Bright and Colorful Panzanella Salad Recipe – A Tuscan Bread Salad

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Lunch doesn’t get much brighter and more summery than this stunning Panzanella Salad Recipe! This traditional Italian bread salad is ready to enjoy in 25-minutes and combines fresh and tantalizing ingredients including ciabatta, tomatoes, olive oil, and basil.

A bowl filled with toasted bread, tomatoes, red onion, and basil. A small jug of dressing sits on the side, and surrounding the bowl are some tomatoes on the vine and sunflowers. Text overlay says"Tuscan-Style Panzanella". Similar photos of the recipe from various angles are used throughout with different text overlays unless otherwise described.

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Panzanella Salad Recipe

The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions, to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required and understand the steps and timings involved.

Panzanella is a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. The name is believed to be a portmanteau of “pane”, Italian for bread, and “zanella”, a deep plate in which it is served.

Wikipedia

With its vibrant colours, fragrant basil, and fresh, seasonal tastes, this traditional Italian bread salad is a feast for the senses.

Although this salad can be served at any time of year, it is especially delicious during the summer months when fresh tomatoes are plentiful and in season.





The warm crusty bread gives enough weight to this salad that it may also be served as a stand-alone dinner in the summer – perfect for dining al fresco with friends and family.

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Assortment of Tomatoes
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Sliced Ciabatta

Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe

While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients and equipment needed for this recipe have been linked to Amazon or other stores if available online. Staple ingredients such as oil, salt, sugar, etc., aren’t always included here as you’re likely to have those in your kitchen. The complete list of ALL ingredients with measurements is found on the recipe card.

  • Fresh Produce – Red Onions, Tomatoes, Basil
  • Ciabatta – or other crusty Italian bread
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasoningthis recipe uses store-bought Italian Seasoning, but it is so easy to make your own herb mixes, especially if you already have a bunch of herbs and spices in your pantry already. Just mix equal measures of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and thyme. You can also add a pinch of garlic granules or powder as well as red chili flakes if you like. Store in an airtight jar and use in recipes as required.
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Honeytry to buy locally produced honey when possible.

Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. Please note, you can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).

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Toasted Ciabatta
Panzanella Salad Recipe (Tuscan Bread Salad)

More Recipes Using Tomatoes

One of the hero ingredients in this dish is tomatoes, so here are some more recipes using the same:

Toasted Torn Bread & Tomatoes for Panzanella

More Italian Recipes

Looking for more Italian dishes to make? Check these recipes out next:

Italian-Style Panzanella Salad

Recipe Tips

  • Place the sliced red onion in a large bowl with a metal colander on top. Then toss the chopped tomatoes with some salt in the colander and let the mixture stand for approximately half an hour. As the tomato juice drips into the bowl below, the liquid will soften the onion and minimize its bite, while infusing the tomato juice with incredible flavor. The result is more palatable raw onions for the salad and a more flavorful base for the homemade vinaigrette.
  • An assortment of fresh grape, cherry, and/or heirloom tomatoes will work great in this salad recipe. If possible, use a nice selection of yellow and red varieties, as shown, for a great presentation.
  • A simple seasoning blend of onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper is used to add flavor to the crusty toasted bread. For best results, reserve one-half teaspoon (or more, if desired) to flavor the vinaigrette, as well.

How Do I Make Panzanella Salad?

Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.

Panzanella Salad Recipe

Panzanella Salad

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Lunch doesn't get much brighter and more summery than this stunning Panzanella Salad Recipe! =

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

  • ½ medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 lb (450g) fresh cherry, grape, or heirloom tomatoes, cut in half or into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz (225g) Ciabatta or other crusty Italian bread, sliced ¾” thick
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh basil, rinsed and patted dry, torn into bite-sized pieces

For the Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp tomato juice from salted tomatoes (see instructions below)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp seasoning mixture (leftover from toasting the bread, see above)
  • 1 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Place the sliced red onion in a large bowl and set a metal colander on top.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the colander and sprinkle with the salt. Gently toss to combine and set aside for 20-30 minutes.

    Salting the Tomatoes
  3. Meanwhile, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

    Herb Mixture
  4. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Arrange the bread slices in the skillet and drizzle the remaining olive oil on top. Sprinkle with the garlic and onion powder mixture (Reserve some of the seasoning mixture to add to the vinaigrette) and heat for 4-5 minutes until the bread is nicely toasted on the bottom.

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  5. Turn the bread and sprinkle with additional seasoning mixture on top. Continue heating for 4-5 minutes until the bread is evenly browned.

    Toasted Bread
  6. Remove from heat and tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. Place the torn bread chunks in a bowl and set aside.

    Torn Bread Pieces
  7. Remove the colander from the large bowl and carefully drain out the tomato juice in the bowl to use in the vinaigrette. Set aside.
  8. Prepare the vinaigrette by combining two tablespoons of the reserved tomato juice with the remaining dressing ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.

    Lemon Vinaigrette
  9. Add the softened red onion, fresh basil, and toasted bread chunks to the seasoned tomatoes and gently toss to combine.

    Tossing Bread & Vegetables Together
  10. Drizzle a little of the vinaigrette on top of the salad and toss gently to combine.
  11. Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter and serve immediately with the remaining dressing on the side. Enjoy!

    Panzanella Salad Recipe

Notes

  • Place the sliced red onion in a large bowl with a metal colander on top. Then toss the chopped tomatoes with some salt in the colander and let the mixture stand for approximately half an hour. As the tomato juice drips into the bowl below, the liquid will soften the onion and minimize its bite, while infusing the tomato juice with incredible flavor. The result is more palatable raw onions for the salad and a more flavorful base for the homemade vinaigrette.
  • An assortment of fresh grape, cherry, and/or heirloom tomatoes will work great in this salad recipe. If possible, use a nice selection of yellow and red varieties, as shown, for a great presentation.
  • A simple seasoning blend of onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper is used to add flavor to the crusty toasted bread. For best results, reserve one-half teaspoon (or more, if desired) to flavor the vinaigrette, as well.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1584mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g

This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.

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Make It A Special Dinner!

You’ve made the salad, but what about the rest of the courses?

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