Kid-friendly Peachy “Panzanella” Bread Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette + Blended Basil Peachade Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Peachy "Panzanella" Bread Summertime Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette + Blended Basil Peachade

Family Meal Plan: Peachy “Panzanella” Bread Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette + Blended Basil Peachade

Peachy "Panzanella" Bread Summertime Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette + Blended Basil Peachade

by Erin Fletter
Photo by beton studio/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Peachy "Panzanella" Bread Summertime Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette

Panzanella (pronounced PAHN-tsah-nehl-lah) was originally a Tuscan salad recipe invented to use stale, day-old bread. The word "panzanella" is possibly a blend of two Italian words, "pane," meaning "bread," and "zanella," the name for a deep serving plate. A 16th-century artist and poet described and praised it. Back then, they made bread in communal ovens, so people would have to make the most of the bread they baked for the entire week. They soaked stale bread in water and vinegar and then mixed it with whatever fresh vegetables and tomatoes were available in the garden. Until the 20th century, panzanella was a salad based on onions, not tomatoes. Less traditional ingredients include anchovies, lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white or red wine, celery, carrots, mint, boiled eggs, and capers. Peaches are certainly not customary, but we're using them because they are SO good with summer tomatoes, and we want you to eat well, or as they say in Italian, "Mangia bene!"

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 2 C mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 large ripe peaches
  • 2 to 4 lemons
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 large baguette **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar/honey/agave
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 C cold water
  • ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • dice :

    to cut foods into small pieces of equal size so that the food is cooked evenly or looks uniform and pleasant when used in the recipe.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • tear :

    to pull or rip apart a food, like basil leaves, into pieces instead of cutting with a knife; cutting breaks cell walls more, so herbs can discolor faster.

  • toast :

    to brown and crisp food in a heated skillet or oven, or in a toaster.

  • toss :

    to lightly lift and drop food items together or coat food items with flour, or a sauce or dressing, as in a salad.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Large mixing bowl (2)
  • Colander
  • Measuring spoons
  • Skillet


Peachy "Panzanella" Bread Summertime Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette

  • 2 C mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar/honey/agave
  • 1/2 large baguette **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free white bread)**
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 ripe peaches
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese)**

Blended Basil Peachade

  • 1 large ripe peach
  • 2 large basil leaves
  • 2 to 4 lemons
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 C cold water
  • ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Peachy "Panzanella" Bread Summertime Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free white bread for baguette.
  • Dairy: Omit mozzarella cheese or substitute dairy-free/nut-free cheese.


Peachy "Panzanella" Bread Summertime Salad + Bellissima Basil Vinaigrette

slice + sprinkle + drain

Slice 2 cups of cherry tomatoes in halves. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, then put tomatoes in a colander set over a large mixing bowl. Make the vinaigrette while you let the tomatoes drain for about 30 minutes, then discard the juices.

tear + whisk + toss

Tear 1 handful of basil leaves into small bits and whisk them together with 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup oil, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Add this to a mixing bowl to toss with the salad ingredients.

tear + toss + smash + toast

Tear 1/2 of a large baguette into roughly 1-inch pieces and add them to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and pinches of salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat the bread with oil. Next, smash and peel 2 garlic cloves. Toast the bread cubes and the smashed garlic in a dry skillet over medium heat. Once toasted, set aside the bread to cool and discard the garlic.

dice + chop + toss

Dice 2 peaches into small pieces. Next, chop 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese. Add the basil, peaches, and tomatoes to the bowl with the vinaigrette dressing and toss. Add the cheese and bread and toss gently again, then eat! Buon appetito!

Blended Basil Peachade

dice + tear + squeeze

Dice 1 peach into small pieces. Tear 2 basil leaves and add them to a blender with the diced peach. Squeeze the juice from 2 to 4 lemons into the blender.

measure + add + blend

Measure and add 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups of cold water to your blender! Blend on high until smooth. Then pour over cups and add ice to chill. Garnish with basil leaves and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Peach!

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Photo by Elena Sherengovskaya/

Hi! I'm Peach!

"Did you know I'm related to almonds, apricots, cherries, and plums? We're all part of the Rose family! You may know my cousin, Nectarine, who has smooth skin compared to my fuzzy skin. We're both juicy and delicious summer fruits that are wonderful to eat whole or sliced and added to fruit salads and ice cream! 

History & Etymology

  • Archeological evidence points to the peach's domestication in China as early as 6000 BCE.
  • In China, peaches are considered a symbol of good luck, protection, longevity, and friendship and are found in many Chinese paintings, poetry, and on porcelain as far back as 551 BCE.
  • China is the biggest producer of peaches worldwide, and Italy is the second largest.
  • Columbus brought several peach trees to America on his second and third voyages.
  • Spanish monks established the first peach orchard in Florida in the mid-1500s.
  • Georgia, also known as the Peach State, has many peach orchards, although California produces about 50 percent of all peaches in the USA.
  • Georgia claims it makes the "world's largest peach cobbler" at the annual Georgia Peach Festival. It measures 11 feet by 5 feet and uses 75 gallons of Georgia peaches. 
  • The Guinness World Record for the largest fruit cobbler is a 2,251-pound peach cobbler made by Hampton Inn of Ruston, Louisiana, for the Louisiana Peach Festival in 2015. It used 819 gallons of peaches!
  • The peach is the official state fruit of both Georgia and South Carolina.
  • The word "peach" comes from late Middle English, from the Old French "pesche," from the medieval Latin "persica," from the Latin "persicum." These European derivations came from the belief that peaches originated in Persia (modern-day Iran). In fact, the scientific name for peach, "Prunus persica," means "Persian plum."


  • The peach is a member of the Rosaceae family and a close relative of almonds.
  • Peaches are stone fruit related to apricots, cherries, and plums. They have soft, fuzzy, pinkish-yellow skin, and their flesh can vary from almost white-yellow to almost red. Each peach has a pointed, furrowed, egg-shaped seed in the middle, which either comes away easily (freestone) or is difficult to remove (clingstone).
  • A nectarine is a variety of peach that has smooth skin. Its skin is usually redder, and its flesh can be either white or yellow. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • It is an ideal snack between meals—eating a peach can give you the feeling of being full, so you will eat less, which is great for losing weight. An average peach contains about 35 to 50 calories and an insignificant amount of fat.
  • Peaches are best from June to the end of August.
  • A ripe peach will smell sweet and have a slight give when pressed, but squeeze very gently since the fruit bruises easily. It should be dark yellow with no green and have a round shape.
  • If a peach is not ripe when bought from the store, it will ripen at home if you leave it on a counter at room temperature. Refrigerate peaches to slow their ripening. 
  • Peaches are a great snack fruit to eat whole, but you can also add sliced or cubed fresh peaches to hot or cold cereal, fruit salads, cakes, pies, cobblers, and ice cream. You might even try cutting them in half and grilling them.


  • Peaches are a moderate source of vitamin C, which helps your body heal and boosts immunity against disease. They also provide small quantities of vitamin E, niacin, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. 
  • Potassium helps maintain proper fluid levels inside cells, which helps maintain blood pressure. It also aids proper muscle function.
  • Yellow-fleshed peaches also supply some beta-carotene that converts to vitamin A in the body, which is good for eye health.
  • The dietary fiber in peaches aids digestion, and antioxidants help to protect cells by preventing oxidation.


What is Panzanella?

Photo by marco mayer/
  • Panzanella (PAHN-tsah-nehl-lah) is a bread salad from the Tuscany region of Italy. It is made of stale or toasted bread, onions, and tomatoes. It may also include basil and cucumbers.
  • The name "panzanella" includes part of the Italian word for "bread" in it: "pane" (PAHN-ay), and it is thought to be a combination of "pane" and "zanella," which could be a small bowl or basket. 
  • The salad has a long history in central Italy, at least 500 years, using stale or dried-out bread that was soaked in water and then added to onions, cucumbers, basil, and tomato, with an olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

That's Berry Funny

What is a seagull's favorite herb? 


The Yolk's On You

What did the butter say to the bread? 

"I'm on a roll!'

THYME for a Laugh

Did you hear the joke about the peach? 

It's pit-iful!

The Yolk's On You

"Knock, knock!

"Who’s there? 


"Noah who? 

"Noah herb named Basil?

THYME for a Laugh

How do you make a peach into a vegetable? 

You step on it and make it squash!

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