This colorful dish is called a “panade” — a savory bread pudding, the perfect use for leftovers like stale bread and wilting vegetables.
I’ll admit it, this is not the prettiest dish around.
Sure, it’s got a lot of color, but it is a big soupy mess.
What exactly is this smorgasbord of gooey, chunky food, you ask? It’s called a “panade,” and it’s basically a savory bread pudding.
This European dish features bread cooked in some sort of liquid until it achieves a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Everything else about the dish is really up to you.
Traditionally, it’s made with ground meat, but I used white beans instead — then pretty much raided the fridge looking for any vegetable that was on its way out.
That’s the best thing about panade is that it’s a perfect pantry cleanser.
Stale bread? Throw it in the panade.
Wilted vegetables? Toss them in that panade.
Cupboard overflowing with cans of beans? Get those babies into your panade! (or give them to a homeless shelter, obvi)
Nothing goes to waste with this hearty recipe.
Ok, now that I’ve probably grossed you out talking about the garbage disposal properties of a panade, let me tell you about the taste.
The bright, acidic notes of the simmering tomatoes add a burst of flavor to the otherwise milder characteristics of the bread and starchy vegetables. Combine that with a generous helping of ooey, gooey cheese interspersed throughout the chewy layers, and you’ve got yourself a seriously scrumptious meal.
Finally, the combination of whole grains from the bread, plant-based protein from the beans, and a mega-dose of vegetables and phytonutrients (hello, lycopene!), makes this an incredibly nutritious dinner option with plenty of leftovers to keep your food-saving efforts going for days.
As usual, my husband was incredibly skeptical when I informed him we were having “bread soup” for dinner. The look in his eyes after his first bite was all the affirmation I needed though that this dish was a winner.
- 4 cups stale whole wheat bread (I used sourdough)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup potatoes, chopped (any kind)
- ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
- ½ cup bell peppers, chopped
- ½ cup zucchini, chopped
- 3 cups spinach
- 2, 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded (or sub vegan cheese)
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cut bread into one-inch cubes and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 7-8 minutes, tossing half way through. Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
- While the bread cooks, warm remaining oil in a large saute pan.
- Saute onion, garlic, carrots, and potato for about 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, and spinach and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add beans, canned tomatoes with their liquid, and vegetable broth, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large baking dish, stir together the bread and vegetable mixture.
- Stir in a half cup of parmesan.
- Sprinkle remaining parmesan over the top.
- Cover with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove tinfoil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until browned on top and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Fyi, you can easily make this recipe vegan by swapping the parmesan for vegan cheese or leaving it out completely.
Also, I used a whole wheat sourdough here, but you can use any bread you like — regular, gluten-free, etc. Some people find that sourdough is easier to digest than traditional wheat bread due to the long fermentation process.
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Weigh in: Have you heard of panade? Will you try this tasty, savory bread pudding?!