Another Delicious Way to Use Ripe Tomatoes – Panzanella

I don’t know how I lived my entire life without eating a panzanella a Tuscan salad that features day-old bread tossed with tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. But I made one recently, and heard angels sing.

Panzanella is a great way to use bread that’s just past fresh, but not ready to be tossed. At first, the bread’s role is to give the salad a little salty crunch. But then, as the panzanella sits, the bread soaks up the vinaigrette and becomes a delectable bite of olive oil, vinegar and spices.

Of course, panzanella is another wonderful way to use your garden-fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

I like my panzanella dressed with a traditional French vinaigrette. But, when I’m short of time, I’ll use my favorite bottled, olive-oil based dressing, and I’m sure it will taste lovely. And if I throw in some feta, giving it a Greek flair, I’m sure nobody will arrest me.

Here’s how to make a panzanella.

Ingredients

Hard bread French, Italian, artisan cut into 1-inch cubes. You’ll need about 6 cups, but you can use more or less.
3 tablespoons olive oil for browning the bread
teaspoon of kosher salt
Ripe tomatoes at least 2 large cut into chunks, or two cups of cherry tomatoes halved
red onion chopped
1 large cucumber peeled, halved, seeded and sliced -1 inch thick
1 green, red, or yellow bell pepper seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
15 large basil leaves slivered with a sharp knife
cup capers

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil until it shimmers, then toss in the bread cubes and salt. Stir or toss frequently until the bread is toasted brown.
2. In your favorite salad bowl, toss together the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, pepper, capers and basil leaves.
3. Add the bread.
4. Toss with a vinaigrette.
5. Serve as a side salad or main course.

79 comments

JL A.
JL A.1 years ago

yum

Judy Apelis
Judy Apelis1 years ago

Many thanks!

Nancy Gizuk
Nancy Gizuk1 years ago

And that's decided dinner. Thank you! 😊

Carole R.
Carole R.1 years ago

Thanks

Jane R.
Jane R.1 years ago

Sounds good and looks good, but unless someone made it for me I can't try it. I'm too lazy to make this just for myself. I live alone and I could never finish it before it got old. Thanks.

Anne P.
Anne P.1 years ago

Sounds delicious, will definitely try! Thanks for the recipe.

Muff-Anne York-Haley

Sounds yummy, you could also add some olives too:)

Charmaine C.
Charmaine C.1 years ago

This is a delicious salad and we eat it frequently. There are as many variations of this salad as there are Italian Nonnas out there. As with so many things in life more is not always better. For Panzanella use good ingredients including your chunks of stale bread (sourdough is wonderful). For the Italians who taught us to make this the joy of eating Panzanella is in keeping it simple and sumptuous!

If you want croutons, then rather than fry the bread, which adds so many more calories, why not rub the bread with garlic (before you cube it), season, and then bake the croutons in the oven until golden brown.

Robert O.
Robert O.1 years ago

Looks good and seems like a nice recipe. Thank you.

Erin H.
Erin H.1 years ago

Sounds delicious!