Give new life to day-old bread with this easy summer salad recipe. This 30-minute Panzanella, a totally lettuce-free salad idea, will even have picky eaters running to the table!

Two plates with Panzanella salad.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Panzanella Salad Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for a panzanella salad.

Ingredient notes

  • Baguette or Italian bread loaf: Panzanella is a brilliant vehicle for day-old bread (score more ideas to put this to great use below!). If you’re starting with stale bread cubes, omit step 1 and jump right into step 2. Otherwise a fresh, crusty loaf will do.
  • Tomatoes: Root-to-stem eating at its best, I call for reserving the juice that drips off the cored, diced tomatoes to be strained and mixed into the Panzanella salad dressing. The firm tomato pieces will hold up beautifully in the salad with a little less moisture.
  • Cucumber: if using a hothouse cucumber, do not peel. Either way, remove the seeds, as they tend to make the salad too wet.
  • Basil: I call for fresh basil only, but if your herb garden is overflowing with parsley, oregano, or thyme, feel free to toss those in as well.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a very large bowl, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast in oven until cubes turn light golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow to cool completely.
Pieces of bread on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  1. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt together. Transfer to colander and set over the large bowl. Allow to drain about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve tomato juice.
Tomatoes in a colander.
  1. Set drained tomatoes aside. Into the reserved tomato juice, whisk in vinegar, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil. Add bread cubes, toss to coat and allow to stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Pieces of bread in a clear bowl with oil and spices.
  1. To the large bowl, stir in cucumbers, shallot, basil, and drained tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Panzanella salad in a clear bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 8 (2-cup) servings, ideal as a starter or side dish.
  • Make ahead: The bread will become soggy if stored overnight, so Panzanella is best served immediately and enjoyed as close as possible to the time you assemble it.
  • Pump up the protein: Make this salad a meal by tossing in a can of rinsed beans, or top each portion with a serving of diced Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Salmon, or Poached Shrimp.
Panzanella salad on a serving platter.

More tasty uses for day-old bread

Two plates with Panzanella salad.

Panzanella Salad

Give new life to day-old bread with this easy summer salad recipe. This 30-minute Panzanella, a totally lettuce-free salad idea, will even have picky eaters running to the table!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 8 (2 cup) servings
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Calories 296

Ingredients 

  • 1 baguette or italian bread loaf, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups) (see note 1)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 medium tomatoes, see note 2)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cucumber peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin (about 2 cups, see note 3)
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chiffonade (see note 4)

Instructions 

  • Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a very large bowl, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast in oven until cubes turn light golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt together. Transfer to colander and set over the large bowl. Allow to drain about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve tomato juice.
  • Set drained tomatoes aside. Into the reserved tomato juice, whisk in vinegar, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil. Add bread cubes, toss to coat and allow to stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • To the large bowl, stir in cucumbers, shallot, basil, and drained tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Baguette or Italian bread loaf: Panzanella is a brilliant vehicle for day-old bread (score more ideas to put this to great use below!). If you’re starting with stale bread cubes, omit step 1 and jump right into step 2. Otherwise a fresh, crusty loaf will do.
  2. Tomatoes: Root-to-stem eating at its best, I call for reserving the juice that drips off the cored, diced tomatoes to be strained and mixed into the Panzanella salad dressing. The firm tomato pieces will hold up beautifully in the salad with a little less moisture.
  3. Cucumber: if using a hothouse cucumber, do not peel. Either way, remove the seeds, as they tend to make the salad too wet.
  4. Basil: I call for fresh basil only, but if your herb garden is overflowing with parsley, oregano, or thyme, feel free to toss those in as well.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 8 2-cup servings, ideal as a starter or side dish.
  6. Make ahead: The bread will become soggy if stored overnight, so Panzanella is best served immediately and enjoyed as close as possible to the time you assemble it.
  7. Pump up the protein: Make this salad a meal by tossing in a can of rinsed beans, or top each portion with a serving of diced Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Salmon, or Poached Shrimp.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cupsCalories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 354mgPotassium: 330mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 775IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. Great recipe. Instead of the dressing, I added the marinade from a package of mozzarella pearls and 3 T of red wine vinegar to the tomato juice. I also seeded the tomatoes and captured the juice from the seeds and tomato cores separately from the tomato chunks to be sure I had enough juice. One boule from the grocery store bakery and 7 heirloom tomatoes made the perfect balance of bread to tomato. Thanks Meggan!5 stars