Summer Panzanella Salad

This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share a commission.

Summer Panzanella Salad is bursting with bright, fresh flavors including garden tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, and basil. The addition of toasted bread, pepperoncini slices, fresh mozzarella, and a zesty red wine vinaigrette makes this a recipe repeat. Super fresh and delicious!

For other delicious salads, try my Mediterranean Chopped SaladBest Italian Chopped Salad, or my Shrimp Avocado Salad!

A bowl of bread salad with wooden salad.

What is Panzanella Salad?

Panzanella Salad is a traditional Italian recipe made with stale bread, onions and juicy tomatoes. Occasionally, you’ll find additional ingredients in it – like basil, cucumbers, and other things. For my version, I added cucumbers, basil, jarred pepperoncini slices, and fresh mozzarella.

I recommend using a crusty bread which is perfect if you’re like me and you have gobs of homemade bread in your freezer. Between my continual sourdough testing and my chewy French bread obsession, I never EVER run out!

A serving of summer panzanella salad with a gray napkin.

Ingredients Used:

  • Bread – Use any crusty bread you can find. Sourdough bread is always a great option for toasted bread cubes.
  • Tomatoes – Garden fresh tomatoes are best, but if you don’t have access to them, use any ripe cherry tomatoes you can find in the store or farmers market!
  • Cucumber – I prefer English cucumbers but use the best summer produce you can find.
  • Arugula – My recent obsession is the peppery green. Ask my hubby!
  • Red Onion – Red onion is perfect in this salad.
  • Fresh Basil – Luckily, I have a large pot of basil on my deck and I’ve been trimming leaves from it all summer long. Basil adds a nice fresh flavor to this panzanella salad recipe.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – Use either marinated fresh mozzarella balls or regular fresh – and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Pepperoncini Slices – I like the hot version of this jarred pepper best!
  • A Red Wine Vinaigrette – A simple salad dressing of extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar, and seasonings (onion powder, Italian Seasoning, a pinch of salt, and pepper). A squeeze of fresh lemon juice would also be a nice addition.
The ingredients in separate bowls.

How to make Summer Panzanella Salad:

Step 1
Prep the bread. Chop the bread into 1-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Step 2
Toast the bread. Toast the bread in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown and crunchy, about 15 minutes.

Step 3
Prep the remaining ingredients. Prepare the remaining salad ingredients and add to a large serving bowl. Add the toasted and cooled chunks of crusty bread as well.

Step 4
Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar – the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar, and seasonings. Shake well.

Step 5
Add the dressing to the salad. About 15 minutes before serving, add the tangy dressing to the salad and toss to combine.

Step 6
Serve. Serve the salad in individual bowls immediately. The salad is best the first day as the bread tends to get soggy.

Italian Bread Salad Recipe Variations

This salad is flexible, so make it to your liking! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Change up the proportion of veggies. Don’t like arugula? Use more fresh ripe tomatoes.
  • Heirloom tomatoes add even more color to this salad.
  • Add peaches for a perfect summer fruit.
  • Add grilled corn or bell peppers.
  • Top the salad with shaved Parmesan.
  • Replace fresh mozzarella with marinated mozzarella balls. Burrata cheese would also be nice.
  • Add dollops of fresh pesto at the end.
  • Add canned chickpeas to the salad or better yet – my crispy chickpeas!
Closeup on a bowl of panzanella salad with wooden spoons.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

A bowl of the panzanella salad with arugula.

Summer Panzanella Salad

Summer Panzanella Salad is bursting with bright, fresh flavors including garden tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, and basil. The addition of toasted bread, pepperoncini slices, fresh mozzarella, and a zesty red wine vinaigrette makes this a recipe repeat. Super fresh and delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 478kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the bread:

  • 8 oz. bread (about 6-8 cups) – cut into one inch cubes
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt – to taste

For the other salad ingredients:

  • 4 cups ripe tomatoes – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups English cucumbers – sliced or cubed
  • 1/2 cup red onion – sliced thin
  • 4 cups arugula – or other salad greens
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella – cubed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil – chiffonade
  • pepperoncini slices – optional

For the dressing:

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • a pinch of sugar – for a little sweetness
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

Instructions

  • Prep the bread. Chop the bread into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Toast the bread. Toast the bread in a preheated 400 degree oven until slightly browned and crunchy, about 15 minutes.
  • Prep the remaining ingredients. Prepare the remaining salad ingredients and add to a large bowl. Add the toasted and cooled bread as well.
  • Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar – the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar, and seasonings. Shake well.
  • Add the dressing to the salad. About 15 minutes before serving, add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.
  • Serve. Serve the salad in individual bowls immediately. The salad is best the first day as the bread tends to get soggy.

Notes

Possible Recipe Variations:
  • Change up the proportion of veggies. Don’ like arugula, use more fresh tomatoes.
  • Add peaches for a perfect summer fruit.
  • Add grilled corn or bell peppers.
  • Top the salad with shaved Parmesan.
  • Replace fresh mozzarella with marinated mozzarella balls.
  • Add dollops of fresh pesto at the end.
  • Add canned chickpeas to the salad or better yet – my crispy chickpeas!

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 377mg | Potassium: 445mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1482IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 239mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

2 Comments

  1. An awesome summer salad that is refreshing! Love the idea of using leftover bread.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      We always have leftover bread, right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating