Italian bread salad, or ‘Panzanella’ : a delicious summer salad

This Italian bread salad recipe is traditionally made in the Tuscany region as part of the summer table - but it’s delicious at any time of year.

Italians always find ways of using leftover bread, and this is one of them.  Make sure you use a good, solid loaf. Ordinary white bread won’t work well - its consistency is too soft and it will disintegrate.

Italian bread salad

This recipe, like many recipes from Italy, calls for chopped garlic.

If you haven’t already got one, consider buying the Chef'n Garlic Zoom (UK visitors use this link : Chef'n Garlic Zoom)

It makes chopping garlic so easy - and saves your hands from smelling!


✱  1 loaf Italian bread

✱  3 cloves garlic

✱  1 cup chopped tomatoes

✱  1 cup chopped cucumber

✱  1 stick celery

✱  1 cup chopped red onion

✱  2 cups chopped fresh basil

✱  1/8 cup chopped fresh thyme

✱  0.5 cup olive oil

✱  2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

How to make it

✱  This salad is best prepared and presented in a wooden salad bowl, if you have one. 

✱  Peel one clove of garlic and use it to rub around the bowl.

✱  Take the loaf and cut it into small cubes. Put into a baking tray, drizzle with half the olive oil and sprinkle on one chopped garlic clove.

Italian bread salad

✱  Toast in a medium oven until the bread is brown and quite crisp - just a little less toasted than croutons.

✱  Chop all the remaining ingredients to roughly similar sized pieces.

✱  Combine all the ingredients except the bread in the bowl.

✱  Add the bread only immediately before you intend to serve the salad - if it's added early it will absorb the liquid from the other ingredients and become too soggy.

✱  Now drizzle the remaining oil and vinegar over and serve.

✱  Although it’s not part of the traditional Italian bread salad, including mozarella is a tasty addition.


Best bread maker review link

If you’re looking for a great meat dish to go with your salad, here's how to make Italian meatballs - you can eat them hot or cold.

Or if fish is your favourite, try the bread salad with one of the best Italian seafood recipes ever - they go really well together.

More Italian salad recipe pages