Summer Panzanella

This colorful summer panzanella recipe is a classic Italian bread salad, featuring crusty bread, ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil.

Panzanella recipe

Summer always seems to slip away, doesn’t it? August is nearly gone, and we feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of our summer checklist. Trip to beach in Michigan? Berry picking at a local farm? Guess it will wait until next year. But one thing we have done: made this summer panzanella recipe. Panzanella is an Italian bread salad, and it’s everything summer! Ripe tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, and garlic are mixed with crunchy bread into an incredible salad. Keep reading for the recipe!

Panzanella recipe

How to make panzanella

Luckily we have another month of tomato season here in Indiana, so we can continue to enjoy the tastes of summer at least. We ran across some lovely multi-colored cherry tomatoes and bell peppers at our local market, and were inspired to make this summer panzanella.

What is panzanella? Panzanella is an Italian bread salad that combines dried, crusty bread squares with fresh vegetables and a vinaigrette. It’s a genius idea for using up old bread, and extraordinarily delicious. You can use any fresh veggies you have on hand. The traditional vegetables used in a panzanella tomatoes, peppers, red onion, and sometime cucumber.

Here are the basic steps on how to make panzanella:

  1. Toast the bread cubes: Cut your bread into cubes and toss it with olive oil and black pepper. Roast the cubes for about 7 minutes at 450 degrees until they’re golden brown.
  2. Chop the vegetables: Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Here we used multi-colored cherry tomatoes and bell peppers, and thinly sliced red onions.
  3. Make the vinaigrette: Mix up a simple vinaigrette: ours uses olive oil, sherry vinegar, and minced garlic.
  4. Mix together and allow to stand: Mix all the ingredients together and let them stand for at least 15 minutes, so that all the flavors can meld. Then the salad is best served immediately. As expected, the bread becomes soggy over time, so leftovers aren’t the best. Try to eat it the day it’s made! (To make it in advance, keep all the components separate before serving.

We used this recipe to help break in our new kitchen with some friends (a sneak peak is here, but we’ll be posting a series about the reno in several week). What’s your favorite summertime dish?

Bread for panzanella
Panzanella is the perfect way to use up old bread! Like our homemade sourdough

Looking for easy potluck recipes?

This panzanella would be great for a potluck (as long as it doesn’t sit out for hours!). Here are a few more easy potluck recipes:

Looking for more grilling ideas?

This panzanella would also be a fabulous side dish for a grilled meal. Here are a few more grilling ideas for creating a menu:

This panzanella recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print

Summer Panzanella


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This colorful summer panzanella recipe is a classic Italian bread salad, featuring crusty bread, ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 cups artisan-style bread, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint multi-colored cherry tomatoes
  • 3 bell peppers (one each yellow, red, green)
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Slice the bread into cubes. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer and bake until golden brown, about 7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Dice the bell peppers. Thinly slice the red onion. Mince the garlic. Thinly slice the basil (chiffonade).
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the sherry vinegar, and garlic. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a creamy emulsion forms. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the chopped vegetables, dressing, basil, and toasted bread. (If making in advance, add the toasted bread last to avoid becoming soggy.) Allow to stand about 15 minutes for the flavors to meld, then serve immediately. (Leftovers are delicious, but the bread becomes soggy after a few hours.)

Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Panzanella, Summer Panzanella, Panzanella Recipe, Bell Peppers, Bell Pepper Recipe, Summer Recipes, Side Dish, Potluck, Entertaining

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Emma
    August 28, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Panzanella is so good, though I’ve only ever had it out, not made it at home. We have lots and lots of cherry tomatoes (orange + red) ripening fast so this looks the perfect way to use them! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    August 28, 2013 at 8:20 am

    This salad is stunning! And so colourful – love it!

  • Reply
    Tieghan
    August 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Oh it is so pretty and sounds so good! I love all the colors and the crispy crusty bread! Perfect way to send out summer!

  • Reply
    Arthur in the Garden!
    August 28, 2013 at 10:28 am

    wonderful!

  • Reply
    Allie @ The Nutritional Epiphany
    August 29, 2013 at 2:47 am

    YES! The color in this is so gorgeous. Now is the perfect time in the Midwest for flavorful tomatoes that were grown outdoors! I’ve been looking around for inspiration for how to use up all of the beautiful cherry tomatoes that are overflowing in my garden.
    I had it on my summer list to visit Michigan too, but I didn’t get to it either. We’re in the same boat!

  • Reply
    Cookie and Kate
    August 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Wow, this is a gorgeous salad, you guys. I can’t believe August is coming to a close, either. I can’t wait to see more pics of your new kitchen!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 31, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Yum! I keep admiring recipes for panzanella and still need to make one myself. Glad I have a bell pepper waiting- and our tomatoes are still producing here in NY, as well :)

  • Reply
    Courtney Jones
    September 4, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    What a great salad to end the summer off with :) So lovely!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    September 13, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Absolutely gorgeous styling in that photo. Love the bright colors and of course the salad sounds fantastic.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      September 19, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Thanks, Ashley!

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