Panzanella Salad with crusty bread, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, and the best homemade vinaigrette dressing. Try this bread salad once and it will become an instant favorite. Tomato Panzanella is right up there with our popular Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad.

Panzanella Salad tossed in a bowl garnished with basil

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Our garden produces so many tomatoes and tons of basil in summer and we love creative and delicious ways to take advantage of them at their peak of freshness before we start freezing batches of Roasted Salsa and Canning Tomatoes. My whole family loves this tomato salad, even my 11-year old son who otherwise doesn’t like tomatoes, but went back for refills.

Panzanella Video Tutorial

Watch how to make this Panzanella recipe (and you’ll even learn how to make homemade croutons). There are so many reasons to love this recipe:

  • Leftover bread – this is the best way to use up leftover bread, particularly crusty, hearty bread like sourdough or Ciabatta which is a sad thing to go to waste.
  • Ripe Tomatoes – while most salads call for firm tomatoes, Panzanella is marvelous with tomatoes that are a bit overripe and at their peak of sweetness.
  • Make-Ahead – you can pre-make the croutons (they will keep up to a week at room temperature).
  • The Best Dressing – you’ll love this simple red wine vinegar, garlic, and olive oil vinaigrette. It’s light, vibrant, and adds tons of flavor to this salad. You can also make it ahead.

What is Panzanella?

Panzanella is a Tuscan Salad that is popular throughout Italy. It is a chopped salad with toasted bread, tomatoes, onions, and fresh basil. The salad is soaked in a simple vinaigrette dressing that makes every bite mouthwatering and delicious.

Ingredients for Panzanella Salad

What is the Best Bread for Panzanella?

A sturdy stale bread works best and is less likely to become soggy from the dressing, which makes this a brilliant way to use up leftover bread. These are the best bread varieties for Panzanella:

  • Ciabatta Bread – with a thick crust and alveolar holes that keep it from getting soggy
  • Baguette – also crusty on the outside, spongy inside, similar to our Wreath Bread.
  • Sourdough Bread – this has a different flavor profile that you’ll love
  • Focaccia Bread – this makes for some super tasty croutons.
Bread Salad with Tomatoes in Bowl

How to Make Panzanella Salad

1. Toast the Bread: slice your stale crusty bread into 1-inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Scatter on a baking sheet and bake at 400˚F for 9-11 minutes then set aside to cool. Note: Edges should be golden brown and fully dried through so the bread doesn’t get soggy.

Crusty bread tossed in oil and baked on baking sheet

2. Make the Dressing: combine vinaigrette dressing ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, grated garlic, salt, and pepper) and whisk to combine.

Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients mixed together in measuring cup

3. Toss Salad: Place remaining Panzanella salad ingredients into the same mixing bowl you used for the bread. Add the cooled bread. Drizzle on the dressing 15-20 minutes before serving and toss gently to combine. Garnish with more basil.

Panzanella Salad ingredients arranged in bowl with toasted bread, tomatoes, basil, onion and cheese

Variations

We love changing up this salad based on what we have on hand. Some of our favorites are:

  • Cheese – adding fresh mozzarella or feta cheese adds protein and adds a little salty bite
  • Chicken – add diced Rotisserie Chicken to make this a Chicken Panzanella
  • Salami – adds that salty bite that we find irresistible, like in our Pasta Salad.
  • Colorful Tomatoes – use a variety of heirloom or cherry tomatoes or both. The more colorful, the better!
  • Cucumbers are delicious, but they tend to get juicy so consider seeding them.
  • Olives – add your favorite olives to turn this into a Greek Panzanella
Mixed panzanella salad with tomatoes and bread

What to Serve with Panzanella Salad

This salad can be served as a side salad or as a light and satisfying lunch. The addition of toasted bread and mozzarella cheese makes it hearty and satisfying. We love to pair it with these Italian-Inspired Dishes:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Panzanella Salad Recipe

4.99 from 66 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Panzanella Recipe in white bowl
Panzanella Salad with crusty bread, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, and the best homemade vinaigrette dressing.
Prep Time: 18 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 6 people as a side salad

For the Tomato Panzanella Salad:

  • 6 oz crusty bread*, (1/2 loaf) cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 lbs ripe tomatoes, cut into small wedges or bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, halved mozzarella pearls
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, (about 22 leaves), coarsely chopped, plus more to garnish

For the Vinaigrette Dressing:

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400˚F. Place bread in a mixing bowl, drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake for 9-12 minutes until toasted then set aside to cool. Edges should be golden brown and crisp and the centers should be fully dried through.
  • In a small bowl, combine vinaigrette dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Set it aside for the flavors to meld while you prepare the rest of your salad ingredients.
  • Place remaining Panzanella salad ingredients into the same mixing bowl you used for the bread. Add the cooled bread. About 10-15 minutes before serving, drizzle on the dressing, adding it to taste. Toss the salad gently to combine.

Notes

Use sturdy bread like Ciabatta or Sourdough and your croutons will be less likely to get soggy. 

Nutrition Per Serving

295kcal Calories8g Carbs6g Protein27g Fat6g Saturated Fat15mg Cholesterol375mg Sodium392mg Potassium2g Fiber5g Sugar1493IU Vitamin A22mg Vitamin C118mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Panzanella Salad Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
295
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
27
g
42
%
Saturated Fat
 
6
g
38
%
Cholesterol
 
15
mg
5
%
Sodium
 
375
mg
16
%
Potassium
 
392
mg
11
%
Carbohydrates
 
8
g
3
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
1493
IU
30
%
Vitamin C
 
22
mg
27
%
Calcium
 
118
mg
12
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: panzanella, panzanella salad
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 295

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Kathy Hooker
    April 13, 2023

    I made this salad for lunch today and as usual, it was amazing. However, I really love, love, love your Italian dressing recipe and I had some already made in the refrigerator and that’s what I used.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 13, 2023

      Hi Kathy! That sounds great. Thanks for sharing, glad you love the recipe.

      Reply

  • Linda
    December 26, 2022

    I made this an the only must have it was missing was avocado. added that then everrything was perfect

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 26, 2022

      I’m glad you loved it, Linda! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Kathy Siewert
    September 29, 2022

    I’m going to make the entire recipe but want to save some croutons leftover for tomorrow. How do I keep the cooled croutons crunchy for the next day?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 29, 2022

      Hi Kathy, we like to store croutons in a resealable plastic bag with as much air removed as possible.

      Reply

  • Jo
    August 19, 2022

    We loved this recipe. I made the croutons in the air fryer from focaccia and ate half of them before I served the salad. Will be definitely making this again.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 19, 2022

      Hi Jo! I can eat these croutons all by themselves lol! So glad you enjoyed this recipe! 🙂

      Reply

  • Sharif
    August 18, 2022

    Hi

    Is it possible to replace red wine vinegar with a different vinegar ?

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 19, 2022

      Hi Sharif, I have only tried this with a different vinegar, so I can’t advise. Balsamic may work here, but it will change the flavor profile. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Becky
    August 18, 2022

    Want to try this recipe! Am wondering if can use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 18, 2022

      Hi Becky! I have only tried this with red wine vinegar, so I can’t advise. Balsamic may work here, but it will change the flavor profile. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • CB
    August 14, 2022

    Amazing! Love this as an alternative to the traditional caprese salad!!! Soooo delicious!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 14, 2022

      I’m glad you liked it!

      Reply

  • Mirna Zelada
    August 8, 2022

    I will try the salad.
    It look delicious.
    And just to let you know I found the shark infron of the olive oil.

    Thank you kindly for sharing your recipes.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 8, 2022

      Hi Mirna! Thank you. I hope you love this salad!

      Reply

  • LISA CHESTNUT-KUSZMAR
    August 6, 2022

    Hi love the salad, I was telling my husband who is deaf, and planning to make the salad tonight. thank for the recipe. Loves it.
    Lisa

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 6, 2022

      I’m so glad he loved that! Thank you for sharing that with me, Lisa!

      Reply

  • Kathy
    August 5, 2022

    I too enjoy your recipes and all the extra helpful info. I’m asking what kind of bread did you use in the video? I could only find the take & bake ciabatta. I baked it but it didn’t seem the best because there were quite a few hollow areas. Will try another bread.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 5, 2022

      Hi Kathy! I have made this salad with sourdough and Ciabatta! They both work great in my experience. They both will have holes more or less depending on the loaf you purchase. It’s hard to tell without seeing the inside of the bread loaf. I hope you have more success on your next attempt.

      Reply

  • Karen
    August 5, 2022

    Hi Natasha,
    I have all the Ingredients for this recipe and definitely going to make this for dinner and can’t wait to eat it. Thanks for another great recipe!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 5, 2022

      Hi Karen! You’re very welcome. I really do hope you enjoy it. 🙂

      Reply

  • Bobbie
    August 5, 2022

    I saw sharky! He popped up at your right and peaked over the chopping board. This salad is like Bruschetta appetizers (which I love), but even better. I will be trying this one. How very elegant. Your cooking videos are definitely my favorite online. I always learn something new and useful. Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 5, 2022

      That is very kind, Bobbie! So glad you enjoy my recipes. I hope you love this salad! 🙂

      Reply

  • Sandy Matza
    August 5, 2022

    Natasha, I’m making this tonight. Looks so refreshing and light. Yur the Best. Keep the recipes coming. You have a very handsome son.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 5, 2022

      Thank you, Sandy! I hope you love this recipe.

      Reply

  • Sonia K
    June 24, 2022

    Love your recipes, this one looks fabulous so gonna try. Thanks for sharing! 👩🏻‍🍳

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 24, 2022

      You’re very welcome!

      Reply

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