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Spring Panzanella with Thyme Croutons

I see a huge change in the local landscapes recently blackened and charred by fire. Once scars, these burned patches now hold the brightest and greenest tufts. Nature is resilient and so is our community. Thus the whole idea of spring: rebirth, regrowing, renewing life. I first made this panzanella salad on my 22nd birthday with my best friends from college. Now this recipe has cycled back to me as my 28th birthday looms, and I’ve made amendments as a reflection of the changing I’ve done throughout the years.
Course: Salad
Keyword: croutons, spring, thyme
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Kala Riddle



  • 4 thick slices of Whole Wheat Levain from
  • Bread Itself
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
  • Juice from ½ meyer lemon
  • Zest from ½ Meyer lemon
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • 2 leeks white & light green parts
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 –4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Big pinch of sea salt
  • 2 handfuls of mixed spring greens
  • 1 cup of fresh sunflower or pea sprouts
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 handful sugar snap peas
  • 6 radishes
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste


  • To make the thyme croutons, preheat the oven to 40Cut the bread slices into cubes and, in a bowl, toss with the olive oil, fresh thyme, and sea salt. Spread into one layer on a sheet pan. Bake until the bread is golden and toasted, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly or completely before adding to the salad.
  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar. Seal and mix vigorously until creamy. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
  • To make the salad, first roast the leeks and fennel. Preheat the oven to 40Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, then into ½-inch pieces and place into a large bowl. Trim the fronds from the fennel and reserve. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise, remove the core and tough outer layers, then slice lengthwise.
  • Add to the bowl with the leeks. Drizzle with olive oil and season with thyme leaves and sea salt. Spread into one layer on a sheet pan and roast until caramelized, a total of 20-25 minutes with one flip midway. Allow to cool slightly or completely.
  • In a large bowl, add spring greens and sprouts. Toss the parsley leaves into the salad with the reserved fennel fronds. Slice the snap peas in half lengthwise and toss into the bowl. Trim and slice the radishes into wedges and add to the bowl.
  • Toss the thyme croutons and roasted vegetables into the large bowl of salad greens. Add the dressing and toss. Let the salad rest for about 15 minutes to allow the croutons to soften slightly and the flavors to marry. Divide into bowls or plates and sprinkle each with Celtic Sea Salt.