The goodness of ripe mangoes, tomatoes, crisp garlic bread, crunch of pumpkin & melon seeds, with protein coming from wheatgerm and fresh peas, with a fragrant Olive oil – Basil vinaigrette. Sounds yum, right!

My first tryst with Mango Panzanella Salad happened during one of our holidaying times at Goa, a vibrant coastal town in India that is now the chosen holiday destination for people from different countries. Over the years, in an effort to accommodate and sate the taste buds of people from different nationalities, Goa has evolved into a food capital in its own right, with cuisines from various continents finding their place on the menus of sometimes even the most humble sea-side shacks. Depending on where you are and what you order, each meal experience could prove to a unique play on your taste buds – a quality I’ve come to love about Goa, in addition to its multitude of gorgeous beaches.

Although we all know that salads are a great way to match your macronutrients and micronutrients requirements for the day, and ensure you are eating clean, salads do not have to be boring! This mango-full twist on the classic Italian Panzanella Salad taught me just that! Plus, it has mangoes, which – let’s face it – is one of the rare blessings Summer brings along to the humid, coastal town I live in 😝

While the ingredients might seem a little bizarre to you at the onset, the olive oil – basil vinaigrette does a great job of tying the ingredients together into a yummilicious meal that hardly feels like a salad which is light as well as balanced nutrition-wise. What is more, the recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free as well, if that’s what you are looking for.
What’s keeping us then – let’s get started!

RECIPE – MANGO PANZANELLA SALAD
(loosely adapted from the recipe by Veggies&Me)
Preparation time – 25 minutes
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
 2 slices of whole-wheat, sandwich/ sourdough bread
 2 cups fresh mangoes, cubed
 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
 1 cup fresh peas, shelled (can be used with pods if tender)
 2-3 ripe tomatoes
 1 cup amaranth leaves (can use spinach or any greens available)
 1.5 tbsp melon seeds
 1.5 tbsp pumpkin seeds
 4 tbsp wheatgerm flakes

FOR DRESSING
 1/2 tbsp olive oil
 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 1 tbsp white/ red wine vinegar
 ½ tsp dried mixed Italian herbs
 Few sprigs of fresh basil leaves, chopped (can be substituted with 1 tbsp of dried basil leaves)
 Salt and Pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven at 200°C.

Tear the bread into smaller pieces. Coat a baking tray with olive oil ever so lightly. Spread out the bread pieces on the tray. Sprinkle the minced garlic, half of the dried Italian herbs on them.

Toss and bake the bread pieces for 10 minutes at 200°C. The bread pieces should be crisp and golden when done. Remove and set aside to cool.

Heat a pan on stove and dry roast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a few minutes, stirring continuously. Take care to not burn them, as that’ll render a bitter taste, along with destroying their micronutrient content. Set aside to cool.

Heat some water in a bowl till it boils. Add peas (shelled or whole) and amaranth leaves and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with cold water. Now add few drops of olive oil to a frypan and sauté them for a minute. Turn the flame off and allow to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for dressing.

Add cubed mangoes and tomatoes, along with all other ingredients except dressing in a salad bowl. Pour dressing and toss well. Sprinkle wheatgerm flakes on top.

Eat immediately, before the bread loses its crisp or turns soggy.

I’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you, if you tried it. Do post a pic on Instagram and tag #fitfoodiediary in the picture!

NOTES
• You could add lettuce/ spinach greens/ greens of your choice to this recipe.
• I like to add some pesto to the dressing to enhance the basil flavor.

NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving)*
Energy 389 calories
Protein 19 g
Fat 16.6 g
Carbohydrates 41 g
Of which, Fiber 10 g
*Recipe is for 2 servings; all values in grams.