Bread Salad (Panzanella)

Bread salad is classic and to me is the essence of summer. Basil, cucumbers, succulent tomatoes, all right outside in my garden. This is nice cool salad to have on a warm summer evening. It is the perfect side for just about anything and pairs well with white wine. Oh and did I mention it is best with stale bread? Score!

The recipe calls for tomatoes, cucumber, basil, onion, but I throw in whatever I have on hand. Today, green beans and parsley in addition to ‘traditional’ ingredients. Next time, roasted eggplant. You could even add cheese or meat to make it a main dish. The only downside is that the bread gets soggy so it isn’t very good the next day.

The recipe can be found here at William’s Sonoma or copied and pasted below:


  • 2 tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
    as needed
  • 3 Tbs. balsamic or red wine vinegar, plus more
    as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 to 8 thick slices country-style white bread, torn
    into bite-size pieces


In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil. Drizzle with the 1/2 cup olive oil and the 3 Tbs. vinegar, season with salt and pepper and toss well.

Place half of the bread in a wide, shallow bowl. Spoon half of the tomato mixture over the bread. Layer the remaining bread on top and then the remaining tomato mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Just before serving, toss the salad and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. If the bread seems dry, add a little oil or vinegar. Serve immediately.



About cookingcampus

I'm a graduate student trying to stay happy and busy and pursue the things I love.
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