Easy Panzanella Toscana Salad

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Chloe
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This Easy Panzanella Toscana Salad is a delightful mix of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and fragrant basil, all tossed with chunks of Italian bread and a zesty vinaigrette.

A bowl of panzanella salad
Panzanella Toscana Salad

Panzanella Toscana is an Italian bread salad from the Tuscany region. It’s a fresh, hearty salad made with chunks of toasted bread, juicy tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and basil. Who can resist a fresh Mediterranean salad with these flavors!

Why You’ll Love It

  • Everything gets tossed together with a tangy dressing made from olive oil, vinegar, and a touch of mustard. The bread soaks up the tasty dressing, making it delicious and satisfying.
  • It’s a perfect summer dish that’s both refreshing and filling.
  • This salad is a great way of using up leftover bread and reduce food waste! You can make it as an appetizer, lunch, or even dinner and also use it as leftovers.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients for Panzanella salad
  • Day-old Italian Bread – Torn into bite-size pieces. You can use an Italian loaf, or if you can’t find it, use a French loaf. As long as it’s slightly dense and isn’t freshly baked.
  • High-Quality Olive Oil – The dressing flavor depends largely on the quality of the olive oil, so use a high-quality tasty oil.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic that hasn’t been too long in the fridge will give the best flavor.
  • Red Onion – The red onions give a nice crunch and pepperiness.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Use only ripe, tasty tomatoes that are bursting with flavor. Mediocre tomatoes will be the demise of the salad.
  • Cucumber – Leave the peel on for added texture and color.
  • Basil Leaves – I use Genovese basil from my garden. You could use Thai basil for a slight licorice taste.
  • Capers – Capers add an acidity that helps cut through the olive oil.
  • Dijon Mustard – Serves as a binder for the vinaigrette.
  • Red Wine Vinegar -If you’re out of it, you can substitute it with white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even balsamic vinegar.
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste

Helpful Tips

  • Use ripe, flavorful tomatoes for the best taste. Look for tomatoes that are firm but yield slightly to pressure when gently squeezed.
  • Stale bread works best because it absorbs the dressing without becoming too soggy. If your bread isn’t stale, you can cube it and lightly toast it in the oven to achieve a similar texture.
  • Start by adding a little dressing and gradually add more as needed. You don’t want the salad to become overly soggy.
  • Basil is delicate, so tear it or chop it just before adding it to the salad to prevent it from wilting.
  • A crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light red like Chianti pairs beautifully with Panzanella.
A bowl of panzanella salad

Easy Panzanella Toscana Salad

This Easy Panzanella Toscana Salad is a delightful mix of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and fragrant basil, all tossed with chunks of Italian bread and a zesty vinaigrette.
5 from 34 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Servings: 2 Servings
Calories: 439kcal
Author: Chloe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (56 g) day old Italian bread torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) high-quality olive oil divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 thin slice red onion quartered
  • 5 ounces (142 g) mixed cherry tomatoes about 12 tomatoes
  • 6 slices cucumber seeded, not peeled, cut in half
  • 5 large basil leaves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) capers drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200° C).
  • Combine the bread, half of the olive oil, salt and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Toss until well combined.
  • Transfer the bread to a large baking sheet and spread it out into one layer.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly toasted.
  • Remove from oven and transfer bread back to the mixing bowl to cool.
  • Combine the remaining olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl or sealable jar. Whisk or shake until emulsified.
  • Add the red onions, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers, basil, and capers to the bowl with the bread
  • Pour the dressing over the top. Toss to coat.
  • Allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to meld before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 822mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 422IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg

How to Store

Leftovers can be refrigerated, but the bread will continue to absorb moisture, so it’s best enjoyed within a day or two. If you plan to store it, consider keeping the bread separate until you’re ready to serve to help maintain its crispness.

A bowl of panzanella salad

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