Panzanella Salad

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I’ve put a little twist on a classic Italian Panzanella Salad that takes it to the next level. If you’ve never had a panzanella salad before, it’s a must, especially as the weather gets warmer. Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan and Umbrian “peasant” salad that was created to use up stale bread 🥖. My version features charred crostini instead, with a mix of onions, fresh tomatoes 🍅 and a simple dressing that is just beautifully absorbed by the bread. Panzanella Salad often includes cucumbers and sometimes basil or fresh parsley.

Why You’ll Love Panzanella Salad

This is summer freshness in a bowl and a great way to highlight the star of summer: garden-fresh 🍅 tomatoes. The crisp crostini elevates the humble Panzanella Salad, but you could also go old-school and use up that loaf sitting on the counter. Whichever way you do it, the way that crunchy bread bite soaks up the sweet juices of the tomatoes and olive oil is absolute perfection👌. It’s the perfect crunchy, juicy bite bursting with summer freshness. I know you’ll make this again and again (and again!).

How to Prepare Panzanella Salad

🥖 First, cut the baguette into 4-5 slices and drizzle each side with a little bit of olive oil.

🔥Next, oil up a grill pan and on medium-high heat toast the slices on each side until charred.

🧄Now, take it off the grill, cut the garlic clove in half and rub each slice of bread with it.

🔪 Using a sharp knife, cut the crostini and tomatoes into quarters, thinly slice the onion and then add it all to a bowl.

🌿 Add the basil, salt, and olive oil and toss together. Finally, add the grilled crostini pieces and toss again. Add feta or burrata on top, if using.

🧑‍🍳Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip 🍅

This salad is meant to be enjoyed right away because it will go soggy if it sits too long. If you’re making it for a party, grill the bread the day before and toss everything together just before you serve it.

Panzanella Salad
Panzanella Salad

Variations and Substitutions for Panzanella Salad

  1. Feel free to add 🥒 cucumber or balsamic vinegar if you wish.
  2. You already know me, and that feta is life, so I love this salad with feta or Burrata on top.
  3. Traditionally, the bread is toasted in the oven but I personally love the charred 🧄 garlic flavor I get from my grill pan on the stove.
  4. If you’re going the traditional route, you can use up any bread you have leftover: a baguette, ciabatta, corn bread, rye, whole wheat or a gluten-free bread loaf will work!

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Common Questions

What can I use instead of a grill pan?

You can absolutely do this recipe the traditional way and cube and toast the bread in the oven at 400F (200C) for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. If you want a few bits of char, put the bread under the broiler but watch carefully so they don’t burn!

can i make this ahead of time?

No, I wouldn’t suggest making a Panzanella Salad ahead. It will just get too soggy, too quickly. You could have all the bread toasted the day before and then toss everything together just before serving.

What kind of salt do you use?

Since there are so few ingredients in this Panzanella Salad, it’s important to choose high-quality ingredients so they really shine. I love using Redmond Real Salt-it’s the best!

What other ingredients can i add to the salad?

Cucumbers are always delicious in a Panzanella Salad, but you can take it even further and experiment a bit. I think avocadoes would be creamy and delicious, juicy peaches would be aaaaaamazing, crisp bell peppers or even olives would add a nice little punch too! Chopped parsley would absolutely work as well.

What kind of tomatoes are best?

Again, quality is key because tomatoes are the STAR in a Panzanella Salad. I love heirloom tomatoes but really, any red, plump and juicy tomato will work. I would choose garden-fresh or market-fresh and let them ripen a bit on the counter for the juiciest results.

Can i add cheese on top?

In my opinion, cheese takes this salad over the top! I love feta, of course, but soft and creamy burrata or fresh mozzarella would be heavenly, too. Cubed mozzarella would be nice and hold up its shape when tossed together.

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

I've put a little twist on a classic Italian Panzanella Salad that takes it to the next level. Panzanella or panmolle is a traditional Tuscan and Umbrian "peasant" salad that was created to use up stale bread. My version features charred crostini instead, with a mix of onions, fresh tomatoes and a simple dressing that is beautifully absorbed by the bread.
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Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 3
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 6 inch french baguette, or any bread cut into slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes, or any you like
  • basil leaves, chopped
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ clove garlic

Instructions 

  • Cut the baguette in 4-5 slices and drizzle each side with a little bit of olive oil. Get a grill pan, oil it up a bit, and on medium-high heat toast the slices on each side until charred. Take it iff the grill, cut the garlic clove in half and rub each slice with it. This will give the bread so much aroma and flavour.
  • Cut the crostini into quarters or any size pieces you like. Cut the tomatoes in quarters, slice the onion thinly, add it to a bowl. Add the basil, salt, and olive oil, stir. Add the grilled crostini pieces and toss. Optionally you can add feta or burrata on top.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.
  • This salad is meant to be enjoyed right away so if you are making it for a party you can grill the bread the day before and toss everything together before you serve it. It is not to be kept in the fridge because it will go soggy right away.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Sodium: 815mg, Potassium: 411mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1366IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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