Panzanella Salad Recipe is a delicious salad that perfect all year. It’s great on its own or as a side dish and works great alongside grilled meats or oven-roasted dinners.
WHAT THE HECK IS PANZANELLA?
Panzanella is a Tuscan chopped salad that is popular in the summer. It has day-old bread, onions, and tomatoes. It often includes cucumbers and basil. The traditional Panzanella salad is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. The bread soaks up the tomato juices and dressing and has the best texture and flavor!
I adapted the classic Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad) to our tastes and added capers, ham, mozzarella, bell peppers, and green onions. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking as well.
HOW TO MAKE PANZANELLA SALAD RECIPE
The bread and the tomatoes are the most important part of Italian Bread Salad.
The bread needs to be a hearty, artisan bread with a crunchy crust. Otherwise, it will become soggy and break-down in the salad. I love a chewy sourdough or ciabatta. The bread is best if it’s a little stale so that it’ll soak up the dressing and tomato juices. If you don’t have day-old bread simply allow it to sit out unwrapped overnight. As well, you can toast bread cubes in the oven at 300°F for 15 to 20 minutes. You want it crunchy and dry not toasted.
For the tomatoes, you can use beautiful, juicy heirloom tomatoes. The juice will mix with the vinaigrette nicely and soak into the bread. Although Roma and grape tomatoes are not my first choice, they’re better choices in the winter than hot-house ripened regular tomatoes.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.
I updated this post from an earlier version. I made new photos and simplified the recipe instructions.
For the vinaigrette:
For the salad:
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups bread artisan sourdough or ciabatta, cubed
- 1 large head romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 medium cucumber seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 medium bell pepper red, yellow, or orange, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 large tomatoes Heirloom, Roma, or grape, chopped
- 20 large basil leaves coarsely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons capers drained
- 2 cups cubed ham
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese cubed
- 3 medium green onions chopped OR 1/2 c red onion, sliced thin
- Heat the 3 Tablespoons oil in a large saute pan. Add bread. Cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Set bread cubes aside.
- Whisk together all Vinaigrette ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion, basil, capers, ham and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Toss vegetables with vinaigrette and allow to sit about an hour. Fifteen minutes before serving add bread cubes and toss.