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Panzanella (Italian bread salad) recipe

Panzanella (Italian bread salad) recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Vegetable salad
  • Tomato salad

A super-delicious Italian bread salad. Croutons are tossed with chickpeas, baby plum tomatoes, peppers, onion, kalamata olives, pesto, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, goat cheese and pine nuts.

26 people made this

IngredientsServes: 10

  • 225g white bread, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 3 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 (400g) tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 300g baby plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g chopped green pepper
  • 50g chopped red pepper
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1.75cm slices
  • 10 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 75g basil pesto
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 110g crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

MethodPrep:40min ›Cook:12min ›Extra time:30min marinating › Ready in:1hr22min

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  2. Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil to evenly coat. Sprinkle with salt and toss again. Spread the cubed bread evenly over a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  3. Toss together the chickpeas, tomatoes, peppers, onion and kalamata olives in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pesto, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and pepper. Toss the tomatoes with the pesto mixture and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. To serve, toss the toasted bread cubes and goat cheese with the tomato mixture. Line a serving plate with a few lettuce leaves. Finely chop the remaining lettuce and mound in the centre of the serving plate. Spoon the bread mixture over the lettuce and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(28)

Reviews in English (19)

by Mary Ann Waite

I won 1st Place for this salad that I re-named Tuscan Bread Salad! I had to substiute a few items because of availability- I live in Mexico. I used a homemade sourdough bread- no artisan breads here and also grape tomatoes, cannellini beans ,feta, orange and yellow peppers( left out the red & green peppers)and also added some summer sausage cut in quarters. I also sprinkled the feta cheese on top to give it a better visual presentation. The judges must have loved it- 25% judging for presentation and 75% for taste! I also added some rosemary and basil springs along side the platter I put it on.Thanks again for this great recipe!-25 May 2007

by CKMabes

Oh, my gosh! This was my favorite salad so far! i couldn't find any tear-drop tomatoes so I had no tomatoes in it and I used feta cheese instead of the goat but stuck with the rest of the recipe. It was absolutely phenominal! I loved it. My husband and sister really enjoyed it as well. It had so much flavor. Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be making this again as well as putting it in my "potluck" recipes so others can enjoy it!-10 Nov 2006

Panzanella Salad with Roasted Vegetables (Italian Bread Salad)

Everyone deserves a second chance and an opportunity to reinvent themselves. I think a recipe should have the same shot and this week’s dish is the perfect example. Panzanella is a Tuscan salad that was once considered a poor man’s dish, made of stale bread soaked in liquid (usually water) and tossed with tomatoes and vegetables. I remember the first time I tasted Panzanella. I was visiting friends in Orvieto, Tuscany, and my hosts prepared the salad by soaking the stale bread in milk. It was then wrung out in a clean dish towel and the bread was tossed into the rest of the ingredients. It was unforgettable and heavenly. These days, Panzanella has gone from a poor man’s dish to a very trendy feature on restaurant menus. Everyone has their own version of this bountiful bowl of goodness and here is yet another one. This Panzanella is made with large chunks of fresh bread (grilled, not soaked) and tossed with peppers, onions, shallots and a chile pepper. The traditional tomatoes were removed altogether. I love this version because it can be made ahead and enjoyed for days. It just gets better as the flavors meld. Panzanella, the poor man’s dish that got reinvented into a trendy plate, rich in flavor and nutrients!

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Panzanella (bread salad)

Nothing is wasted in an Italian kitchen. This salad recipe uses stale bread, which soaks up the flavours of the dressing while retaining a slightly crunchy texture – it is incredibly yummy, especially if you use a good loaf of bread. Proper ciabatta should be crusty on the outside and not too doughy or airy inside.



Skill level


  • 1 day-old ciabatta loaf, crusts cut off, cut into cubes
  • 300 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • ½ bunch basil
  • salt and pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Bake the bread in a warm oven until golden brown and dry. Leave to cool.

Place the oil, vinegar and garlic in a bowl, add the bread and toss together. Add the tomato and onion and tear in the basil leaves. Toss again, season to taste and serve immediately.


To make Panzanella Salad, you start by cubing up 9 ounces of French or rustic bread, then tossing it with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon zest. The cubed bread is then toasted in the oven until crispy on the outside and a little soft within.

The toasted bread is then tumbled into a large bowl along with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, roasted red peppers, red onion, basil and capers. The salad is tossed in a vinaigrette made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano and red chile flakes.

You can enjoy the salad right away or let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. As the salad sits, the toasted bread will soak up all of the juices in the bowl.

Tuscan Panzanella by Stephanie Rizzolo


1 stale ciabatta loaf, baguette, or any artisanal crusty bread
3 large heirloom tomatoes
2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1/4 red onion
20 leaves of basil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Tear stale bread into bite-sized pieces. If using fresh bread, slice, and drizzle with olive oil. Toast until golden brown and set aside to cool.

Cut heirloom tomatoes into wedges and halve cherry tomatoes.

Stripe and slice the cucumber in half. Remove seeds and slice into half-moon shapes.

Thinly slice the red onion.

Toss the vegetables and bread together in a large bowl. Pour in extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until everything is well combined.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes to let the bread soften and soak up the tomato juices and dressing.

Watch Stephanie Rizzolo making panzanella on our Instagram account @lacucinaitalianausa - Highlights section #HomeCookingLCI

Panzanella (Tuscan Bread Salad)

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This salad is a great way to use up leftover or slightly stale bread. The original is typically made with red wine vinegar and the saltless bread found throughout Tuscany. Our version has a light lemon vinaigrette and cucumbers for an added dimension and some crunch.

What to buy: Pull out your best extra-virgin olive oil for this recipe, as the quality becomes apparent after the first bite.

Game plan: This dish gets better the longer the flavors are allowed to infuse, so you can make it up to a day in advance.


  1. 1 Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a medium nonreactive bowl, stir to combine, and let sit for 15 minutes. Then, while whisking continuously, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until it’s fully incorporated.

For the salad:

  1. 1 Place the bread in a large bowl and add half of the vinaigrette. Toss to coat well, then set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  2. 2 Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, onions, and cucumber in a separate large bowl and add the remaining vinaigrette. Toss to coat well, then set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  3. 3 Add the vegetables and the basil to the bread and mix until evenly combined. Taste and season salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, then serve at room temperature.

Beverage pairing: Fernleaf Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand. The brisk lime, lemon, and grassy herbaceousness of this Sauvignon Blanc are a good match with the sharp notes of lemon, basil, onion, and tomato in the salad, while the wine’s lively acidity and energy will favorably contrast with the soft bread.

Tuscan Panzanella Bread Salad

Posted By Savita

Panzanella, a combination of crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, flavor-bomb dressing and rustic bread to soak in all savoury flavors!!

You guys, this bread salad.. I mean, Tuscan Panzanella, is a flavor bomb! I just can't stop, won't stop eating it whole spring-summer season.

Salads are so my love-affair whole year but specially in spring-summer season.. when fresh vegetables, such red bell peppers, tomatoes, greens, and spring onions are in season.. I crave for crunchy salads more than ever!

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad usually made with tomato and day-old stale bread with lemon olive oil based dressing. It is mostly enjoyed in summers since tomatoes are most juicy and sweet in that season. However, I also like to add fresh bell peppers in this salad for some crunch and load of vitamins. Plus, salad becomes more substantial too.

Whenever I have some Italian bread in hand, I turn it into classic Tuscan Italian favorite Panzanella. This is a quick recipe which you can enjoy even without bread, however addition of bread really adds the rustic Tuscany touch.

I can imagine, this Italian Bread Salad must be a great way to use day-old stale bread. I, however, buy a crusty Italian bread loaf just for this salad. You might think, bread will get soggy soaked in dressing?!

Well, actually that's why day-old bread is used. And my idea of using rustic Italian Bread loaf resonates the same theme. What I like to do is: toast the bread chunks in oven, or in a saute pan until bread is crusty, dried, brown but not burnt. If you thinking croutons. That's not be wrong. It is just, these are little hard croutons. Or I should say, croutons toasted a little longer.

Honestly, I did not plan to share this recipe today. but when I sat on couch to fix pictures for next week's recipes.. I just could not resist but to change my schedule and bring it to you sooner.

I have a similar recipe on blog with Mediterranean Greek flavors - Greek Dakos Tomato Salad - bread toast and tomato salad with olives and feta cheese. Do check out, it is really very very good.

PS: This recipe was originally posted in August 2013. Today, I have updated the pictures, and way of preparation (a little bit) to give you updated current style of serving Panzanella Bread Salad.

Panzanella salad can be made with any number of vegetables.

Most people think tomatoes are mandatory, but – as I mentioned earlier – panzanella is not a tomato salad, it is a bread salad! Tomatoes weren’t added to this salad until at least the 16th century (some say 20th century), when they were brought from the Americas.

So, yeah, while Florentines would disapprove of me saying this, this is a great salad to use whatever you have on hand!

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add or substitute some of the veggies. Bell peppers, corn, asparagus, zucchini, artichoke, beets, eggplants, broccoli, you name it!
  • Add a protein, like grilled steak, grilled (or shredded) chicken or even a fried (or poached) egg.
  • Make it with fruit instead of vegetables, like peaches or figs. And while we are at it, add some Prosciutto di Parma too! Yum.
  • Transform it into an antipasto salad, adding olives, capers, charcuterie (like salami), roasted red bell peppers, etc.
  • Add fresh mozzarella cubes or balls, burrata or ricotta!

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely slivered fresh basil
  • 4 cups torn bite-size pieces stale crusty white bread (see Tip)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cut larger tomatoes into wedges or chunks cut any cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters. Combine in a large bowl with onion, parsley and basil. Add bread.

Whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour it over the salad and gently toss to coat the bread well. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

To stale bread naturally, store at room temperature in a paper (not plastic) bag for 2 to 5 days. If you don't want to wait, bake sliced or cubed bread on a large baking sheet at 250°F until crisped and dry, 15 to 20 minutes. One 1-pound loaf (12 to 14 slices) yields 8 to 10 cups 1-inch pieces.