Thursday, May 13, 2021

Strawberry Panzanella Salad

Panzanella salad combines fresh veggies, mozzarella, and toasted bread with a light vinegar dressing. Make it today in just a few easy steps!

Salads are my go-to once the weather starts heating up. Not only are they easy to throw together at the last minute, but they are both filling and refreshing.

This summer panzanella has the perfect balance of flavors and textures and is sure to become a family favorite.

Have an abundance of strawberries? Try them in a spinach salad or my delightful spin on a classic caprese.

Panzanella Salad with strawberries in a bowl

What Is Panzanella Salad?

It is a chopped salad originating in Tuscany that features bread, tomatoes, and onions. Additional veggies can be added depending on what is available and in season.

Traditionally, it was a creative way to use up stale or hardened pieces of leftover bread so there wasn’t any waste.

The pieces were soaked in water or various liquids to give them new life, but for this panzanella recipe we’ll be using toasted cubes instead.

Strawberry Panzanella Salad ingredients

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
  • Bread - Choose something with a thick crust and coarse texture for this recipe. Ciabatta, sourdough, or even a crusty French loaf would be perfect. Baguettes, on the other hand, will be too dry and should be avoided.
  • Strawberries - These add extra sweetness to transform the classic recipe into a delicious summer panzella.
  • Cheese - Bocconcini is simply the official name for small balls of mozzarella. If these aren’t available where you shop, you can buy fresh mozzarella and slice it into bite-sized cubes instead.
  • English cucumber - This has a thinner skin than regular cucumbers and doesn't come with a wax coating, making it a popular choice for salads and sandwiches. Feel free to use a different variety, but I would recommend peeling it first.

panzanella recipe chopped ingredients

Serving Suggestions

Panzanella salad was created to be filling enough for a meal while still light enough during the warmer months. So, it’s quite delicious all on its own.

However, you could certainly add some chopped chicken or slices of steak over the top to make it a bit heartier.

If you’ll be serving this with dinner, pair it with grilled chicken, smoked tenderloin, or even a white fish!

panzanella salad divided in a bowl

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
  • Wide Skillet - Be sure there is plenty of room so the bread cubes toast evenly.
  • Large Bowl - This one is my go-to!
  • Cutting Board - A big solid cutting board makes prepping a breeze. I use mine daily, so it’s worth the investment to get a good quality one.
  • Quality Knives - These cut down on prep time and are important for safety as well.

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

Can I make this panzanella recipe ahead of time?

Everything should be mixed together as close to serving as possible, otherwise the bread will become soggy. 

However, you can prep all of the ingredients up to a day or two in advance and store them in the refrigerator. Combine them when you are ready, or divide them into smaller portions for several days’ worth of lunches!

panzanella salad in a serving bowl

What other cheese goes with summer panzanella?

Burrata is another popular choice, but it should be placed on top of each serving instead of being mixed in ahead of time.

That way, the creamy center can be incorporated with the other ingredients as they are eaten.


With love from our simple kitchen to yours.

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panzanella salad close up

Yield: 6-8
Author: Donna Elick
Strawberry Panzanella Salad

Strawberry Panzanella Salad

Panzanella salad combines fresh veggies, mozzarella, and toasted bread with a light vinegar dressing. Make it today in just a few easy steps!
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 30 Min


  • 4 cups country bread, cubed (about 1 inch)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup halved strawberries
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jar (7 oz) mini bocconcini or 1 cup fresh mozzarella in small cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet over low heat, add the olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the bread and cook, stirring until the croutons are crispy, (about 10 minutes) then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the bread croutons, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, onion, bocconcini, and basil.
  3. Add the white wine vinegar and mix all the ingredients.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately

Originally published May 2021

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