Italian Panzanella Salad
Italian Panzanella Salad is a summertime must-make! Bites of hearty bread are tossed together with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, mozzarella and more all in bold Italian dressing. Make this easy panzanella salad for your next sunny gathering and watch it disappear!
Italian Panzanella Salad
I’m not ready for summer to end… Which is why I’m still enjoying fresh recipes like this easy panzanella salad! Essentially, this is a bread salad that really packs a flavorful punch. Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, salty olives and mozzarella pearls are just some of the varying textures and flavors that make each bite of this salad so supremely satisfying.
The fresh flavor is created primarily by the tomatoes and cucumbers. What really seals the deal though is the drizzle of balsamic reduction right on top! While the balsamic reduction is optional, let’s be real. Isn’t everything better with a little balsamic? Especially since this salad also calls for fresh basil, and nothing goes together better than balsamic and basil!
When choosing the bread, go with something hearty. Day old bread like Italian or French bread is always great in this simple salad! You want something really sturdy to hold its weight when tossed in the Italian dressing. Fresh bread tends to get soggy, and no one wants that. Scroll down for more info on the very best ingredients for Italian panzanella salad!
How to Make Italian Panzanella Salad
Once the bread is lightly toasted with olive oil, it gets tossed together with a flavorful mixture of Italian ingredients!
- Toast the bread. Cut the bread into cubes then toss them with olive oil, garlic powder and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400°F. Toss, then bake for another 5-10 minutes until all sides are golden and crisp. Allow the bread to cool to room temp.
- Toss the salad. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, beans, olives, mozzarella, onions and bread. Toss everything together with Italian dressing.
- Garnish and serve. Garnish your salad with freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh basil, Italian seasoning and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.
Ingredient for Panzanella
- Bread – Use a day old loaf of Italian or French bread. Sometimes I use Homemade Croutons if I have some on hand.
- Olive Oil – You can use avocado oil instead if preferred.
- Seasonings – You only need garlic powder, salt, and Italian seasoning for this easy recipe.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Grape tomatoes also work well.
- Cucumbers – You can choose to peel your cucumbers, but I prefer to leave the skin on. It’s where most of the nutrients are.
- Cannelini Beans – These make the salad more hearty and filling.
- Green Olives – The salty flavor these add just can’t be beat!
- Mozzarella Pearls – Fresh sliced mozzarella also works. Just make sure to cut it into bite sized pieces.
- Red Onion – Don’t swap these bold onions with any others!
- Italian Dressing – For the best flavor, use my favorite homemade Italian dressing.
- Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated parmesan always has the very best flavor and consistency.
- Fresh Basil – Add as much as your heart desires. I love a little extra basil!
- Balsamic Reduction – The best final touch that adds a touch of sweetness.
How to Store Panzanella
You can store your panzanella salad in an airtight container in the fridge for about 24 hours. Keep in mind that the longer the salad sits, the softer the ingredients (mainly the bread) will become.
If you’d like to make this salad ahead of time, keep the toasted bread stored in an airtight container at room temperature and everything else in the fridge. Don’t toss with the dressing until you’re ready to serve.
Enjoy more of the best easy salad recipes!
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Italian Potato Salad
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Spaghetti Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Get the Recipe: Italian Panzanella Salad Recipe
- 1 lb loaf day old bread, use a hearty bread like Italian or French bread
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups sliced cucumbers
- 1 cup cannellini beans
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives
- 1/2 cup mozzarella balls
- 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
- 1 1/2 cups Italian dressing
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic reduction, optional
- 1 baking sheet
- 1 salad bowl
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Cut the bread into cubes and place in a large bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic powder and salt.
- Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the bread and toss to coat.
- Arrange the bread on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake the bread cubes for 10 minutes.
- Toss the bread and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumber, beans, olives, mozzarella and onion.
- Add the bread to the bowl and drizzle with the dressing.
- Toss the ingredients to coat with the dressing.
- Arrange in a serving bowl or on a platter.
- Season with the grated parmesan, basil, Italian seasoning and drizzle with balsamic reduction, if desired.
- Serve immediately.