Panzanella Salad


Now I present to you the final recipe of my Italian feast.  Mind you by this point my guest had arrived and I was trying to cook, entertain and photograph all at the same time.  Unfortunately due to my lacking skills in multitasking, step-by-step photos didn’t happen and may of them were blurred.   The good news is I didn’t burn myself, sever any fingers or accidentally poison my guest, so I think I did ok.

This was my first Pazanella Salad and why I deprived myself so long of this beautiful salad is beyond me.  I guess I always thought that it was just a salad with glorified croutons.  I was so wrong and I am so sorry.  *Stupid, stupid, stupid*


I made this salad with a day old loaf of homemade olive oil bread, but you don’t have to do that, a store bought French bread or boule will work just fine.  I just lucked out and happened to have some dough in the refrigerator.  Thanks to this wicked awesome cookbook!


This salad is everything you could ever want it to be, full of flavor, textures, color and simple….simple good!  Nothing complicated about this dish.  To make my life a wee bit easier I made the dressing and chopped the vegetables the night before.  When it was time to assemble I just toasted the bread in a cast iron skillet, combined everything and tossed.   I almost followed the recipe to a “T”, but I left out the capers and basil….only because I was distracted.  :(   But it;s all good, it was still delicious and nutritious!


The salad was an instant hit and of course my guest were picking out their favorites.  Some liked more peppers, some liked more tomato. but everyone wanted more bread.

The idea that a Panzanella is a salad with glorified crutons was so wrong.  Croutons are there just as a garnish but in a Panzanella the bread is the star.  It takes in all the flavor of the salad without getting soggy, it really is a wonderful salad.   Perfect for the summer and a better option than a heavy potato or pasta salad.

Panzanella Salad
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
For Salad:
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ red onion, cut in ½ and thinly sliced
  • 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tsp finely minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup good olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. 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.
  2. For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
  3. 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


  1. Diana says

    The only problem with this recipe is that my husband won’t let me stop making it. It has become almost a summer staple in our house. I added cubed low fat mozzarella and made it a meal. YUMMY!

  2. Lisa Strickland says

    Ok so this morning I have prepped the vinagarette and veggies for our early dinner later and put my crusted pork in the oven. I can’t wait to see how this turns out because they all smell delicious right now! Thanks for all of the yummy reciepes!

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