Perfect Panzanella Salad is packed full of tomatoes, toasty bread cubes, cucumbers, red onion, and an amazing easy dressing! Panzanella is perfect served with your favorite meat or by itself!
Our Panzanella is truly my most favorite salad ever, and this is my personal take on the classic! This dish is traditionally from Italy and is a salad made of stale bread, onions, and tomatoes. Most of the time it is simply dressed with olive oil and vinegar, but we had to take things up a notch for even more flavor! It takes about 20 minutes or so to put this salad together, and that includes time to toast up your bread, and chop your vegetables. The best thing about our salad is that it's really easy to make, and honestly we usually have most ingredients on hand! I could personally eat this salad as a meal, but it's also perfect served up with Grilled Shrimp or with any meat like Grilled Chicken Thighs or even London Broil!
To start this recipe out, you will need an 8 ounce loaf of French or Italian bread from your bakery. You can use bread that you have purchased the same day, or even 1-2 day old stale bread, either works fine! The 8 ounce loaf comes out to about 4 cups total once everything is cubed up. Cube the bread into ½-1 inch chunks, then we toss with olive oil and salt and simply toast in the oven. Ovens vary, but it will take about 10-13 minutes for your bread to become golden. It tends to turn golden and toasted fast, so keep an eye on it!
Panzanella Salad Ingredients:
- Toasted Cubed French or Italian bread like we talked about above! You can also use whole wheat baguette or even sourdough if that's what you like!
- Tomatoes! You can see that I used cherry tomatoes, but whole tomatoes are fine as well. You will want about 4 cups of either cherry/grape tomatoes that have been cut in half, or whole tomatoes that have been cut into large chunks.
- You will need one medium cucumber for this salad, or a couple of small/mini cucumbers. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise down the middle. Then, use a spoon to scrape the seeds out. Doing this will keep the salad from becoming too wet. Then, slice each half into thin slices.
- For the red onion, I use half and find that to be the perfect amount. You could always use a whole onion if you prefer more! Make sure to slice it as thinly as possible.
- Basil! I used 5 fresh basil leaves, but dried will work ok as well. If using dried, I'd recommend going with 1 teaspoon, and then adding more to taste.
- OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: My "twist" is adding sliced green olives and small cubes of mozzarella and it sends this salad over the top! I like to use Castelvetranos Olives the best, they are so mild and buttery! They're easy to find with any other olives at the store. If you prefer you can use any green or even Kalamata olives here. Or, you can leave the olives and cheese out if you wish.
- FOR THE DRESSING: A simple mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon, garlic, oregano, honey! The dressing soaks into the bread and tastes so incredible!
Perfect Panzanella Salad
FOR THE SALAD:
- 8 Ounces French Bread
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Pinch of Salt
- 4 Cups Cubed Tomatoes**
- 1 Medium Cucumber
- ½ Red Onion
- 5 Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped**
- ¼ Cup Sliced Olives Optional
- 4 Ounces Mozzarella Cheese Cut into small cubes, Optional
FOR THE SALAD:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the French Bread into 1 inch cubes and place on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Toss the bread with the 2 Tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes until golden.
- Meanwhile, add 4 Cups total of halved cherry tomatoes or cubed whole tomatoes to a large bowl.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds, then cut each half into slices.
- Cut the red onion in half and slice as thinly as possible. Add the sliced cucumber, onion, basil, olives, and mozzarella to the bowl with the tomatoes and toss to combine.
FOR THE DRESSING:
- In a small bowl with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Shake well for about 1 minute until completely combined.
- Add the toasted bread cubes and dressing to the bowl with the vegetables and toss until everything is well coated.
- Serve immediately, or allow to sit for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.