Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad is a classic Tuscan tomato and bread salad that is the perfect way to showcase ripe colorful produce and a fabulous oil and vinegar ~ it couldn’t be simpler or more delicious!

Pananella Salad | The View from Great Island

panzanella salad pairs juicy tomatoes with crunchy bread

It sounds like an unlikely pairing until you take your first bite. If you’ve ever had tomato toast, Italian bruschetta, or Spanish pan con tomate, you’ll know the delicious effect tomatoes can have on bread. Panzanella is another Italian invention that celebrates the combination in salad form.

Heirloom tomatoes

what you’ll need

  • crusty bread
  • tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • red onion
  • garlic
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • wine vinegar
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper
heriloom tomatoes

how to assemble a panzanella salad

  1. Cut your bread in cubes and toast until crisp.
  2. Rub the cut side of a garlic clove along the inside of your serving bowl.
  3. Add fabulous tomatoes, cukes, red onion, and basil to the bowl.
  4. Mix up a simple vinaigrette.
  5. Toss and serve asap!
Heirloom Tomato Pananella Salad

this simple salad is surprisingly complex

At its core, this salad is all about the mixing of the tomato juices and olive oil with the bread. Both the flavor and the texture are memorable. There are the colors of the tomatoes, especially if you’ve used multi-colored heirloom tomatoes like I did. Then there’s the variety of textures…the crusty cubes of bread, chunky tomatoes, half moons of crunchy cucumber, and slivers of red onion. There are no greens except for the roughly torn basil leaves which contribute a lovely licorice taste.

The dressing brings it all together ~ with the fruitiness of the olive oil, the tang of red wine vinegar, and the hot bite of coarse black pepper.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad

quality ingredients are key

This kind of salad is the ultimate late summer experience, but actually there are some pretty good tomatoes available year round these days, and the bread gives it a heartier feel that seems appropriate for cooler weather. There are a few keys to making a great panzanella salad:

  1. The first, obviously, is to source great tomatoes.
  2. And the crustier the bread, the better. When it soaks in the dressing, the soft part of the bread will become almost custard like, but the crust will retain its firmness.
  3. Finally, get a really fruity green olive oil. Something that tastes amazing all by itself. I’ve been making a point to pick up a different brand every time I replenish my supply. I’m finding that the local California oils are my favorite, they have the freshest, fruitiest flavor.
  4. That’s it, you’ve got this!
Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad 2

summer was made for salad!

5 from 1 vote

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad is a classic Tuscan tomato and bread salad that is the perfect way to showcase ripe colorful produce and a fabulous oil and vinegar ~ it couldn't be simpler or more delicious!
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 2 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 4 slices very crusty Italian or artisan bread cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled and halved
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes about 5 or 6 small heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium English seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion cut in fine wedges
  • 1 bunch basil leaves roughly torn
  • about 4 Tbsp good fruity olive oil
  • about 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 325F
  • Put the bread on an ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Rub the inside of your serving bowl with the cut sides of the garlic. Discard the garlic.  Put the tomatoes, cucumber, onions and basil leaves in the bowl.  Add the cubes of bread.
  • Mix a simple vinaigrette with the oil and vinegar.  Taste it and adjust it to suit you.  Stir vigorously with a spoon, and then drizzle over the salad   Toss well.
  • Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Let the salad sit for about 15-30 minutes and then serve it up!

Cook’s notes

For something a little different, try my Grilled Cornbread Panzanella. 
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
e book

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    Leave a Reply

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  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    January 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    This is a salad I have yet to try. I hope I have another banner year for tomatoes because this would be perfect with fresh off the vine tomatoes!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    January 28, 2013 at 1:58 am

    There you got with those gorgeous tomatoes again! This is such a refreshing looking meal. I love the idea of a panzanella and bet it is super tasty!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    very colorful recipe! it looks scrumptious!

    I’m a new follower, I just discovered your blog and read some of your latest recipes, they’re all yummy!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday!
    Panzanella is my FAVORITE summer salad. There is nothing I love more than this salad and a glass of Chardonnay on a summer’s night.
    I actually made a version of this last night, but with bacon so it would be a little more hearty.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Happy birthday! Several days of take-out sounds like a great low-key celebration to me. 🙂 This salad looks so good–and I’m super jealous of those beautiful tomatoes!

  • Reply
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen
    January 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Happy birthday.

    I love panzanella salad and (ssh,) sometimes I eat all of the bread first 🙂 Such pretty tomatoes you found in winter. I think I might be jealous.

  • Reply
    Nantucket Daffodil
    January 26, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Oh Sue, a belated Happy Birthday! I love panzanella! I made it last summer. I was also afraid of the bread aspect….kept thinking it would get soggy….but it was perfect! Thanks for inspiring me to make this even in winter!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2013 at 5:13 am

    Happy birthday!

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    January 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had some mini feasts for yourself!

    This is one of my favorite summer salads. I love all the heirloom tomatoes you’ve added.

    My good friend Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window makes a delicious one! When she brought it to my cottage it also had grilled shrimp – yum!

    Have a nice weekend!

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