Tuscan Panzanella Salad

by Dorothy Reinhold on August 29, 2019

Print This Post Print This Post Summer's perfect salad! Tuscan Panzanella Salad | Italian Bread Tomato Salad | ShockinglyDelicious.com

Meet Tuscan Panzanella Salad, featuring fresh tomatoes, basil, onions, peppers and whatever other vegetables you like (cukes?). It’s a substantial main-dish salad that you’ll add to your regular summer menu after you try it once.

I can’t believe summer is nearly over, but there it is, Labor Day, looming on the calendar like an exclamation point to the passing season.  Summer!  Done! Don’t let it hit you in the behind like a slamming door as you move on to the next quarter…

Before we descend into fall though, and break out the sweaters, let’s have one last hurrah for my favorite time of year. Tomatoes hang heavy on the vines, warmed by the late August sun. Peppers, too, dot the bushes like holiday ornaments, and arugula is still sprouting (perhaps bolting a bit!) in the warmth.  The basil plants — may I just call them bushes and you’ll understand how enthusiastic they are in the garden? — have taken over, and jalapenos hang like green and red earrings from the branch.

How could I have forgotten to plant cucumbers this year? Good thing they are piled high at the farmers market. A quick trip there satisfies any need or craving I have for fresh fruits and vegetables that I haven’t grown myself.

Get ready to celebrate a memorable 3-day Labor Day weekend and put a ring on it. I have a classic recipe for you — Tuscan Panzanella Salad — a doozy that is perfect for all the vegetables you’ll find in your garden or at the market right now.

Say hello to Tuscan Panzanella Salad, if you haven’t shaken hands before. Featuring fresh tomatoes, basil, onions, peppers and whatever other vegetables you like (cukes?), it’s a substantial main-dish salad that you’ll add to your regular summer menu after you try it once.

One of the practicalities of it is stale bread (hurrah for using up leftovers!), added along with vinaigrette, to make it a meal in a bowl. Those Italians…they know what they’re doing.

Its charms are legendary.

Ingredients for Tuscan Panzanella Salad on ShockinglyDelicious.com
It only takes a few ingredients, and you probably have most of them.

This has your name on it, so grab your salad bowl and get to it!

Tuscan Panzanella Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ripe summer tomatoes star in this classic bread salad, which also features capers and olives for a salty tang, and onion and peppers.


  • Salad
  • 4 thick slices French or sourdough bread or a rustic Italian bread, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 orange, red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 20 flavorful olives, pitted and halved
  • 4 handfuls fresh salad greens
  • Garnish: 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Garnish: 1/4 cup shaved or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon drained tiny capers
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Leave bread cubes out for a couple of hours to dry them out a bit.
  2. Add bread, onion, tomatoes, bell pepper and olives to a large salad bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Make dressing: In a jar, add vinegar, capers, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil. Shake well, add salt and pepper to taste and shake again. Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients in salad bowl. Toss well to coat everything.
  4. Add salad greens to 4 wide, flat bowls. Pile bread salad on top, and garnish with torn basil leaves and sprinkles of Parmesan.
  5. Serves 4.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious


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Tuscan Panzanella Salad in a white bowl on ShockinglyDelicious.com

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This recipe was originally published Aug. 29, 2015 and has been refreshed and republished today.

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