Panzanella Salad is our new favorite summer salad. Crisp vegetables combine with toasted pieces of bread in a delicious and light vinaigrette dressing.
Nothing says summer to me quite the way that a Panzanella Salad does. It is full of fresh veggies that you can grow in the garden. Then you add in some toasted bread cubes and drizzle over a light and easy to make dressing. The final result is a beautiful and colorful salad that you will fall head over heels for and bring to all your summer get togethers.
How to Make Panzanella Salad
This cucumber tomato salad comes together in a few simple steps. For the full recipe including all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Toast bread cubes. Toast them in olive oil on a skillet until browned.
- Chop the vegetables. I like this recipe best with my cucumbers unpeeled with seeds removed and the tomatoes cut into cubes.
- Make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a small measuring cup or bowl.
- Toss all ingredients. Combine the dressing with the bread cubes and tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and basil, and toss until well combined.
What is Panzanella
Panzanella is a salad that originated in Tuscany made up of stale bread, onions, and tomatoes. It was created as a way for people to use bread that had become dry and stale so that it did not go to waste. This salad is very popular in the summer and is a great way to use ripe tomatoes and herbs from your garden. Escape to Italy with every bite of this delicious salad!
Since the bread is such an important part of this recipe, make sure to use a thick, hearty bread for best results. Using good bread will help you salad hold up and taste delicious. We used Italian bread which works really well, but you could also use ciabatta, sourdough, or focaccia bread.
We toast the bread cubes on the stove for this recipe which helps make them nice and crispy and only takes a few minutes. Toasting the bread takes moisture out of it so that it can absorb the flavors of this delicious salad but won’t be as soggy. Stale bread would also have a similar effect in this recipe.
Fresh vs Dried Basil
This recipe calls for fresh basil. If you aren’t growing any, you should definitely buy some for this recipe. Sometimes it is less expensive to buy a whole basil plant than just a clipping of leaves. You can keep it growing and then make some of my homemade pesto too!
If you don’t have fresh basil, you can use dried but use only half of the amount listed in the recipe.
This cucumber tomato salad is best when eaten right after it is made. It does not make for good leftovers because the bread gets soggy. Please note that the longer it sits, the more the vegetables will soften and break down. This is fine from a food safety perspective, but you might not enjoy it as much.
This salad tastes great and is hearty enough for a lunch or light dinner. If, however, you are looking for ways to experiment with it, try these additions:
- Add protein to this summer salad with my Air Fryer Chicken Breasts for a chicken Panzanella salad.
- Sprinkle in feta or mozzarella cheese for another texture and flavor.
- Add salami for a salty protein like in my Italian Chopped Salad recipe.
- Toss in kalamata olives, a little feta cheese, some oregano, and a splash of lemon juice to make it a Greek Panzanella salad.
Other Summer Salad Recipes
- Strawberry Spinach Salad: This refreshing salad is light and the perfect complement to a meal.
- Chopped Salad: When all else fails, this easy chopped salad is the perfect fallback with the most amazing dressing.
- Easy Orzo Salad: This is a pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors. It makes such a great side dish for any BBQ or picnic!
If you try this Panzanella Salad recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups Italian bread cubed (about 6.5 ounces)
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 cucumber seeds removed and cut into slices
- 1/2 small red onion sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil (packed) roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bread cubes, tossing often until browned, about 10 minutes.4 cups Italian bread, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a small measuring cup or bowl.1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Toss with the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, and toasted bread. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste.2 large tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1/2 small red onion, 1/2 cup fresh basil