Northern Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)

This summer salad can be found at a small take-out cafeterias in Florence and everywhere else in Tuscany. Sitting right next to the region’s incredible cured meats, salamis, and cheeses, this soggy stuffing-like dish holds its own. In this world-class city of wines and gastronomy, it is this amazing salad of day old bread and tomatoes that shines.

Panzanella – Tuscan Bread Salad

The only planning required for this amazing dish is to leave a loaf of coarse, country-style Italian bread on the counter for a few days in advance. This salad is good any time of the year but goes to a another level when made with the summer's bounty of juicy beefsteak tomatoes and just-picked basil leaves.
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Course: Brunch, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Container with lid
  • Serving bowl


  • lb Stale country-style bread, cut into thick slices. Remove crusts and then into chunks.
  • 1 medium Red onion, sliced thin
  • 3 large Beefsteak tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • ½ cup Fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp Each salt and pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed with salt to make a paste
  • ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)


  • Place bread chunks into a bowl, layer sliced onions over the bread, and cover with water. After 15 minutes, remove onions, drain, and scatter them into a salad bowl. Squeeze bread chunks of excess liquid and add to salad bowl and mix well. Add tomatoes, parsley, and chopped basil. Mix everything together.
    Put crushed garlic paste into a jar. Pour in olive oil, vinegar, and pepper. Cover and shake well.
    Add the dressing to the salad and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate an hour-or-two to allow flavors to meld.


  • Any kind of tomato will work. Remember, the fresher the tomato, the better the dish.
  • Italian bread from Tuscany is unique in that it doesn’t include salt and its heartier texture holds up exceptionally well to liquids. Country white bread is nice substitutions.
  • In a pinch, large croutons from the market may be used in this dish 


Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 547mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1419IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 5mg

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