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Panzanella Salad Recipe [Video]

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If you're looking for a delicious and refreshing salad, look no further than the classic Italian dish, Panzanella Salad! This traditional dish is an ideal summertime meal due to its light and flavorful ingredients. The taste of each ingredient combines to create a wonderfully fresh flavor that can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. 

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Close up spoon full of Panzanella with a panzanella salad in the background.

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad is a traditional Italian dish that has delighted taste buds for centuries. It combines fresh tomatoes and crusty bread with a flavor-packed dressing to create an irresistibly tasty meal.

Not only is it incredibly delicious, but this salad is also incredibly simple to prepare – taking less than 10 minutes to cook. Boasting all summer flavors in one bowl, this popular Italian dish has become a favorite among home cooks everywhere.

ingredients to make Panzanella salad.

Ingredients needed:

The ingredients for cooking Panzanella salad that the whole family will enjoy are listed below. Please scroll down to view our printable recipe card with detailed steps and measurements.

  • Crusty bread: Cut into cubes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Grape tomatoes: Cut into quarters
  • Mozzarella small pearls
  • Red onion: Thinly sliced
  • Red bell pepper: Deseeded, deveined, and cut into cubes
  • Basil leaves: Chopped, plus more to garnish

Dressing:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Oregano
  • Lemon zest
  • Garlic cloves: Minced
  • Capers
  • Salt and pepper: To taste

Garnish:

  • Balsamic reduction
  • Basil leaves
collage of four photos showing how to create panzanella salad.

How to cook Panzanella salad from scratch? 

  1. Toast the bread: Start by preheating the oven to 400˚F.  Then add the cubed bread to a large mixing bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss them well to combine. After that, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until toasted. Remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients: In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk until fully combined—season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Combine the salad ingredients: Then combine them into a large bowl and let them stand for the flavors to combine. 
  4. Serve: Pour the dressing 15 minutes BEFORE serving the salad for the bread to soak in the flavors. Toss to combine. Finally, drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with basil leaves, then serve.
A closeup panzanella salad in a white bowl with a spoon.

Frequently asked questions

What does panzanella mean in Italian?

The word “Panzanella” comes from two Italian words: “pane,” which means bread, and “zanella,” which means soup bowl. The origins of Panzanella are rooted in the need to use up stale bread that would otherwise go to waste. This frugal mentality has been passed down for generations and remains integral to Tuscan cuisine today. Panzanella has become so popular that variations can now be found throughout Italy and worldwide.

What is good to eat with Panzanella?

Panzanella salad is a light, refreshing Italian salad that pairs well with various accompaniments. Grilled chicken, steak, or fish would make excellent additions to the dish for a hearty meal. Try serving it with crusty bread topped with olive oil and herbs such as oregano or basil for something lighter. Panzanella is also a great side dish for summer barbecues since it can easily be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Can you make Panzanella with fresh bread?

You can make Panzanella with fresh bread. You need to toast the bread in the oven or on the grill to give it that dry and crispy texture that is essential to this dish. With the addition of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and a tangy vinaigrette, Panzanella is a delicious and versatile salad that can be served as a side dish or a main course. So go ahead and use that fresh bread to make a mouth-watering panzanella salad!

How to store leftovers:

Storing leftover Panzanella salad is simple and easy. The best way to store it is to place the remaining salad into an airtight container and refrigerate it. This will help keep it fresh for up to 3 days.

To ensure maximum freshness when storing, ensure that all components – including the dressing – are kept separate until you’re ready to serve the salad. This will help prevent soggy bread and limp, wilted vegetables.

When it comes to reheating or serving, Panzanella salad is best served at room temperature. To reheat leftovers, add a few drops of water to the mix before microwaving for 20-30 seconds. This will help refresh the flavors and give them a fresh taste. It can also be served cold from the refrigerator for a refreshing summer salad.

Panzanella salad served.

Recipe tips: 

To make the perfect panzanella salad, start by selecting high-quality ingredients. Opt for ripe tomatoes that are sweet and tangy at the same time. Choose slightly stale bread, or toast it beforehand to add texture and crunch to your salad. And be creative with your vegetables – cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, and even strawberries can all make great additions.

Panzaella salad close up

Panzanella Salad

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This traditional dish is an ideal summertime meal due to its light and flavorful ingredients. The taste of each ingredient combines to create a wonderfully fresh flavor that can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of crusty bread cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 lbs grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 8 oz mozzarella small pearls
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded, deveined and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped, plus more to garnish

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:

  • Balsamic reduction
  • Basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Add the cubed bread to a large mixing bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt, toss well to combine.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until toasted, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk until fully combined, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine all the salad ingredients into a large bowl and let them stand for the flavors to combined.
  6. Pour the dressing 15 minutes BEFORE serving the salad, for the bread to soak int the flavors. Toss to combine.
  7. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with basil leaves, serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 526mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 14g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

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