Introduction: Pan Bagna - a Vegetarian Delight

About: I like to make things. Art, inventions, tools, ukuleles, etc...

This version of the “soaked bread” sandwich has been in my family since I was a kid when a friend from France taught it to us. It is a specialty of Nice, and can be done in a variety of ways, but we have followed this particular recipe for decades.

It is an event to make Pan Bagnas. We put all the ingredients out on the table and everyone makes their own simultaneously. The most unusual aspect of this treat is the raw garlic that gets rubbed onto the outside of the crusty French bread at the outset. It leaves your fingers with the aroma for a couple days an acts as a pleasant reminder of your Pan Bagna experience.


Crusty French bread

Garlic cloves cut in half

Extra virgin olive oil

Red wine or Balsamic vinegar

Green onions (chopped)

Calamata olives

Fresh tomatoes (thickly sliced)

Ground Thyme


Fresh ground black pepper

Red or green leaf lettuce

Step 1: Prepare the Bread

Prepare the bread. If the bread is soft on the outside, you may need to pop it in the oven for a few minutes so it can develop a nice crispy crunch on the outside. This is important for the next step. Cut the bread into 6-7” lengths. Don’t cut the bread open though.

Step 2: Garlic the Bread

Take a chunk of garlic and rub it all over the outside of your bread. Use the rough part of the bread to grind away at the garlic clove and expose new juicy garlic which you can rub all over the other areas. Try to grind the entire half clove onto you bread. If you have some left over, slice it up and put it inside later.

Step 3: Cut Your Bread Open

Step 4: Oil and Vinegar

Drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar onto the soft insides of the bread.

Step 5: Green Onions

On the bottom half put in the chopped green onions.

Step 6: Calamata Olives

Add many halves of Calamata olives on top of the onions.

Step 7: Fresh Tomatoes

Add thick slices of tomato on top of the olives and onions.

Step 8: Thyme, Thyme, Thyme

Sprinkle a nice coating of ground thyme on the tomatoes.

Step 9: Salt and Pepper

Sprinkle on salt and fresh ground pepper.

Step 10: Leaf Lettuce

Add a few pieces of fresh leaf lettuce.

Step 11: Taste

Put the top on your sandwich. Announce that you’ve finished building. And take a big bite.

Step 12: Savor

Savor the perfect combination of flavors as you chew and notice the pleasant burn on your lips from the garlic. The flavor and burn will become more pronounced as you proceed to take more bites. It’s like a slow motion flavor explosion.

Step 13: Make Another

When you’re finished you will be ready to do it all over again. Enjoy!

Sandwich Challenge 2020

Runner Up in the
Sandwich Challenge 2020