Panzanella is a bread salad that’s a versatile recipe loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives. This healthy dish makes a great side dish or a light main dish. It’s loaded with healthy Mediterranean flavor and is sure to become a family favorite!
Why You’ll Love it
It’s quick and easy! Even if you are a beginner in the kitchen, you’ll be able to make this recipe. Most of the prep involves cutting the bread and vegetables. The only “cooking” involved is toasting the bread.
It’s made with easy to find fresh and pantry ingredients. I don’t enjoy hunting for ingredients so I try to be sure you don’t have to either. You’ll be able to find these items easily at your local grocery store.
It’s loaded with healthy Mediterranean flavor! I love Mediterranean flavors like olive oil, tomatoes, and feta cheese. It’s a bonus that they are good for you too. This recipe is a great way to squeeze in some extra nutrition and the kids will love it too.
Step by Step Instructions
Heat the oven to 350º F. Cut the bread into cubes. Place them on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to evenly coat then bake for 15-20 minutes. Make the dressing; set aside. Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onion, and basil.
Place the toasted bread in a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onion, and sliced basil.
Pour the dressing over the bread mixture then gently toss it together.
Sprinkle with feta cheese over the top. Serve immediately.
Will Panzanella keep? Panzanella is best served immediately, but it will hold for an hour or two at room temperature. If you would like to make it ahead, prep everything in advance. Keep the toasted bread in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature. Keep the cut veggies in one container in the fridge, and the dressing in another. Toss everything together right before serving.
Be sure your olives are well drained. If any of their brine goes into the salad, the bread will get soggy.
This recipe calls for English or hot house cucumbers (they come wrapped in plastic). I like those because you don’t have to peel them or take the seeds out. However, you can use regular cucumbers too. If you like the dark green color and don’t mind the peel, then leave it on. You can also keep the seeds-it’s really up to you!
Use black olives instead of Kalamata or try green olives or even a mixture. You can use olives whole, sliced in half, or the pre-sliced kind.
Skip the red onion if it’s not your thing or sub with green onions.
What goes good with Panzanella? This dish is great on its own as a light brunch, lunch or dinner. It’s also great served with grilled meats or this Instant Pot Beef Brisket.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of the foods we eat? Visit the USDA for more info!
Other Popular Salads
- 1 - 14 ounce loaf of bread, cut into small one inch cubes French, Italian, Ciabatta, or Sourdough
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup for vinaigrette, 2 tbsp for toasting bread
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or 2 large tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber, quartered regular cucumber, remove peel and seeds
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup Kalamata olives or black olives
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil or Italian parsley sliced thin
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup crumbled feta or grated parmesan cheese optional
For the Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar regular balsamic or red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Heat oven to 350º F.
- Cut bread into one inch cubes. Place on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, tossing with your hands or tongs to coat. Toast for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- While bread is in the oven, make the vinaigrette: Add oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to a small bowl or mason jar. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Cut cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and olives. Slice the basil into thin strips. Set aside.
- When the bread is ready, add it to a to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and herbs. Toss to combine. Pour vinaigrette over the salad, toss gently to coat. Top with cheese if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.