Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)

You now how much you love croutons? Imagine a whole salad made out of them! Ha! That’s Panzanella, an Italian bread salad that you’re going to love to bits.

You now how much you like croutons? Imagine a whole salad made out of them! Ha! That's Panzanella, an Italian bread salad that I know you're going to love to bits.

Italian Bread Salad, also called Panzanella, is seriously delicious. It’s basically cubed stale bread, or toast, that is mixed with some vegetables and tossed with salad dressing.

Don’t start thinking it’s weird. It’s really not. Think about how much you love croutons on salad. Well, croutons are bread with dressing on them. Same deal. Just, a different ratio. Instead of lots of vegetables and a few croutons, you have lots of croutons and a few vegetables. It’s like a whole salad made out of croutons. How could that be bad?

To make the panzanella, toast some bread and then rub the cut side of a halved garlic clove all over both sides. Soooo much garlic flavor ends up on the toast from this step. Then you chop up some sun dried tomatoes, regular tomatoes and some red onion. Put that in stuff in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Finally, cube the toast and put it in the bowl. Give it all a good toss and then serve soon. If you leave it too long, the bread gets mushy, which is not good at all.

Thinking about salad and dressing and bread reminded me of another favorite recipe of mine. This one’s for a Flatbread Salad with Buffalo Chicken. Do give it a try as well!

Flatbread Salad with Buffalo Chicken and Grilled Vidalia Onions

And now here’s my easy panzanella recipe.

Have a great day!

Italian Bread Salad

Ingredients:

  • ½lb of bread (half of a good-sized loaf) hand-sliced to the thickest size that will fit in your toaster
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and halved
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes that were packed in oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley plus 1-2 tbsps more for garnish

Directions:

  1. Use a toaster to toast the bread slices. While the toast is still warm, rub both sides of each slice with the cut side of the garlic. Set the toast aside to cool. Rub the cut side of the remaining stub of garlic all over the inside of a large bowl. Discard the last bit of the clove.
  2. Finely chop the sun dried tomatoes. Scrape the sun dried tomatoes and any of their oil on the cutting board into the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the bit of parsley that will be saved for a garnish. Stir to combine.
  3. Use a bread knife to cut the toast into one inch cubes. Add the toast to the bowl. Stir it all around for a few minutes so that the tomatoes bruise into the bread as it sucks up all the flavors. Taste. Add a bit more salt and pepper if desired (I almost always add more pepper). Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.
This post was originally published in May of 2012. It was completely revised in March 2016.

13 Responses to “Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)”

  1. Angela — May 24, 2012 @ 11:40 pm (#)

    Before I started avoiding wheat, this was one of my favorite ways to use up crusty bread. Love the addition of the sun dried tomatoes.

  2. Paula — May 24, 2012 @ 1:49 pm (#)

    Looks wonderful. Love your idea to toast the bread and rub a garlic glove over it.

    • Christine — May 24, 2012 @ 8:21 pm (#)

      Thanks Paula!

  3. phyllis — May 23, 2012 @ 8:55 pm (#)

    I love all kinds of bread, but have to admit, bread soaked in olive oil, sun dried tomatoes and garlic sounds awesome, and we will definitely try this one with extra for morning eggs. Thanks.

    • Christine — May 24, 2012 @ 8:21 pm (#)

      Mom, you guys will love it. I kept thinking of you every time I had a mouthful.

  4. Christine — May 23, 2012 @ 7:34 pm (#)

    Great recipe! I recently tried for the 1st time a soggy bread salad with pepperoni in pesto sauce at Lupa in Hong Kong and it was simplyndelicious.
    Gonna have to try your recipe!

    • Christine — May 24, 2012 @ 8:20 pm (#)

      Pepperoni in the bread salad would be incredible. You know, it never occurred to me to add meat!

  5. Mike Pittman — May 23, 2012 @ 6:38 pm (#)

    I LOVE soggy bread. Wether its in french onion soup or even a slice of buttered rye bread dipped in a soup like hamburger veg. Love it! Gonna have to try that one tho!

    • Christine — May 23, 2012 @ 7:17 pm (#)

      Good point! Bread dipped in soup is a very good thing. I bet you’d like this salad :)

  6. Jonathon Stirlings — May 23, 2012 @ 1:58 pm (#)

    This is a great great recipe. I love these soggy bread thing.

    -Jonathon

    • Christine — May 23, 2012 @ 2:24 pm (#)

      Thanks Jonathon!

  7. {Adventuresindinner} — May 23, 2012 @ 12:42 pm (#)

    YOU ARE BRILLIANT to put this on eggs. Can’t wait to try out your recipe. It looks perfect.

    • Christine — May 23, 2012 @ 12:48 pm (#)

      Thank you Jane! It is truly fantastic on eggs. The acid in the salad against the richness of egg. And of course, bread, egg and tomato go together so well. Maybe some cheddar scrambled into the egg would be a nice touch too. A great brunch dish, totally.

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