This steak panzanella salad is the perfect weeknight meal to celebrate the warmer weather. It’s fresh and vibrant, with super easy and delicious ingredients. To quote my husband “I can have this every week from now until the end of summer.”
This recipe is easy to prep ahead. The panzanella salad can be prepped days in advance, wait until you’re ready to serve before you add the bread croutons and warm flat iron steak.
What is a Panzanella Salad?
Panzanella salad originated from Italy – more specifically Tuscany. It was originally a salad that used stale bread, tomatoes and onions. Somewhere along the way cucumbers, with an olive oil and vinegar dressing, was tossed in. Today, you can find many more different varieties.
The freshness of the tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, tossed in a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing is ideal for the warmer weather. When you add in stale bread to soak it all up, how can you resist. It is irresistible.
What is a Reverse-Sear on a Steak?
When you do a reverse-sear steak, you roast it on a low temperature until it reaches your preferred internal temperature and then sear it over high heat to sear the outside. The searing of the steak provides the most incredible flavor and texture. This technique is perfect for warmer weather because you can sear on the grill for an extra char-flavor.
For a perfect medium steak the internal temperature should be 145F.
Steak Panzanella Salad – The Ingredients
- Flat Iron Steak or Flank Steak – whichever you can find. The both have a similar steak-meaty-flavor. Flat iron steaks are more tender than the flank steak.
- Cherry Tomatoes – these little bursts of sweet flavor are the heart of the salad.
- Red Onion/Purple Onion – I love these for the summer. Red or purple onions have more of a zingy tang flavor that gives the salad a light and fresh vibe.
- Cucumbers – I used Persian cucumbers because their skin is thinner, they have fewer seeds and can be less watery than a regular cucumber. You can also use a regular cucumber, feel free to peel the skin or chop them into bite size pieces.
- Olive Oil & Red Wine Vinegar – it provides the best acidity to offset the sweet tomatoes and the mild tender cucumbers. Whisked vigorously.
- Homemade Toasted Bread Croutons – I bought ciabatta bread from the grocery bakery and then untied the plastic bag and let it sit open-air for a day or two on the counter. Cut it up into bite-size cubes and then place it on a sheet pan and in the oven for a quick toast.
- Fresh Basil – everything is better with fresh herbs. A quick chiffonade is all you need.
- Maldon Salt – is a great finishing salt for meat, especially steaks.
Prep Ahead for Later
The salad: cherry tomatoes, purple onion, cucumbers and the olive oil and red wine vinegar can all be prepped 48 hours ahead of time. I even think the extra time created stronger flavors. Store in a food safe container, with a lid in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the complete the panzanella salad with the homemade croutons and reverse-seared steak.
You may even want to cube your bread and let it become day old stale bread cubes.
Panzanella Salad with a Reverse-Seared Steak
- 8 oz Flat Iron Steak I used 2 4oz steaks
- 10 oz Bakery Fresh Bread Ciabatta, Sourdough, Olive Oil, Baguette
- A drizzle of Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt divided
- 10 oz Cherry Tomatoes - sliced in half
- ½ Red/Purple Onion - thinly sliced
- 4 Persian Cucumbers - cut in about ¼ inch slices
- 4-6 Basil Leaves - chiffonade
- 3 TBSP Olive Oil
- 3 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 TBSP Butter
- Maldon Salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- On sheet pan lined with parchment paper lay your Flat Iron steak. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast in the over for 10-18 minutes, depending on how thick the steak is and your preferred doneness. For an internal temperature to be medium, it will need to be about 145F.
- While the steak cooks, cut up your bread into 1 inch bite size pieces and lay on another sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake at 350F (add it in the oven with your steak if you have room) for 10-12 minutes until toasted.
- In a large bowl add in the cherry tomatoes, red/purple onion, cucumber slices and toss.
- Chiffonade the basil and add to the bowl.
- In a bowl or jar, add in the olive oil and red wine vinegar and whisk vigorously.
- Add the croutons, the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.
- Reverse-sear the flat iron steak. In a preheated pan over high heat, add the butter and the steaks. Sear quickly for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the heat. You can use a cast iron pan, a non-stick pan or a stainless steel pan. If the steak sticks to the bottom wait to flip to remove from the pan. In a stainless steel pan, the steak will "release" on it's own when it browned, do not try to rip it off. You can also quickly sear on the grill, preheat the grill to a high heat and grill the steak on both sides to create grill marks.
- Slice the steak and serve on top of the salad. For a finishing touch, add a pinch of Maldon salt.
Groceries Are Expensive These Days – What to do with leftover ingredients
First, this salad is just as good the next day for lunch.
If you have leftover ingredients, another very similar salad idea is this easy cuke and tomato salad that I like to add feta cheese, olives and hummus to.
If you have leftover tomatoes you can also make a grilled steak with balsamic burst cherry tomatoes.
If you have left over basil and tomatoes, another great weeknight dinner would be this brown butter pesto pasta.