Our secret for the best panzanella salad is to marinate fresh tomatoes with a bit of salt, vinegar, and olive oil until they release their delicious juices, making the most delicious dressing. We then add homemade garlic croutons and fresh herbs to complete the salad. Trust us, it’s fantastic!
Related: When we have tomatoes in the house, we also love making this roasted tomato soup.
Our Favorite Tomato Panzanella Salad
Panzanella screams summer. I especially love pulling out this recipe to use up end of summer tomatoes (which seem to pile up on our counter towards the end of August and the beginning of September). If you love tomatoes, panzanella salad is a must-make. In addition to panzanella, we also enjoy making summer gazpacho and caprese salad.
Panzanella is a bread salad with veggies (like tomatoes), and it’s delightful. Bread salads are popular throughout the Mediterranean, especially in Tuscany. It’s worth noting that while tomatoes are a common ingredient, they are not essential. Panzanella’s main ingredient is bread, specifically dried and stale bread.
In our panzanella recipe, we use our garlic croutons, which we recommend making with stale bread. Of course, you can substitute stale bread, but the croutons add a delightful garlic and herb flavor.
While tomatoes aren’t always present in panzanella, they are delicious. So, for this tomato panzanella, we marinate the tomatoes first in a mixture of salt, sugar (only a bit), vinegar, and olive oil. As the tomatoes sit in the marinade, they release all their delicious juices, which combine with the other ingredients to create a tasty tomato vinaigrette. The whole process is beautifully simple and makes a delightful salad.
After 30 minutes, you are ready to toss in your bread, fresh herbs, and if you want, some cheese. I use homemade garlic croutons for extra crunch and flavor, fresh parsley and dill for freshness, and some shaved young pecorino cheese. Feel free to use different herbs (mint would be excellent) and change the cheese. Anything goes, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, crumbled goat cheese, and even feta.
This panzanella salad recipe has been created in collaboration with Chef Richard Hattaway. He also worked with us to develop this summery tomato gazpacho, which also calls for homemade garlic croutons.
Perfect Panzanella Salad
Our secret for the best panzanella salad is to marinate fresh tomatoes with a bit of salt, vinegar, and olive oil until they release their delicious juices, making the most delicious dressing. We then add homemade garlic croutons and fresh herbs to complete the salad. In our panzanella recipe, we use our homemade garlic croutons, which we recommend making with stale bread. Of course, you can substitute stale bread, but the croutons add a delightful garlic and herb flavor.
Makes 2 main or 4 side salads
You Will Need
1 pound (453 grams) ripe tomatoes, 3 medium tomatoes
2 cups (100 grams) garlic croutons, see recipe here, or see tips below for substitution
1/2 cup (55 grams) thinly shaved onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 twists black pepper
1 cup Italian parsley leaves, from half a bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, optional
Shaved or crumbled cheese like Pecorino, Gruyere, Parmigiano-Reggiano or feta, optional
1Combine the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Gently toss, and then set aside for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours at room temperature.
2Toss in the croutons, parsley, dill, and tarragon. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
3Serve with shaved or crumbled cheese on top. Panzanella is best served the day you make it since the bread will continue to absorb the dressing and will eventually become soggy.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Crouton substitution: Toss 2 cups of stale rustic bread with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then, bake it in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes or until it becomes crisp and firm, but not browned. After that, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
- Panzanella is best served the day you make it since the bread will continue to absorb the dressing and will eventually become soggy.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
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Nutrition Per Serving
1/4 of the recipe (small salad)