Panzanella Salad combines fresh veggies, mozzarella, and toasted bread with a light vinegar dressing. Create the perfect summer panzanella by adding juicy, plump strawberries to the mix!
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 strawberry panzanella has the perfect balance of flavors and textures and is sure to become a family favorite.
What Is Panzanella?
Panzanella 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, an authentic Italian panzanella salad recipe 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.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Bread – Choose something with a thick crust and coarse texture for this panzanella salad 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, authentic Italian Panzanella salad recipe into a delicious summer dish.
- 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.
Serving Suggestions for Summer Panzanella
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.
Panzanella Salad Recipe FAQ
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!
Burrata is another popular choice for panzanella salad, 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.
Other Salad Recipes
Strawberry Panzanella Salad
- 4 cups country bread , in cubes about 1 inch
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 cup strawberries, cut in half
- 1/2 English cucumbers, chopped
- 1 small red onion , finely chopped
- 7 ounce jar mini bocconcini, or 1 cup fresh mozzarella in small cubes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 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.
- In a large bowl, add the bread croutons, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, onion, bocconcini, and basil.
- Add the white wine vinegar and mix all the ingredients.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2021, updated and republished May 2023
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