half of the dressing. Toss to combine, then transfer to a salad bowl. Serve immediately, or leave the flavours to mingle for half hour. Serve extra dressing on the side for anyone who would like a little more.

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