Whether it is a hot summer month and you’re not really in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, or you’re on the hunt for a simple and flavorful summer salad recipe to serve your guests, you just can’t go wrong with this Tuscan style Panzanella.
The salad is so easy to make, yet so flavorful, and of course, incredibly versatile too. It is the perfect salad to whip up when you’re looking for a light yet filling meal to dig into, or you just have some extra tomatoes and bread at hand.
Interested enough to give the recipe a try? Scroll down and read on to know more.
Ingredients For the Recipe
You’ll need just a few simple pantry essentials to put this fresh salad together.
- Butter: 1 tbsp
- Bread cubes: 3 cups
- Tomatoes (halved): 1 cup
- Tomato juice: ¼ cup
- Olive oil: 2 tbsps
- Onions (minced): 2 tbsps
- Garlic (finely chopped): 2 tsp
- White wine vinegar: 2 tbsps
- Black pepper powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: 1 tsp or as per taste
- Basil leaves (chopped): ½ cup
- Mustard/ Mustard paste: ½ tsp
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to Make the Panzanella
Once you have all your ingredients ready, here’s what you need to do to make the Panzanella from scratch.
Heat butter in a pan. Add the bread cubes and toast them until they turn crisp and golden. Keep them aside.
Take tomato juice in a small bowl and add the olive oil, onions, garlic, vinegar, black pepper powder, salt, dijon mustard, and basil leaves. Mix.
Take the toasted bread cubes into a mixing bowl. Add the cut tomatoes.
Pour the prepared dressing over the mixture and give it a good mix.
Serve along with some bread or carbs of your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Considering the fact that bread and tomatoes are the key ingredients that make up this salad, you need to be careful about the kind you’re using for this recipe. Traditionally, Tuscan Panzanella would be crafted using local, country loaves, and cut into cubes.
You can opt for any good quality bread of your choice- Ciabatta, French baguette, or rustic sourdough bread are some good choices.
For this salad, it is always best to use bread that is stale- ideally a day or older. However, if your bread isn’t mature enough, you can still use it for the recipe. Just remember to lightly toast the bread in a pan or in the oven, and then proceed to use it. This extra step will help your bread get all nice and crisp, lending a nice contrast against the other fresh ingredients in the salad.
While toasting the bread, remember that you only need to get the edges slightly golden- you don’t want croutons- you want bread that has a little crusty texture on the outside, but is still soft on the inside.
Panzanella is super versatile, which means you can throw in a lot of different ingredients based on your personal taste preference, and what you have at hand.
Got some leftover rotisserie chicken? Add it into the mix. Have an extra cucumber in the fridge? Chop it up and add it in. You can also add some sliced olives into the salad to give it an extra pop of color and a nice sharp saltiness.
And of course, there’s always some cheese- mozzarella and feta are some excellent choices to consider adding to the salad to make it more protein-rich and flavorful.
Unfortunately, no! Considering the fact that this salad has bread in addition to the wet ingredients, prepping it in advance and storing it for later is not recommended, as it can cause your entire salad bowl to become a soggy mess.
You can, however, prep the ingredients separately and then combine them 15-30 minutes before you plan to serve them.
Got some leftover Panzanella that has been refrigerated. One look at it will tell you it isn’t really worth serving as a salad, but hey- don’t dump it just yet. Heat a few drops of oil in a cast-iron skillet and once it gets hot, dump the entire leftover salad into it. Let this cook on medium heat for a few minutes until the bread and the other ingredients start to get slightly charred and crisp up.
Top this crusty creation with a fried egg and your favorite seasonings and serve! This can be an excellent way to go no waste and use up some of that limp leftover Panzanella.
Tips to Make the Panzanella
Think you’re ready to give this easy and flavorful recipe a shot in your kitchen? Wait up! Before you do, keep these little tips and tricks in mind to make sure you hit all the flavors and textures spot on!
- Fancy a bit more texture to your salad? Slice your onions instead of mincing them and then use them for the recipe.
- Fancy the tang and savory flavor of olives but don’t have it? You could make do with capers instead.
- Got a few extra minutes? Sprinkle some salt on the chopped tomatoes and toss well. This will help coax out the flavors of the tomatoes and make your salad even more delicious.
- When choosing tomatoes for this recipe, pick the ripest, juiciest ones you can find. If you can find heirloom tomatoes- even better.
- If you’re using cherry tomatoes for this recipe, remember to halve them. The key is to get the juicy bits of the tomatoes out.
- Your Panzanella tastes great at room temperature, but if you can, allow it a few minutes in the refrigerator to chill.
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
Your Tuscan-style Panzanella can make for an excellent satisfying meal on its own. You can also serve it as a side dish for any of your summer mains like chicken or eggplant parmesan.
The fresh and vibrant flavors of this salad also work well with practically any pasta (like this amazing Pasta Fazool) or soup you’re whipping up.
Loved how this salad turned out? On the hunt for some more crunchy and refreshing salad recipes worth checking out? Pick any from these.
Tuscan Style Fresh Panzanella Recipe
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 3 cup Bread cubes
- 1 cup Tomatoes (halved)
- ¼ cup Tomato juice
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Onions (minced)
- 2 tbsp Garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp White wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Black pepper powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ cup Basil leaves (chopped)
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard/ Mustard paste
- Heat butter in a pan. Add the bread cubes and toast them until they turn crisp and golden. Keep them aside.1 tbsp Butter, 3 cup Bread cubes
- Take tomato juice in a small bowl and add the olive oil, onions, garlic, vinegar, black pepper powder, salt, dijon mustard, and basil leaves. Mix.1 cup Tomatoes, ¼ cup Tomato juice, 2 tbsp Olive oil, 2 tbsp Onions, 2 tbsp Garlic, 2 tbsp White wine vinegar, 1 tsp Black pepper powder, 1 tsp Salt, ½ cup Basil leaves, ½ tsp Dijon mustard/ Mustard paste
- Take the toasted bread cubes in a mixing bowl. Add the cut tomatoes.
- Pour the prepared dressing over the mixture and give it a good mix.
- Serve along with some bread or carbs of your choice.