Dried bread and ripe tomatoes make the best Italian salad of the summer

Panzanella salad

This is a classic Tuscan bread salad.

Panzanella is made of ripe tomatoes, dried Italian bread, and a simple tangy dressing.

And word-on-the-street… Panzanella isn’t a tomato salad with croutons.

It’s a bread salad, that can be made with tomatoes… or any other veggies.

However, I’ve stayed classic with this recipe using bread with tomatoes.

The key to this salad is the bread, drying and toasting.

And sourcing the perfectly ripe tomatoes.

Salt your tomatoes

Some recipes (including Angela Hartnett, whose recipe this is), don’t mention salting tomatoes.

However, unless you know your tomatoes are super tasty, juicy and sweet.

Then this is a good trick to intensify your tomatoes.

And it only takes 15 mins so you can get on with the bread toasting.

So, in a colander, add your chopped tomatoes and place them over a plate or bowl to catch the juice.

Then sprinkle sea salt over, toss and leave for 10-15 mins.

Once done, you should see that the salt has drawn out some of the tomato juices.

And you can use this juice in the vinaigrette.

Serve panzanella with…

This Tuscan bread salad is a great starter.

Or perfect to serve with anything from grilled chicken to salmon.

Or, if you want, you can add anchovy fillets or grilled chicken to the salad as a main meal.

Panzanella salad

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP/COOK TIME: 10 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: easy


For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 400g mixed tomatoes, chopped
  • 200g focaccia bread

Optional: anchovy fillets or grilled chicken


  • Tear the focaccia into bite-size pieces and griddle or bake in a hot oven until charred and golden
  • Whisk the red wine vinegar with olive oil and crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix the chopped tomatoes with basil and capers
  • Pour over the dressing and gently toss together
  • Add the chunks of bread and allow it to soak up the juices
  • Serve

Looking for other summer salad ideas, check out my 4 favourite summer salads

Panzanella salad – a perfect summer salad

Reference: TheMedDish