Tuscan-Style Panzanella Salad

This Tuscan-style panzanella salad is made with crispy pan-fried bread, bursting cherry tomatoes, and a sweet balsamic dressing. Simple ingredients made into the most delicious salad that is a staple for any summer barbecue or picnic! 

A clear bowl on a white counter with Panzanella salad.

If you are a salad lover and have never tried an Italian panzanella salad, I’m here to convince you it’s time to try this deeelicious and unique bowl of greens! It will make even the pickiest eater a salad lover.

It’s fresh, loaded with summer veggies, and topped with crispy pan-fried bread and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. How could you not love a salad with bread in it?! It’s also super easy to prepare and filled with flavor.

My husband is crazy about this salad and is one of his most frequent requests as of late! Serve up this side summer salad for picnics or barbecues – it will be a sure crowd-pleaser no matter the occasion.

What is Panzanella Salad?

Panzanella is very popular is certain parts of Italy and was originally created to use up stale or leftover breads. The bread is then sautéed in olive oil so that the texture is crisp on the outside yet soft on the inside.

This salad usually consists of crispy bread, tomatoes, basil, and an olive oil dressing. It can be made in many different variations and is a staple recipe for summertime cooking!

How to Make It

  • Pan-fry the bread – in a little bit of olive oil stir cubed bread pieces for 2-4 minutes until crispy.

A wooden spoon stirring frying bread in a black cast iron skillet. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a liquid measuring cup.

Then arrange salad your panfried bread over top of greens, vegetables, with dressing drizzled over top. Yum!

A clear bowl on a white counter with Panzanella salad.

Extra Tips And Substitutes

  • Extra ingredients to add to your panzanella salad: For veggies you can use your favorite greens, cucumbers, peppers, and red onions. I also love adding mozzarella cheese to this salad as well.
  • Leafy Greens: You can use any type of greens for the base of your salad. I recommend arugula, spinach, chopped kale, and mixed greens.
  • Types of bread you can use: You can use any type of french bread or rolls for the bread in this salad. I prefer ciabatta for its taste and texture. When fried it isn’t tough, but it perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Oils to use: I always use a quality olive oil or avocado oil in recipes like this. You can also use butter or vegan butter for cooking the bread.

More Delicious Salads To Enjoy

A clear bowl on a white counter with Panzanella salad.

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A clear bowl on a white counter with Panzanella salad.

Tuscan-Style Panzanella Salad

This Tuscan-style panzanella salad is made with crispy pan-fried bread, bursting cherry tomatoes, and a sweet balsamic dressing. Simple ingredients made into the most delicious salad that is a staple for any summer barbecue or picnic! 

Servings 6
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Tags: how to make panzanella salad, panzanella salad, what is panzanella salad
Calories: 376 kcal
Author: Bethany Kramer

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • arugula or spinach
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Balsamic Dressing

Instructions

  1. Heat cast iron skillet or pan on medium heat with oil. Panfry bread for 2 to 4 minutes until edges of bread are golden brown and crispy. Stir often so bread doesn't burn. 

  2. Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl. 

  3. Arrange salad with arugula, tomatoes, avocado, basil, fried bread, and dressing drizzled over top. Yum! See notes for extra ingredients you can add to this salad. 

Notes

  • Types of bread you can use: You can use any type of french bread or rolls for the bread in this salad. I prefer ciabatta for its taste and texture. When fried it isn't tough, but it perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 
  • Oils to use: I always use a quality olive oil or avocado oil in recipes like this. You can also use butter or vegan butter for cooking the bread. 
Nutrition Facts
Tuscan-Style Panzanella Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 376 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Sodium 80.5mg3%
Carbohydrates 20.7g7%
Sugar 11.8g13%
Protein 2.5g5%
Vitamin A 100IU2%
Vitamin C 11.6mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Bethany Kramer

Bethany Kramer is a home cook, recipe developer, and dog mom. She found a deep love for food and nutrition after learning to cook from her mom at eight years old. Since then she’s been developing and sharing recipes from her own kitchen that are bold in flavor and nourishing to the body!

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