It’s the weekend—almost. It’s Friday and that is enough for me to raise a glass. Is it going to be one of those jam-packed weekends with tons to do or a lazy one? I think my weekend is going to be a mix, which is good because I’ve had too many super busy weekends since we moved. Whatever kind of weekend it is, I highly recommend finding a bit of time to make Panzanella Bread Salad.

panzanella bread salad

It is a carbo-lover’s dream. ♥ Lately, I have been all too into my carbs. Like this pizza that I made (as seen on Instagram) on Wednesday. Ohhh and this huge Italian dinner I went to at John’s of 12th Street—an NYC institution (so I’ve heard). They serve some seriously good meatballs.

I can’t seem to get enough Italian food I guess—and this panzanella salad is no exception. The basics: It’s a traditional Tuscan salad made with stale bread soaked in tomatoes, olive oil, and includes other summer ingredients.

panzanella bread salad

If you don’t have stale bread, you can follow my instructions in the recipe to slightly toast the bread in the oven.

I also have a fantastic trick to take the sharp bite out of raw onions. I learned this from a chef while I was working in catering. Soak the sliced onions in a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes and then drain and add to the salad. It really does remove that strong raw onion flavor and it slightly softens the onions too.

panzanella bread salad

You don’t need to use cherry tomatoes. Use whatever tomatoes you have on hand, like big juicy ones from the farmer’s market. I also added fresh summer basil, zucchini, a bell pepper—and of course some mozzarella cheese.

This salad is best made and served the same day. I like to mix all the ingredients together and leave it at room temperature for about one hour before serving. If you refrigerate it, the tomatoes kind of lose their flavor and the bread can become overly soft.

panzanella bread salad

I hope you enjoy carbs as much as I will this weekend!

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Panzanella Bread Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Panzanella Bread Salad


    For the Salad:
  • 2 cups cubed French baguette or sturdy Italian bread
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 cup ripe heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • ½ cup diced mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sliced basil
  • For the Dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the cubed bread out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly toasted.
  2. Slice the red onion very thinly and soak it in a bowl of ice cold water for 10 minutes. This will help take the strong flavor out of the raw onions.
  3. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and seed and chop the red bell pepper. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini into thin ribbons. Combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, and zucchini in a large bowl. Add the diced mozzarella and stir to combine it with the vegetable mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. When the bread is toasted, add it to the vegetable mixture. Drain the onions and add them to the bowl too. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine. Cover and let sit and room temperature for 1 hour. Mix in the basil right before serving.