Watermelon, cucumber, and heirloom tomatoes are tossed with a lemony vinaigrette, toasted cornbread cubes, and arugula to make a hearty summer panzanella.
summer panzanella with watermelon, pesto cornbread, and feta

I ate salad for lunch EVERY DAY LAST WEEK.

And no one even gave me a crown or cookie or cash reward or anything.

What’s that about?


In fact, the.boy even had the audacity to question the fact that I was pondering having a second brownie yesterday.

The last time I checked, (a) it was Sunday a.k.a the weekend a.k.a calories-don’t-count-day and (b) there is no law against thinking about excessive brownie consumption (though NYC’s former Mayor Bloomberg probably tried to pass one).

And doesn’t he realize what a picture of salad-a-day perfection I was last week?

Phooey on him.


I know I kind of like to play the martyr, but between us, though?

The whole salad a day thing was pretty not hard.

Like, at all.


Did I mention that there were croutons?


And watermelon and feta and croutons and the cutest baby heirloom tomatoes you ever did see?

And a subtly spicy lemon aleppo pepper dressing and balsamic syrup glaze?

And more croutons?


I am honestly not really much of a crouton junkie, but pesto+cornbread crunch+beer bread has certain powers of persuasion that other carb varietals just don’t have.

And yes, I understand that it takes a certain kind of crazy to make a loaf of bread solely to let it get semi-stale and toasty so that it can soak up dressing/tomato/watermelon juices better.

Crazy, but worth it.


You guys.


So, salad-a-day! FTW!

Though I still won’t say no to a cookie reward at the end of the week.

Hint hint.

Summer Panzanella with Watermelon, Pesto Cornbread, and Feta
Watermelon, cucumber, and heirloom tomatoes are tossed with a lemony vinaigrette, toasted cornbread cubes, and arugula to make a hearty summer panzanella.
Yield: 6 servings
For the cornbread
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2½ tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 12 oz beer
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • ½ cup unsalted melted butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
For the salad
  • 1 loaf pesto cornbread (or any cornbread!), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 lb baby heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 1½ lb seedless watermelon, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 6 oz feta, crumbled
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp aleppo pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • balsamic glaze, to drizzle
  1. For the cornbread, heat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the beer, pesto, and ¼ cup melted butter. Stir to combine, until the dough just comes together. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.
  3. Pour the remaining butter over the dough and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  4. Raise the oven temperature to 400. Cut the loaf into cubes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until toasted. Let cool while you prepare the salad.
  5. In a large bowl, toss together the cucumber, heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, and feta.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, aleppo pepper, olive oil, and salt, to taste.
  7. Toss the fruit and veggie mix with the dressing, bread cubes, and arugula. Serve immediately, drizzled with balsamic glaze.
An Eats Well With Others Original
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl

For more summer panzanella recipes, check out these:

cornbread and black bean panzanella

Cornbread and Black Bean Panzanella

Southern Fattoush Salad

Southern Fattoush Salad

kale salad with peaches, corn, and honey-basil vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Peaches, Corn and Honey-Basil Vinaigrette

From Around the Web:

Chickpea, Spring Onion and Tuscan Kale Salad from The First Mess

California Dreamin’ Panzanella from Bittersweet Blog

Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Panzanella from Kitchen Joy

Cherry Kale Panzanella from Jelly Toast

Roasted Ratatouille Panzanella from The Veg Life


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49 Responses to Summer Panzanella with Watermelon, Pesto Cornbread, and Feta

  1. Sune Moolman says:

    I’m so loving the theory that Sundays are calories-don’t-count-day! I had like three ham and feta muffins yesterday with some major butter action going on … phew!
    This salad looks so pretty – I’m thinking that balsamic glaze just brought all the flavours together nicely.

  2. Nice! I hope you get a copy of Salad Samurai because those salads are all pieces of gastronomic art.

  3. If I could eat THIS salad every day I’d be very happy! And you do deserve a reward, a second brownie is just the start.

  4. Love watermelon and feta! Awesome looking salad with some of my favorite summer flavors and ingredients.

  5. Way to go on your salad challenge!! You rock. Cheers to many more amazeballs creations! I’m trying this one. Stat!

  6. Julia says:

    PESTO cornbread?! Fabulous! Many kudos on your salad-a-day week! If it’s any consolation, I feel like a cash reward/pat on the back/cookie is well deserved 🙂

  7. I had two birthdays to celebrate over the last few days + one of them was on Sunday. So, that means that calories double don’t count, right? Almost like negative calories? Yes. My thoughts exactly, so I’m glad I had cake for breakfast AND as a bedtime snack. This salad sounds so good. I’m a little offended that you disrespected my BFF, croutons, by saying you’re normally just not that into them. I’ll only forgive you if you make a me a bowl of this salad. Extra balsamic drizzle, please.

  8. Panzanella salads are so classic! I’m making one tonight with roasted turkey and I may throw in some pesto, now that I saw this!!

  9. I love that you added watermelon in here. . brilliant!

  10. Sues says:

    Pesto cornbread?! This is most definitely the best panzanella EVER.

  11. My favorite! Love a good panzanella in the summer time.

  12. Panzanella salad is my favourite of all salads because it has BREAD. Well, I am carb. addictive.

  13. THIS is heaven in a bowl! I love your spin on one of my favorite summer salads.

  14. Roz says:

    Is this just crazy? I just made panzanella and posted it on Saturday! I just love panzanella! Your croutons sound amazing!!!

  15. You definitely deserve a reward for a salad a day -ALL of last week – but if I had to eat this salad EVERYDAY, i won’t be complaining! 🙂

  16. Heather says:

    I’m usually not super adventurous when it comes to salads, but this sounds too good not to try… plus anytime homemade croutons are involved – I’m there.

  17. You had me at pesto cornbread! Summer isn’t complete without panzanella and I’m totally digging this version!

  18. what a gorgeous salad! i love it!!

  19. I need to do a salad a day week! This sounds like summer on a plate 🙂

  20. Absolutely gorgeous, I would gobble this up!

  21. Pesto cornbread is a thing? How did I not know this!

  22. Kate says:

    Eating delicious salads every day is kind of reward in itself!

  23. Oh gosh I had SO many salads this week too! I really do need a reward. This panzanella looks amazing and uh HELLO croutons? Always.

  24. Jessie says:

    There’s something about panzanella that’s just so amazing, and I love what you’ve done with this one! Those cornbread croutons look delicious – I would be having salad every day for a month if I had a lot of those!!

  25. Megan says:

    I could definitely eat a salad a day if they were all as interesting as this one!

  26. Totally feeling this pesto cornbread! Would be a perfect match with just about anything! 😉

  27. Sarah says:

    This looks delicious! Also, the entire weekend should be no-calorie-counting days 🙂

  28. Eileen says:

    A salad a day sounds like heaven to me. So perfect, especially for hot summer days. And speaking of things that are perfect for hot summer days, this salad sounds wonderful! Watermelon for the win!

  29. cheri says:

    What a unique salad Joanne, looks wonderful, love this combination.

  30. LOVE the pesto cornbread, that is a great idea 😀
    Delicious looking salad!

    Choc Chip Uru

  31. Its not the same with cornbread, but nevertheless we are willing to try it! Sounds delish! 🙂

  32. Hotly Spiced says:

    Good on you for eating salad every day for a week. I would have given you a medal. I love the look of your croutons xx

  33. I’m thinking I need to hop on board this salad-a-day thing. I am seriously salivating over this gorgeous salad right now. Those cornbread croutons….I can’t even….
    And obviously watermelon + feta = I die.
    Pinned! 🙂

  34. Monica says:

    Oh, this will easily bring out my inner crouton-junkie easy! Looks like a wonderful combination…no wonder it wasn’t too much of a hardship having all those salads for lunch.

  35. Reeni says:

    Those croutons would have me eating salads for every meal! They sound amazeballs! So does the dressing! You definitely deserve an extra brownie! And a cookie too. 😉

  36. Joyti says:

    These cornbread croutons do look like the best ever. Like so good. And I love the Sunday-calories-don’t-count – that’ll be cake day around here then 🙂

  37. Kinsey says:

    I love every part of this salad! From the cornbread croutons to the balsamic drizzle and Aleppo pepper dressing (say what?!) along with feta, the most perfect salad cheese ever. This is such an amazing lunch dish!

  38. Lynna says:

    This looks awesome! I haven`t had a salad in so longggg. This recipe would make a great salad comeback for me!

  39. Kelly says:

    Yay, way to go on the salad a day,Joanne! I love salads and definitely have one a day because that totally means I can save room for cookies, cake and brownies 🙂 So I definitely think you deserve that second brownie 🙂 This salad is definitely one that I would look forward to having everyday, it looks fantastic!

  40. Shannon says:

    this sounds absolutely amazing. I want it. for lunch today, can you make that happen? 🙂

  41. If I order a salad out, I always tell them to leave off the croutons but your pesto cornbread croutons sound terrific with your salad.

  42. Isadora says:

    There are so many wonderful amazing things going on in this salad!! But, really you had me at pesto cornbread! You come up with such creative recipes and this one is no different! I want a huge bowl if this right now 🙂

  43. I know that I could eat this salad everyday. It looks delicious.

  44. I LOVE the idea of a cornbread crouton! That sounds so good! The tomatoes are gorgeous. They’ve been so good this year.

  45. Oh no, I’m such a crouton junkie. Croutons are the only reason I eat salad, I think. I know that sounds bad, but how can you resist croutons? Especially cornbread pesto croutons! Yum!

  46. Lynn says:

    I’m a salad girl – I have one every day, too – with whatever is around. I love the thought of putting the cornbread croutons in – looks so good!

  47. Johanna GGG says:

    it looks amazing – I could eat this sort of salad every day – if only more salads were like this

  48. I’ve been on a big salad-for-lunch kick lately, too, and this one looks fabulous!

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