Summer Panzanella Salad with golden chunks of bread, tomatoes, basil, and a simple vinaigrette. This Tuscan-style tomato bread salad is perfect for summer entertaining.
Why You’ll Love this Panzanella Salad
This beautiful Summer Panzanella Salad is filled to the brim with nutritious summer staples. A mix of tomatoes, basil, fruit, red onion, and a light vinaigrette dressing. This fresh, flavorful salad is the epitome of summer entertaining and the ultimate crowd pleaser!
It’s also super versatile–feel free to use any mix of produce you like! For example, I love adding either mango, peaches, or nectarines for a burst of sweetness. Additionally, mozzarella or burrata cheese are always easy ways to elevate it.
This tomato bread salad is best served alongside anything hot off the grill–fish, chicken, burgers, or shrimp kabobs. It’s also fantastic paired with a bowl of soup or a melty panini sandwich.
- Bread: I suggest using ciabatta or a baguette that is at least 1 to 2 days old. The more stale the bread, the crispier it will get in the oven. You need 8 ounces total, which amounts to roughly 6 cups cubed.
- Tomatoes: Tis the season for a bounty of summer tomatoes! You can use heirlooms, cherry tomatoes, or a mix of whatever looks best at your farmers market or garden.
- Basil: While basil is at peak freshness, this herb adds bright, fresh flavor. You can use a mix of green, purple, Thai, or whatever you have growing in abundance.
- Fruit: I love adding a sweet summer fruit such as watermelon, mango, peaches or nectarines. If using the latter two, there’s no need to peel them.
- Dressing: This simple dressing calls for olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Most of which you hopefully already have on hand! Alternatively, you can use lemon juice in place of the vinegar.
Step 1: Toast the Bread
Preheat the oven to 425ºF and spread the cubes of bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt; toss to combine. Place the bread in the oven and bake until the edges are brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Step 2: Make the Panzanella Dressing
While the bread toasts, prepare the dressing. In a large serving bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to stir the dressing until it’s smooth. Next, place the red onion in the salad dressing and let sit for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Combine the Bread Salad Ingredients
Add the tomatoes, fruit, toasted bread, and basil to the bowl and toss with the dressing until everything is well-coated. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
Step 4: Garnish and Serve!
Lastly, stir in the mozzarella and burrata cheese, and add additional basil, if desired. If needed, feel free to toss with more olive oil, vinegar, and salt right before serving.
FAQs and Expert Tips
What to Serve with Panzanella Salad
Panzanella salad is delicious served alongside anything hot off the grill–chicken, fish, burgers, or shrimp kebabs. Additionally, it makes a great side dish for soup or stews, or cheesy panini sandwiches.
How Long Does Panzanella Salad Last?
Unfortunately, tomato bread salad doesn’t keep longer than 1 day. It’s best to make it a couple hours before serving, which gives the bread long enough to soak up the dressing. After it’s refrigerated, the bread will quickly become soggy.
What is the Best Bread to Use in Panzanella Salad?
Either ciabatta, crusty sourdough, or a baguette works best in tomato bread salad. You just want to make sure it’s a little stale– ideally one, two, or even three days old. This will help the bread crisp up, as well as prevent it from turning soggy too quickly.
More Summer Salad Recipes
Summer Panzanella Salad
- Baking sheet
- Mixing bowls
- 8 oz. ciabatta or baguette, preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 lb. tomatoes (heirloom, cherry tomatoes, or a mix of both) halved or cubed
- 1 cup cubed mango, peaches, or nectarines
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 6 oz. mozzarella or burrata cheese, torn or cubed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (sub lemon juice)
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spread bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt; toss to coat. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
- While bread toasts, prepare Panzanella Dressing by combining all ingredients (olive oil through black pepper) in a large serving bowl; stir with a whisk. Add red onion and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add toasted bread, tomatoes, fruit of choice, and basil to bowl with dressing; toss to coat. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with cheese and additional basil, if desired, right before serving. (If needed, toss with a little more olive oil, vinegar, and salt, too.)