Panzanella Salad Has Bold Italian Flavors

Salads are an easy side dish to whip up that elevate any meal. This refreshing Italian Panzanella salad puts your stale bread to use and it features bold flavors including ripe tomatoes, homemade croutons, savory mozzarella cheese, and a light vinaigrette. The recipe makes eight side salad servings.


Homemade Croutons:

  • 4 ounces ciabatta or sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced


  • 1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 pound additional tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 mini cucumbers or 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 8 ounces mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly cut Kalamata olives and/or capers


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, toss until combined. Bake until golden, 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Combine olive oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Stir until combined.
  4. Cut your onion down the middle and stir the onions into the dressing. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill while you make the salad.
  5. For the salad, transfer the tomatoes to a large serving platter and put half of the croutons between the tomatoes, distribute the rest on top. Place the cucumber rounds and mozzarella over the salad.
  6. Distribute the lightly pickled onions all over. Stir the remaining dressing and drizzle it over the salad.
  7. Top the salad with basil, olives and/or capers on top. Sprinkle with extra black pepper and dried oregano.
  8. Let the salad marinate for 20 minutes to an hour before serving.