Panzanella is a classic Italian bread salad mixed with a tangy vinaigrette that gives old bread a second chance. Old bread has never tasted so delicious!Jump to Recipe
Originally Panzanella was only made with onions, olive oil and bread. The story goes that the salad made its first appearance in the 16th century. Agnolo di Cosimo, an Italian painter (better known as Bronzino) loved eating onions with oil and vinegar served with toast. Later this simple appetizer became more and more a salad by adding leaf vegetables and cucumbers. Later on in the early 1900’s also tomatoes started to appear in panzanella recipes. It became more and more a salad when farmers in Tuscany started to eat it. It is believed that panzanella was created out of the custom of the farmers to soak their old bread in water and mix it with fresh vegetables from the garden. The farmers ate it for lunch after working long hours on the field starting at 03:00 in the morning before the sun warms the earth.
The perfect summer salad
Summertime is the time to make it yourself easy with simple recipes. This great dish also helps you to stay cool when temperatures are rising. Panzanella recipes now also includes basil, cucumber and in this recipe burrata. Variations can be found in recipes that also add olives and ansjovis or roasted peppers.
Toast the bread in the oven for a few minutes so it gets the best structure. Then mix it with the vegetables and vinaigrette. Soak the salad in just enough vinaigrette without getting too soggy. You can let it sit for about 30 minutes for the flavors to infuse. However, you don’t want to let it sit too long because the salad should still have some structure when it’s served. Panzanella tastes best when it’s served the day it’s made.
Serve it with
Panzanella can serve as a light lunch. Especially on hot summer days just this salad can be enough to satisfy your appetite. But if your appetite is a bit bigger this salad is delicious with anything from the grill, like steak, kebab, fish, burgers or kebabs. Turn on the BBQ and enjoy this summer salad as a side dish!
Panzanella – Italian Bread Salad
- 5 cups old bread cut in cubes like ciabatta, baguette, sourdough etc
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt & pepper
- ½ onion sliced thinly either red or white
- 450 grams cherry tomatoes you can also use regular tomatoes
- 1 cucumber preferebly English cucumber
- 1 burrata cheese or mozzarella
- 1-2 cups basil leaves
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove
- sea salt and pepper by taste
- Pre-heat the oven for 220℃ (425F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the bread to the baking sheet and sprinkle with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients. Use salt and pepper by taste usually we don't use more than half a teaspoon. Add the thinly sliced red or white onion and let it sit for a bit.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in half through length and cut both parts in slices. Add as much as you want, also depending on the size of the cucumber. Mix it together with the onion and basil leaves.
- Add the bread to the salad and mix all well. Let is sit for a bit to infuse all the flavors, but not too long to still keep texture (15-30 minutes). Before serving add the burrata or mozzarella cut in pieces. It can be served as lunch but also as a side dish. It taste well with chicken, fish or steak.
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