June 7, 2018

Ask A Chef: Panzanella Salad

Recipe: Brian Luptak

Chef Brian Luptak of The Acorn shares his recipe for Panzanella Salad.

Q: The panzanella salad at The Acorn in Vancouver was one of the most satisfying salads I’ve ever had. The bread was crispy yet chewy, the tomatoes, delicious, and a smoky flavor topped it all off. Can you get me the recipe? — Patricia, Kitchener, Ontario.

A: The salad chef Luptak serves in his restaurant is quite intricate, but he was kind enough to simplify the recipe for us, and it retains all the flavor and punch! The smoky element comes from the sunflower seed crumb — the seeds are toasted and seasoned with smoked paprika and chilis.


Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup fresh basil, including leaves and stems
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Sunflower Seed & Smoked Paprika Crumb

  • 3⁄4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1⁄4 tsp sugar
  • 1⁄8 tsp dried ground chili
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups focaccia bread, torn into 1″ pieces
  • 4 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1⁄4 cup Basil Vinaigrette
  • 5 cups mixed salad greens
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp Sunflower Seed & Smoked Paprika Crumb


Yield: Serves 4

  1. In blender, combine all vinaigrette ingredients except for salt and pepper.
  2. Purée for 30 seconds or until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat frying pan over medium heat. To make crumb, add sunflower seeds and toast, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. In food processor, combine remaining crumb ingredients and pulse to crumb consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium- high heat. Add torn bread and toast, stirring often to keep from burning. Cook until golden.
  6. Add tomato wedges and cook for 10 seconds. Add vinaigrette and salad greens. Toss until combined and quickly remove pan from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place salad in serving dish and sprinkle with sunflower seed crumb.

Shira Blustein


House & Home May 2018

Tags: Ask A Chef