Panzanella Salad is the perfect refreshing meal on a hot summer day.

Filled with juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, mozzarella, and chunks of crusty bread all tossed in a zesty balsamic dressing, this salad is a beautiful blend of summer flavors.

This bread salad is a great starter, a beautiful fresh lunch dish, or the perfect side dish next to Grilled Chicken Breast!

A panzanella salad on a wood board with herbs

Fresh and Flavorful Bread Salad

What is Panzanella? Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad, usually dressed with a balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette. Traditionally, it was made with cubes of stale bread.

There’s something magical about a fresh Italian salad and this one is no exception. The flavors pair well with bread in this recipe or even a crowd-pleasing Italian pasta salad.

Ingredients on a wood board for panzanella salad

Ingredients for Panzanella Salad

Bread – : Opt for a fresh loaf of Ciabatta Bread or even sourdough bread, torn into pieces (rather than cut into cubes) and baked until crisped. If you’ve got leftover bread loaves or even homemade croutons, they’ll work perfectly too.

Veggies – Juicy ripe tomatoes (cherry or grape tomatoes are best), crisp cucumbers, and red onions & olives. Add plenty of fresh basil, and oregano!

Vegetables – Any ripe tomato will work, we love cherry or grape tomatoes or fresh garden tomatoes. Crisp cucumbers add crunch and the red onions and olives out this salad perfectly.

Cheese – This recipe is best with either bocconccini or burrata, a fresh creamy mozzarella cheese. You can use other types of mozzarella but fresh is best if possible. Crumbled feta or goat cheese are other options!

Dressing – A classic mix of balsamic and extra-virgin olive oil is all you need. You can also use balsamic vinaigrette or try flavored oils, balsamic glaze, or even a dash of red wine vinegar for a tantalizing twist.

Additional Options – Add a bit of crushed garlic to to the chunks of bread along with the oil. Try adding capers, arugula. For an extra kick of freshness, remember to toss in plenty of fresh basil and oregano.

pouring olive oil over bread for panzanella salad

How to Make Panzanella

This panzanella salad recipe is super simple to prepare.

  1. Toast Bread: Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and toss with olive oil on a baking sheet and bake until slightly dried.
  2. Mix Dressing: In a separate bowl or decanter, prepare the dressing by mixing balsamic vinegar with olive oil.
  3. Toss & Enjoy: Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with the dressing. Gently toss.

Feeling Fancy?

Finish this salad with fresh basil leaves, parsley, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a basil plant instead of a pack of basil. It’ll last a long time and fresh herbs are an inexpensive way to make salads, pastas, and sandwiches taste gourmet.

Ingredients on a wood board for panzanella salad

What to Serve with Panzanella Salad

Panzanella bread salad is perfect for picnics or dining al fresco. Serve it next to steak or grilled chicken for a great summer meal.

Fresh Summer Salads

Did you make this Easy Panzanella Salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

A panzanella salad on a wood board with herbs
5 from 13 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Panzanella Salad

This fresh Italian bread salad is filled with juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, and crisp bread tossed in a simple dressing.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rest Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

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Ingredients  

  • 6 cups ciabatta bread torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes any variety
  • ½ English cucumber sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini) cocktail sized
  • ¼ red onion thinly sliced
  • ½ cup kalamata olives pitted
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • On a a large baking sheet, combine the ciabatta bread with ¼ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste), and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss until well combined and bake until lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, fresh mozzarella, sliced cucumbers, and olives. Add the bread and dressing and toss well to combine. Let rest for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Top with parsley, basil, and additional salt & pepper to taste.

Notes

  • Tear the bread rather than cutting it, this will create more nooks and crannies and a better salad!
  • Be sure to allow the salad to sit, tossing occasionally so the bread can soak up the dressing.
  • Use a  high-quality olive oil if possible, it adds great flavor.
5 from 13 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 253 | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 8.7mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
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close up of Easy Panzanella Salad with writing
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wooden board with Easy Panzanella Salad and writing

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. This delicious and easy to make panzanella salad recipe looks really amazing. One of the best ever panzanella salad recipe i have ever tried. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us. 5 stars