Use this Panzanella salad recipe to make an effortless, delicious summer salad. It incorporates a quick crouton-making tutorial so you can adapt it for National Crouton Day (May 13).
When the heat hits hard, you need a decent bowl of salad in your meal plan. Something full of juicy, crunchy bites that’s fun to eat and rehydrates.
Our Panzanella salad, accompanied by plenty of crunchy croutons, ticks all of these boxes. After just 15 minutes, you’ll have a fun, nutritious snack to help you get through the day.
What Is Panzanella?
Panzanella is a Tuscan salad consisting of stale bread, veggies, and a simple vinaigrette. ‘Pane’ means ‘bread’, and ‘zanella’ refers to the deep dish the salad is often served in.
It’s important to think of Panzanella as a bread salad ‘decorated’ with vegetables. The recipe may evolve, but the stale bread always takes a larger proportion within the dish.
Why stale bread? Allowing bread to stale was a commonly-used storage method in the past. Panzanella was one of the good ways to use stale bread. Folks would cut it into cubes, soak it in water, squeeze it, and mix it with the veg and dressing.
Now that there are more bread choices, the salad can still be made without this traditional ingredient. We used fresh bread, turned them into croutons, and they made for a really fun eat.
However, the research also indicates that the amount of resistant starch is no more than 2% of the total starch, in other words, an insignificant amount. It’s safe to say that stale bread is nutritionally the same as fresh bread.
The classic Panzanella dressing is a vinaigrette made of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and seasonings. A proper dressing should be tangy. Not too salty, not too wet, and not too oily.
The vinaigrette we’re about to show you has a touch of mustard. Not only does it intensify the flavor, but it also helps to dissolve vinegar in oil, something that would otherwise be impossible.
So, when we ask you to whisk the dressing ingredients, we really mean it. You will end up with a uniform, silky dressing that disperses flavors evenly throughout the salad.
What to Serve With Panzanella
Like many salads, this one complements grilled meat — chicken, steak, shrimp, or fish. Its crunchy bites pair nicely with the tender, juicy texture of properly cooked meat.
Since Panzanella is a Tuscan dish, we think it’s beautiful to serve it with Tuscan butter salmon. You can dip the croutons into the cream sauce then eat it along with a piece of fish — the ultimate bite bursting with flavors.
How Long Does It Last?
It’s important to serve this salad right away because the bread won’t be crispy for long. We recommend you make just enough salad, but if there’s leftover, you can store the components separately in the fridge (for up to a week).
To reheat, you can air-fry/ bake the croutons briefly or toast them in a pan over low heat. When they’re warm, have them tossed with the veggies and the dressing.
Don’t store the salad in the freezer as it is full of juicy vegetables. They will come out mushy and not appetizing at all.
We also have this easy and healthy salad roundup, dedicated to salad lovers. The recipes are easy to follow and complied with our healthy eating standards.
Toss 4 oz cubed baguette with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp onion powder, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Make sure to sprinkle the dry ingredients so every piece of bread is coated evenly.
Add the seasoned baguette cubes into the air fryer basket and spread them out in one layer. Air-fry for 13 minutes to make golden, crispy croutons. If you’re using the oven, spread them out onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a dressing bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp pepper, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, and 1 tsp whole grain mustard. Whisk until you no longer see two layers separating.
In a large salad bowl toss 10 oz halved cherry tomatoes, 4 oz sliced cucumbers, 0.5 oz sliced red onions, and 1 oz basil with the dressing.
To serve, add the crispy croutons to the bowl and toss quickly. Only toss the croutons right before serving or they’ll be soft.
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 191Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Vitamin A 775IU
Vitamin C 20mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.