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Panzanella Salad (Italian Tomato & Bread Salad)

  • Author: Maša Ofei
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4*


Give this Panzanella salad a try next time you’re looking for something light and refreshing to make as an appetiser, side or main during the summer months. A salad made with stale bread and tomatoes never tasted as good as this!


  • 600g / 1.32 pounds cherry and heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped into large bite-sized pieces (ideally varied colours and sizes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 slices rustic stale bread (12 days old)
  • Olive oil, for brushing bread
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15 kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
  • Half a shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano, chopped (optional)


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt to a bowl and toss well. Set aside.
  2. To a frypan on medium-high heat, brush the bread slices with olive oil using a pastry brush on one side and place that side down on the pan. Toast for around 5-7 minutes until it becomes a nice golden colour.
  3. Brush the top side with olive oil and then flip the bread to toast the other side.
  4. Once the bread is done, using the clove of garlic rub it against the toasted bread. If you have any garlic leftover, mince it finely and add it to the tomatoes.
  5. Cut the bread into large bite-size pieces – around the same size as the tomatoes.
  6. Add them to the tomatoes along with the olives, shallots, basil, and oregano.
  7. In a small bowl, combine all the vinegarette ingredients and mix. Pour it over the salad and toss it well.
  8. You can serve it straight away or leave it in the fridge for up to 1 hour before serving. The bread should stay nice and crispy on the outside.


Yield: It serves 4-5 as a side or an appetiser and 2-3 as a main meal.

Tomatoes: Use ripe but firm tomatoes. Otherwise they will be too soft when you combine it with the toasted bread.

No matter how small the tomato is, make sure you cut it in half to get the pulp/juice out of it – it’s the key to the best dressing.

Bread: The bread needs to be crunchy and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Not completely dried out and hard. It’s also important to slice the bread and tomatoes into larger bite sized pieces so that the bread doesn’t go too soggy. 

Rustic stale bread is crucial to get the best texture. I’ve tried it with a sourdough, pane di casa, and ciabatta and they all turned out great.

  • Diet: Vegan

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