If you have never had a panzanella salad, then you have really been missing out! In case you are unaware of what a panzanella salad is, it’s basically a rustic Italian bread salad (I know, it already sounds amazing right?) with fresh tomatoes and basil. We like to add red onion, cucumbers, kalamata olives and mozzarella cheese and toss it all together with a tangy red wine vinaigrette. The family goes nuts when I make this recipe. The kids literally beg for “the bread salad.”
For the rustic Italian bread, we like to use a ciabatta loaf and cube it into nice perfectly even pieces. This could be due to some kitchen obsessiveness but not really, it helps ensure that the bread cubes cook evenly. Anyway, once you’ve cut up the bread, transfer the pieces to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to toss the bread so it’s coated evenly. Lay the bread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and pop it into the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes until it’s nice and golden brown.
It should look just like this! Now, I dare you to not eat one of the cubes of bread! You can’t do it can you? I know, me neither! Watch out because this is when the whole family starts making their way to the kitchen to nibble on the baked bread cubes. Happens every time!
Now it’s time to assemble the salad. Just cut up your beautiful fresh tomatoes. We really love heirlooms for this salad as they are the star of the show. Slice up the cucumber, red onion and kalamata olives and throw all of your ingredients into a large bowl. Add in the basil, mozzarella cheese and the bread cubes and drizzle with the red wine vinaigrette .
Toss to coat evenly and serve. You are going to love how the crunchy bread cubes soak up the vinaigrette dressing. It’s so so good. This salad would make the perfect side to go along with our Cheesy Eggplant Roll-ups
- 1 - 10oz loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 english cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 4 medium hierloom tomatoes, cut into segments
- ½ red onion, sliced very thin
- ½ C kalamata olives, halves
- 1 C fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
- ½ C fresh basil, chiffonade
- ¼ C red wine vinegar
- ⅓ C + 2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
- kosher salt and cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place cubed bread in a large bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Toss with hands to coat. Spread bread cubes out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- While bread is baking add cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, olives, mozzarella and basil to a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk vinegar and remaining olive oil.
- Remove bread from oven and allow to cool. Add bread cubes to salad bowl and drizzle with vinaigrette, stopping periodically to toss. Season with S&P to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. If needed drizzle with additional red wine vinegar before serving.