Panzanella (Tuscan Summer Bread Salad)

Ripe tomatoes ready for a recipe during a culinary vacation with The International Kitchen.Panzanella is one of the most traditional Tuscan summer dishes. It is a perfect – and perfectly simple – summer recipe incorporating the best of summer’s produce with leftover bread. (The Tuscans have historically been wonderful at repurposing stale bread whether with panzanella or a classic ribollita!)

Discover more recipes from around the world featuring stale bread.

Panzenella always includes tomatoes, and from there the ingredients vary. Sometimes it includes onions or cucumber, and of course plenty of olive oil and vinegar are what make the flavors sing.

It’s important to taste the panzanella when you make it and again before serving. If you use a classic Tuscan bread, which often contains no salt, you’ll have to season the dish more aggressively than if you use a salted type of bread.

Cook with us on a classic culinary trip to Tuscany.

Panzanella (Tuscan Summer Bread Salad)Tuscan bread salad, called panzanella, as made during our Tuscany cooking vacations.

Serves: 8
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Cook method: Mix


  • 5 cups dried day old Tuscan style bread
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red onion
  • Chopped basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red wine vinegar

See more traditional Tuscan dishes.

Cucumber sliced and ready for a recipe.Instructions

  1. Place the stale bread in a bowl and cover with water for about 5 minutes.
  2. Squeeze the water from the bread, then place the drained bread in the refrigerator for about 1 / 2 hour.
  3. While the bread is chilling, dice the tomatoes and cucumbers. Peel and chop the onions.
  4. Remove the bread from the refrigerator. Add the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Add the chopped basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chill before serving.

Learn about other summer dishes from Tuscany.

Italian summer ingredients during a culinary vacation in Italy.Other versions of this salad have tuna fish, black olives, capers, carrot or celery added. We’ve also seen versions with cheese. We consider that more of a Greek bread salad (like a wonderful dakos), but it’s your panzanella – so add what you want!

Browse our culinary trips to Tuscany.

Check out more summer blog posts, including:

By Peg Kern

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