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Perfect Panzanella Bread Salad

Do you have some stale bread and tomatoes past their prime? Do not throw them out! Panzanella is a wonderful Italian salad designed for such ingredients, blending the bread and tomatoes with other tasty items to result in a spectacular salad. Bread might sound like an unusual item to add to a salad but actually it works really well. Not only are you using up the stale remnants of a loaf which would otherwise be thrown out, but you are making something truly tasty.

This tasty summer salad is easy enough for any beginner cook to master, and there is no ‘cooking’ as such involved anyway. You only have to prepare and combine the ingredients. Serve it with roast chicken or barbeque meat, and enjoy the lovely flavors and texture combination that panzanella offers. Each serving of this is less than 400 calories. The salad is vegetarian as it stands, but throw in some chopped anchovies or leftover cooked chicken if you want. Even a few shrimp could be incorporated into panzanella.

Once you have tasted this dish you will fall in love with the magnificent flavors. Also this dish was designed to use up leftover stale bread, it is a worthy meal in its own right, and the slightly dried-out bread is heavenly with the tomatoes, oil and vinegar dressing, and other ingredients in there. This recipe is easy to double or even triple if you want to feed a crowd, and although it is best served right away it can also be refrigerated for a few hours if you need to make it ahead.

Italian Bread Salad with Tomatoes
Summary: Panzanella is a famous Italian salad made with bread and tomatoes. Other ingredients include basil, onion, capers, and a tasty red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil dressing.
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 7 oz stale ciabatta bread
  • 1½ lbs roughly chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 finely sliced red onion
  • 10 oz jar chopped red peppers
  • Red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Bunch of fresh basil
  1. Tear the bread into 1 inch pieces and arrange them on a tray.
  2. Let them sit somewhere warm for half an hour to help them dry out.
  3. Season the tomatoes with salt and black pepper.
  4. Rinse the capers and squeeze out any liquid, and also drain the jar of chopped peppers.
  5. Toss the capers, peppers, onion, and bread in a bowl.
  6. Stir in 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
  7. Taste the mixture and add more oil, vinegar, salt and/or black pepper, if needed.
  8. Tear the basil leaves and toss them in the panzanella, then it is ready to serve.

Photo Description:

This recipe is really easy and it is the perfect way to use up leftover bread which is turning stale. Rather than throw it out, convert it into a delicious salad. This dish makes use of tomatoes, basil, onion, and other colorful ingredients, which combine perfectly with the bread, to make a lovely salad. The dressing is made with red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, as well as some torn fresh basil leaves for a fragrant touch. Serve this alongside roasted chicken or grilled steaks. This nutritious dish can be prepared in just 10 or 15 minutes, and the flavor really is amazing.


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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi I'm Christine, and I am happy you are visiting. Food is a large part of our family's lives, and we love to try new dishes, especially Italian food which offers so much freshness and flavor, whether you are making a classic Italian dish like lasagna or pizza, or experimenting with new appetizers, entrées or desserts from Italy.

Even if you are brand new to this cuisine, you will be able to find all kinds of tempting recipes here. I have been collecting classic Italian recipes, all conveniently in one place, along with unusual recipes from Italy plus some dishes inspired by Italian cuisine.

When the weather is cold, a baked pasta dish or juicy pork or veal recipe might be ideal. During the summer months, an Italian salad might be your dish of choice. We have vegetarian recipes, Italian soups, and even tips on how to work with Italian ingredients for the best results, whether you are making lasagna, gnocchi or an Italian casserole


Thanks for visiting.


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