Panzanella Salad is a quick and easy salad made from tomatoes and (often stale) bread. Also known as Italian Bread Salad or Panmolle it is an effortless way to make an impressive salad!
What does Panzanella mean
Panzanella refers to the pairing of bread and salad, having Tuscan Origins using tomatoes and a simple dressing.
Often served with red wine vinegar, it is a well balanced light salad that is filled out with torn pieces of crusty toasted bread.
This salad is most often served cold, but the bread can be freshly toasted from the oven given the salad a warm comforting appeal!
Be it a weekend BBQ, side dish for fish or chicken, this easy summer salad suits many occasions.
What do you serve with Panzanella Salad
As this salad is light and versatile, it has a number of serving options that suit.
You can serve it with chicken, fish, ham or roast lamb. Or on its own as a light lunch!
It can be made and kept drizzle free, then topped with the dressing when you are read to serve it.
Take it to a BBQ, pot luck or picnic! This salad works for so many occasions.
The ingredients for this recipe are simple and easy to find. They are set out in the photo below so you can see exactly what you need:
As you can see, we have:
- bread (I use a crusty white loaf)
- cherry tomatoes
- medley tomatoes
- grape tomatoes
- basil leaves
- salt (can use sea salt, regular is fine if you don't have)
- red wine vinegar
- olive oil
When choosing your tomatoes, try to go for a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, this will add to the visual appeal of the salad!
The photos below are the easy step by step instructions you need to bring this dish together:
- Use a knife to slice the bread in half (Photo 1)
- Lay it on a lined baking tray and spray with cooking oil, bake till toasted, 5-10 mins (Photo 2)
- Use a knife to chop tomatoes in half (Photo 3)
- Add chopped tomatoes to a bowl and season with salt (Photo 4)
I don't use pepper for this salad, just a little sprinkle of salt (sea salt if you have) to season the tomatoes
The spray oil helps get the bread all crispy and delicious also known as the crunch factor!
- Add basil leaves to tomatoes (Photo 5)
- Then drizzle olive oil over tomato basil mix (Photo 6)
- Add capers to salad (Photo 7)
- Followed by anchovies (Photo 8)
The anchovies and capers give both taste and texture to this salad. Whilst they are not traditional to every Panzanella Salad recipe, they are seriously delicious additions!
- Remove bread from oven once toasted, use a knife to cut (Photo 9)
- Then use fingers to tear the strips into rough pieces (Photo 10)
Warm Panzanella Salad
Each time I have made this salad, I have waited till the very last minute to remove the baking tray with bread from the oven.
There is something seriously delicious about warm, toasted, crunchy bread with the tomato salad, drizzled with vinegar which sops into the bread!
If you are not looking to serve your salad straight away, keep the toasting of the bread and drizzling with red wine vinegar till last.
That way your salad won't be soggy and your bread will be warm, toasted and delicious!
Frequently asked questions
- there is 9 total ingredients for this recipe!
- substitute spinach or rocket leaves for the basil if you wish
- use the full loaf of bread to bulk the salad up further (larger salad)
- you can use your favourite bread, rye, sourdough, white, etc
- this is a quick, easy and simple recipe!
- you can serve this as a warm salad by adding the toasted bread at the end!
- medley tomatoes are a mixed bag of colours and sizes
- the red wine vinegar has a sweet unique taste
Your quick questions answered
- the capers and anchovies are not essential but add flavour and texture!
- don't dress the salad till ready to serve
- the recipe takes approx 15 - 20 mins
- this salad is perfect for BBQ's or alongside fish, chicken or lamb
These tips are to help you master this recipe from the 1st time you make it:
- Use a knife and chopping board for the tomato and bread prep
- No need to chop the basil, add the full leaves as they are!
- The bread won't have any softness if you cut it into pieces before toasting, toast the ½ loaf and tear to reveal soft fluffy bread
- Do all of the prep but hold off dressing till ready to serve to avoid soggyness
The bursts of the capers contrast beautifully with the salty chewy anchovies and each mouthful is pure bliss!
Light and Easy meals
If entertaining, brunching and lunching are your thing, try these ideas:
Salads add colour, texture and fun to the table. Here are some you might enjoy:
- Caprese Salad (with only 6 ingredients)
- Roast Chicken Salad (using store bought chicken)
- Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad
- Chicken Cucumber Salad
Or check out all salad recipes for inspo!
PIN and save the recipe for later!
- Chopping board
- Serving platter
- 4 cups mixed tomatoes Note 1
- 1 Vienna loaf Note 2
- 6 anchovies Note 3, drained, not rinsed
- ¼ cup capers drained, not rinsed
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ bunch basil leaves pulled from stem
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, cut your loaf of bread in half lengthways, place cut side up on baking tray and spray with cooking oil
- Place bread in oven till bread is toasted and golden (approximately 5-10 mins)
- Meanwhile cut your tomatoes in halves and quarters, add to a medium size bowl and season with salt.
- Pull basil leaves from stems add to tomatoes, followed by capers and anchovies
- Once bread is toasted use a knife to roughly chop into strips and fingers to pull into chunky pieces
- Line salad platter with bread
- Top with tomato basil mix
- When ready to serve drizzle olive oil over tomato basil salad, then drizzle bread pieces and salad with red wine vinegar,
- Note 1 I use a combination of shapes, sizes and textures for this salad. Try and go for both red and orange tomatoes or purchase a 'medley' pack for variety then add in some smaller cherry tomatoes.
- Note 2 This is approximately 50 grams of anchovies. So if you get a 100 gram bottle or tin, you can use ½ for this recipe and ½ for another!
- Note 3 You can use sourdough, rye bread, Vienna, Tiger bread, a baguette. The key is to use bread that is at least one day old so it is state and a little crusty!
I am sharing this one with you as it is quick, easy and delicious!
It will have your back on its own, come BBQ, chicken, fish, or grilled meats.
The intention for this recipe is to deliver taste, texture and a light vinegar zesty-ness that is not in an everyday garden salad.
Using your bread to soak up the juices is the highlight of this recipe, alongside the crunchy, flaky bread crumbs as they float down onto the plate.
Please give me a shout if you have questions or make the recipe as I would love to hear your feedback.
Tomato salad, red wine vinegar and toasted crunchy bread, let's go to heaven my friends!