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Panzanella Salad

The perfect salad - light, bright and full of flavor! Fresh tomatoes, cucumber, basil and crusty bread, tossed in oil and vinegar dressing.

Panzanella Salad is an Italian  bread salad that was originally created as a way to use up stale bread  to soak up the juice from the fresh tomatoes. If you don’t have stale bread, just toast with some oil in the oven.

For the dressing, I use 2 to 1 ratio for oil to vinegar so adjust as needed depending on serving. I use red wine vinegar but you can also substitute with balsamic.

Panzanella Salad (Tuscan Bread Salad)

Serves 4-6



½ ciabatta or baguette, cut in cubes (better if stale)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt,  pepper, garlic powder ( optional)


3-4 tomatoes cut into cubes

1-2  cucumbers cut into cubes

½ red onion, thinly sliced

Basil leaves, torn

Optional ingredients: bell pepper, kalamata olives or capers


1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil ( or more as needed)

2  Tablespoons  red wine vinegar ( or more as needed)

1-2 garlic cloves minced

½ teaspoon each salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss bread with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder on a baking sheet. Toast until golden, about 15 minutes and cool.

(Alternative: heat oil in large pan and add bread, salt, pepper and garlic powder and cook approximately 10 minutes, tossing frequently until browned. Add more oil, as needed)

For the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, basil and optional ingredients. . Add toasted bread and toss with vinaigrette. Let sit for 15- 30 minutes, tossing occasionally,  to allow flavors to blend and the bread to soften.


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