Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

08 September 2016 by Natanja

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  • A salad of crusty rustic bread with fresh summer tomatoes, aromatic herbs and notes of garlic.

    Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad) in a white bowl garnished with fresh basil.

    Phew, we’re finally back home after a month of being abroad. I have experienced jet lag for the first time and I have to say, it really wasn’t fun. Strangely, ever since I’ve been back I have been getting up quite early, usually around 6 or 6:30, this was kind of a side effect of my jet lag, although certainly a positive one. I really wasn’t a morning person before leaving for our trip and its funny that jet lag has apparently turned me into one. 

    One of the things I have missed most was my bed but second place was my kitchen. Now that I can finally cook something in my own kitchen again, I want to share an end of the summer recipe with you. If you plant your own tomatoes you will know that the tomato season is slowly coming to its end. I have been lucky to taste some home-grown tomatoes this season and this salad here is even better if you use home-grown.

    Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad) in a white bowl garnished with fresh basil.
    Dried oregano in a mortar and pestle.

    The first time I heard of panzanella I was actually reluctant to try it. A friend told me about it but it sounded so simple and plain that I didn’t hold it in high regard and quickly dismissed the idea again. Then one day I had some bread cubes left over and decided to try it despite my prejudice. I’m glad I did because I immediately loved it and have been making it regularly ever since. While the salad itself might sound quite plain, don’t be fooled, it is everything but that! The garlic, spices and herbs make this dish super tasty.

    For the bread I recommend any rustic type of bread. I prefer whole grain spelt because it brings a lot of flavor to the salad as opposed to any white bread. I always make my own bread cubes. It’s easy, cheap and you can get a use out of bread that has become stale. Simply cut the bread into slices and cube them. Place the bread cubes onto a baking sheet and leave them out to dry for 1-2 days. Then fill into an airtight container.

    Rustic bread on a wooden cutting board.

    Now that you know how to make your own bread cubes, you can go ahead and try them in this salad 😉 If you do, be sure to let me know in the comment section down below!

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    Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

    • Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 8 minutes
    • Total Time: 15 minutes
    • Yield: 4 1x


    • 600g tomatoes of choice* (21oz)
    • 150g dried bread cubes (2 and 1/4 cups)
    • olive oil for frying
    • 23 garlic cloves
    • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon dried basil
    • 3 tabelspoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • fresh basil


    1. Chop the tomatoes into bite size pieces and place into a bowl.
    2. Fry the breadcubes with a little bit of olive oil until browned and crispy (about 8min), keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. Stir occassionaly.
    3. In the meantime, crush the garlic and add to the tomatoes along with, oregano, basil, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
    4. Lastly, add the bread cubes, garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.


    *Cherry tomatoes are specifically delicious here

    You can prepare this salad ahead of time, omitting the bread cubes. Fry the bread cubes shortly before serving and add them while they are still hot.


    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.


    1. Mona on 9. September 2016 at 3:14

      What a beautiful, simple, and delicious salad. I just purchased some local cherry tomatoes and bet these would taste great in such a salad.

      • Natanja on 12. September 2016 at 13:58

        Thanks Mona! Local cherry tomatoes sound delicious, especially for this salad. 🙂

    2. Jolina - The Unlikely Baker on 13. September 2016 at 4:33

      Looks delicious and refreshing Natasha! We’re lucky to have friends who have gardens overflowing with tomatoes haha. So I don’t think we actually bought tomatoes this season. Definitely trying this (I think we still have some in the fridge!)

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