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During the warmer months, I love salads, including caprese salad, tomato and avocado salad, and this hearty Italian panzanella.
One of my favorite parts of summer is all the fresh seasonal produce. Panzanella salad is my favorite way to display summer tomatoes, and it's easy to make, too!
How is panzanella made?
The first step is to prepare your bread cubes. Mix the bread in olive oil, then bake in the oven until crisp and lightly browned. Chop the vegetables and make a simple dressing with red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings. Place the vegetables and bread cubes in a large bowl, then pour the dressing over the top. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Add fresh basil, then serve the salad and enjoy.
Tips for the perfect salad.
- Any type of ripe tomato will work for this dish. I usually use small tomatoes on the vine, but other great options include heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes.
- I prefer to use English cucumbers in this dish, but Persian cucumbers are also an excellent choice. You can also use traditional waxy cucumbers, just be sure to remove the peel first.
- Choose a hearty and dense bread for best results. I usually use rustic Italian-style bread.
- Any bell pepper color will work in this recipe, I like to use yellow bell peppers for color contrast, but red or orange will work just as well.
- I use a mandolin to cut my red onion into thin slices.
- The dressing for this recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance.
What do you serve with panzanella?
I find that panzanella pairs well with grilled meats such as chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon. This salad is also great when served alongside a whole roast chicken or roast beef. I usually serve another dish with my panzanella and meat, such as assorted grilled vegetables, roasted potatoes, or a grain-based salad, such as a quinoa salad.
Can you make panzanella in advance?
This salad tastes best when prepared at least 30 minutes in advance. This allows the dressing a chance to soak up and really flavor the bread and vegetables. I recommend serving the salad within 6 hours of making it.
While this recipe is great as written, you can add other ingredients to the mix to customize to your liking.
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- Protein: Add a source of protein such as white beans, ham, bacon, grilled chicken, or shrimp to turn this salad into a complete meal.
- Vegetables – Feel free to add more vegetables to your salad, such as artichokes, avocado, olives, mushrooms, spinach, shaved fennel, or corn.
- Cheese: I love to add cheese like fresh mozzarella balls, cubes of provolone cheese, or shaved parmesan.
Once you taste this salad, you will find yourself preparing it all year round, it's so good!
More salad recipes you'll love
- Chinese chicken salad
- Fattoush salad
- Olive garden salad
- Green Bean Salad
- Creamy cucumber salad
Panzanella Salad Video
This panzanella salad is tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cucumber, and toast cubes, all mixed with a homemade dressing. A fresh and light salad that is perfect for summer entertainment!
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Cooling time 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 Calories: 303kcal
For the salad
- 4 cups rustic Italian-style bread cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 English cucumber cut in half, seeded and sliced
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 3 cups tomato cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons of capers
- 1/2 cup sliced basil leaves
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the salad
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place bread cubes in bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to coat.
- Bake the bread cubes for 10-15 minutes until dry and lightly browned.
- Place the bread, cucumber, onion, tomato, bell peppers, and capers in a large bowl.
For the dressing
- Place all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth.
- Pour the dressing over the bread and vegetables. Mix gently to combine.
- Cover and chill the salad for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.
- Add the basil and then serve.
Calories :: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 14 g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 425 mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2345 IU | Vitamin C: 9.8mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1.7mg