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Panzanella salad on plate
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📋 RECIPE: Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

Panzanella is Tuscan salad made of chunky of lightly toasted crusty bread, tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, Italian basil all soaked in the simplest salad dressing. If you got ripe tomatoes and day old bread, the best summer Italian bread salad is just few minutes away!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Sweating tomatoes, resting time25 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish, side salad, Sides
Cuisine: Italian
Calories:

Ingredients

  • 1 day old crusty ‘stale’ bread about 4-5 cups of stale bread broken into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 ripe juicy tomatoes cut into small wedges or cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion sliced thin
  • 2 cucumbers unpeeled, seeded, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 cup basil

For salad dressing-

  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic minced

Instructions

  • Pick best quality juicy ripe tomatoes. Slice into thin wedges or cut into small cubes.
  • Salt cut tomatoes with kosher salt. Toss well. Let tomatoes sit in colander with a bowl under it to collect all the wonderful tomato juice. Allow tomatoes to drain the juices for minimum 15 minutes to maximum an hour.
  • Meanwhile prep other ingredients.
  • Slice red onions.
  • Cut ends of cucumber, peel the seeds using melon baller or spoon. Cut cucumber into ½ inch slices. If you don’t like the skin on cucumber feel free to peel the skin.
  • Cut bread into 1 inch chunks. Toast bread in olive oil until lightly browned on all sides. You can toast bread chunks in oven or air fryer too.
  • To the tomato juice that was drained add white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste, extra virgin olive oil.
  • Whisk well.
  • Gather all salad ingredients into a large salad bowl- drained tomatoes, sliced onion, sliced cucumber, toasted bread and fresh basil leaves.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad.
  • Toss well.
  • Let sit for minimum 5 minutes to maximum 1 hour so salad marinates and sucks all the flavors and juices.
  • Enjoy with grilled chicken, BBQ chicken, shrimps.

Video

Notes

Bread: you must use dense crusty bread like sour dough bread or ciabatta or artisan loaf bread. Baguette or dinner rolls aren’t ideal bread to use for making this salad. Softer bread won’t hold it’s shaped and will turn mushy once salad dressing is added to it. Day old stale bread is best.
Bread to vegetable ratio: Use 1 portion of bread and 2 portion on mixed vegetables in the salad.
Sweating tomatoes: highly recommend you don't skip this step. Adding salt to tomatoes will make it sweat all it's juices and release excess moisture. Without removing excess moisture from tomatoes the bread would get too soggy from tomato juice.
Tomatoes: use best quality juicy, ripe tomatoes. You can use Italian tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or roma tomatoes to make the salad.
Cucumber: feel free to peel the skin off cucumber. To keep cucumber from releasing moisture into the salad I recommend you to remove it's seeds from center.
Vinegar for salad dressing: White wine vinegar or red wine vinegar can be used to make dressing.
 
Nutritional Info – Please keep in mind that nutritional information provided is only a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.