Panzanella (Tomato and Toasted Bread Salad)

I’d like to introduce you all to my new favorite lunch. I haven’t quite convinced Oliver that it’s a lunch (he always side-eyes salad), but if I throw a hot dog on a plate with this beside it, he’s quite happy to pick away. Silly boy. If you already know Panzanella salads, well first off, lucky you and why didn’t you tell me about them sooner. Second, you may think that this is not a panzanella. Look, I like cheese.

Who doesn’t like cheese? If you are one of those crazy people (cough, Bo), who doesn’t like cheese, just leave it out.

Also, my bread is toasted up in a frying pan and not of the grill. It’s just easier for me. Especially when it’s pouring down rain, as it was both times that I made this in the last two weeks. And ok, maybe I season my bread like I do when I make croutons for salad. Don’t knock it until you try it. Also, make extra so you have croûtons for salad the next day, you’ll thank me for this.

Now I’ll tell you the best part of this salad. There is no need for any measuring cups or spoons. Don’t be scared about this. A year ago, I would have been scared about this. Then I just closed my eyes, let go of the control, and it was so freeing. There have also been less dishes to put away from the dishwasher. Win, win. Trust yourself to season to taste, and hold back if you aren’t sure, because while it’s easy to add more, it’s impossible to get the salty taste out of the pasta when you add too much to the water. Sorry, I digress.

Onto the salad!

Here’s pretty much everything you need. I say pretty much because not pictured is the fresh basil, garlic powder, garlic salt, and butter. I’m always good for forgetting something from the picture. What we do have is some bocconcini cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, rustic bread, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.


Now’s time to do the prep. You may notice that the items in these photos are not the same. That’s because they’re from the small, just Oliver and I version from two weeks ago. Meaning I forgot to take photos of the steps in this nice big version.

Cut your bread up into bite size cubes. They don’t have to be perfect.


Peel your cucumber, then cut it up into bite sized cubes too.


Onto the tomato, and you guessed it, cut it up into bite sized pieces.


Now, throw some olive oil and butter into a skillet until the butter has completely melted.


Add the bread and toss it with a wooden spoon every couple of minutes until browned on all sides. It will be nice and crunchy on the outside, but still a bit soft on the inside.


Turn off the heat now and season them with a bit of salt, pepper, garlic salt, and garlic powder. Now pat yourself on the back because you have just made the most delicious salad croutons of your life. I usually stand at the pan and eat them like this for about 5 minutes before moving on. Once they’re completely cool you can keep them in a zip lock bag for a day or two.


Now that the bread is ready, and everything else is prepped (look at that, I also managed to chop up the fresh basil, which I forgot to mention before). Also, if you use smaller tomatoes like I did i this version, make sure that you cut them at least in half. You want all that yummy tomato juice to help flavor the bread.


I also cut the bocconcini in half too. I take small bites, what can I say.


Throw the cheese, tomatoes, and cucumber into a big bowl and toss to mix.


Add a drizzle of olive oil, a few good gluggs of red wine vinegar (you’re loving my measuring descriptions, I know), and some salt and pepper to taste. Toss it all up, then try a couple of pieces to see if it’s seasoned right. If it tastes too oil-y, just add some more vinegar.


Throw the bread on top.


Toss it up again.


And we’re done!

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I mean, come on. It’s beautiful looking. It make you look good when you serve it to other people. The bread keeps a bit of it’s crunch in some areas, but in others it just soaks up all that tomato juice and vinegar and it’s just so, soooo good.

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Here’s your printable:

Panzanella (Tomato and Toasted Bread Salad)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Panzanella (Tomato and Toasted Bread Salad)


  • ½ lb rustic, country style bread, cut into bite size cubes
  • 3 large, beefsteak tomatoes, cut into bit size pieces
  • 1 seedless cucumber, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup bocconcini cheese, cut in half
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil, cut or torn into smallish pieces
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic salt
  • garlic powder


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the bread cubes and sauté, tossing frequently, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and garlic powder.
  2. In a large bowl toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, and basil. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the red wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, toss, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add the bread, toss again, and serve.


Everything with this salad is just seasoned to taste, to don't feel tied to the quantities. It's roughly ¼ cup cheese, ½ cup bread, 1 average sized tomato, and ¼ cucumber per person.

Don't forget that if you use cherry tomatoes, or other smaller ones, in the salad, you have to cut them in at least half so that the bread gets flavored by the juices.

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One comment

  1. it`s like am eating a salad with just croutons. I LOVE CROUTONS. win-win here for me. :) thanks for sharing! it sounds awesome!

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