Panzanella Salad is the perfect summer salad and is the perfect solution for stale bread and an overabundant tomato crop! It’s a delicious Italian Salad perfect for summer BBQ’s and cookouts.
Summer Salads are on the menu and some of our favorites include this Blueberry and Corn Salad which is delicious and a unique combination. Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad is perfect for strawberry season is Strawberry Avocado Salad.
What is Panzanella Salad?
Panzanella Salad is a traditional bread salad from Tuscany, usually made with day old bread with a combination of tomatoes, basil, olive oil and vinegar. This salad is also known as Tomato Bread Salad.
How to Make Panzanella Salad
The basis of a good Panzanella Salad is fresh ingredients vegetables and good quality day old bread! I like to use a crusty Italian or French bread that I slice into cubes myself. Heat your olive oil in a pan and then saute the cubes of bread until they are toasted and golden brown. Let them soak up all that delicious olive oil! The hardest part is not eating all the bread before you put it in the salad.
Be sure and use fresh vegetables too. The recipe called for yellow and red peppers, fresh ripe cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh basil. This is the perfect summer salad when tomatoes are at their best and there is fresh basil in the garden.
All the ingredients are cut up into bite size pieces and combined in a bowl. Then, lightly coat with a delicious vinaigrette and top with capers which add a lot of additional flavor. For your vinaigrette you can use any specialty flavored vinegar you may have on hand. I have used a Champagne vinegar but most often just use white wine vinegar which I always have on hand. Any lightly flavored vinegar would work well.
What can I use in place of Capers?
If you can’t find or don’t have capers on hand just add some additional salt to taste to the salad. Capers provide a salty, olivey, slightly lemony flavor to the salad. I love them but I know there are people that don’t care for them. A caper is actually the unopened flower bud from the caper bush. You can also replace them with green or black olives if you like.
This salad totally fits my requirement for food being pretty and delicious. The colors are beautiful and the flavor is amazing. It is also a salad that holds up well in the heat, no lettuce or spinach to wilt which makes it perfect for outdoor dining in the summer.
Some more delicious dishes to serve at a summer BBQ include these:
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Panzanella Salad Recipe
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. french bread cut into 1 inch cubes (6 cups)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 ripe tomatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cucumber unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 red onion cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
- 20 large basil leaves coarsley chopped
- 3 Tbsp. capers drained
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 tsp. garlic finely minced
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp. vinegar Champagne or white wine
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper freshly ground
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan
- Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently for 10 minutes or until nicely browned
- Add more oil as needed
- For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together
- In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers
- Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette
- Season liberally with salt and pepper
- Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend