Panzanella Salad (aka Bread Salad) – Perfect Summer Side

I love bread – bread with butter, bread toasted with butter and homemade jam, bread made into French toast, and . . . stale bread made into a Panzanella salad. This is a perfect summer salad – great for a light lunch or a side to go with dinner. For this recipe, it is best to use ripe tomatoes from your garden or the farmers market.

For the bread:

  • 1 loaf of day-old bread, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • The bread can be toasted up to one day before. I like to toast it in the morning, so my kitchen is not that hot as the day heats up.
  • Preheat your oven to 350. In a bowl, put ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and mix with the bread.  Toast the bread for 25 minutes.  Let cool completely.

For the salad:

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, diced (I leave the seeds and pulp in the mixture because it makes the salad so juicy)
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cucumber, I peel about half of the cucumber, then dice it up
  • 1 red onion, diced

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Mix the dressing in the bottom of a big bowl. If you don’t have red wine vinegar, you may buy truffle balsamic vinegar instead as it is a great alternative. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, and red onion.  Add the bread about 10 minutes before eating and toss it well. The bread will soak up the juice from the tomatoes and vinaigrette. Irresistible!

Stay sweet!  Susan

Susan O’Keefe is the baker/owner of Baked by Susan in Croton-on-Hudson.

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About the Author: Susan O'Keefe