Panzanella Bread Salad

How to Make Panzanella and Other Bread Salads

Nathan Hawkes Nathan Hawkes Mar 02, 2024

Bread salads are classy.  And easy.  You're basically building a garden salad, overloading it will croutons, and drizzling it with a dressing.  It's a great way to show off your fancy bread that you made. You can use a bread salad as a main dish salad, not just a side salad.

Bread salads have three components: Greens, meats or cheese for protein, and bread chunks.  Add whatever dressing that you like.  The bread chunks play the role of croutons only there are more of them, larger, and not as crunchy.

Bread salads are best if the bread is not soggy.  Serve immediately after assembly.  While many bread salads are made with bread that is not toasted, especially stale bread, we prefer toasted.  You can either toast the bread in a toaster or cut it into cubes and toast it in a toaster oven or in the oven at 300 degrees.

Panzanella Bread Salad

This is the traditional bread salad from Italy. The basic ingredients are fresh tomatoes, basil, and Italian cheese. It's made with an Italian bread mix.

Discover what makes this salad famous.


olive oil
red wine vinegar
1 slice toasted bread cut into cubes (see notes)
1 tomato cut into slices
1/8 of a red onion thinly sliced
2-3 leaves fresh Basil, torn
salad greens
2 tablespoons grated romano or parmesan cheese


  1. Mix the olive oil and red wine vinegar together.
  2. Toss toasted bread cubes with the tomatoes, onions, and basil.
  3. Put the salad onto a serving plate, drizzle with the oil and vinegar, and garnish with cheese.  Serve immediately.


Bread Salad Recipe


Tex-Mex Bread Salad

The bread here is cheesy salsa bread made with cheese, tomatoes, and onions plus spices. It's the perfect bread for this salad.  



1 slice toasted bread cut into cubes 
1/4 tomato, cubed
1/3 cup of canned corn
1/3 cup of sliced olives
3 slices avocado for garnish
Mozzarella cheese for garnish


Plus dressing of your choice. A vinaigrette will do.

  1. Toss toasted bread with the vinaigrette, just enough for flavor.
  2. Add tomatoes, corn, and olives to the bread and toss until well distributed.
  3. put onto a serving plate and garnish with cheese and avocado.


Tex-Mex Bread Salad

Fruited Bread Salad 

1 slice toasted bread cut into cubes
1/4 cup red seedless grapes
1/4 cup red apple cubed
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup spinach

Olive oil and red wine vinegar

  1. Toss toasted bread with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  2. Place spinach on a serving plate.
  3. Arrange bread, grapes, apple, and cheese on top of spinach in quarters.
bread salad with shrimp


To Make Your Own Bread Salad

Choose your greens. 

Actually, think far beyond just the greens.  Add vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, beans, and red beats.  Add fruits and nuts like sunflower seeds, walnuts, or dried cranberries.

It is essential that your greens are dry so that they do not make the other ingredients wet.  

Choose your cheese.

We went to the store and bought most of the specialty cheeses that they carried.  (The cook in our test kitchen went nuts with all the cheeses she could try.)

We like pungent or robust cheeses though milder cheeses can be used.  Swiss, feta, sharp cheddar, and gorgonzola are favorites.  For robust cheeses, cut the cheese thinly or crumble it into smaller pierces. Use larger pieces for milder cheeses so that the flavor does not get lost in the salad.  Use a cheese slicer for uniform, attractive slices.

Choose your bread.

This is an opportunity to showcase unique or flavorful breads.  Think beyond the normal white or wheat.  Consider what breads you might choose if you were making a sandwich with these ingredients.  Rye breads, cheese breads, and chili breads are wonderful.

Toast your breads until they are well done.  The drier breads, well toasted, will add a bit of crunch and hold together under a coating of dressing.

    Recommended Breads--to make fabulous bread salads

    Italian Country Bread

    French Bread

    Black Russian Pumpernickel Bread

    Cranberry Nut Bread

    Tuscany Tomato Bread

    Pumpkin Walnut Bread

    Diego's Jalapeno Cheddar Bread



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