Recipe: Summer Panzanella Salad

This traditional Tuscan salad is the perfect work lunch for hot summer days.

Photo by Asia Bradlee

Photo by Asia Bradlee

Next time you’re left with bread gone stale, don’t toss it in the trash. Instead, salvage the loaf by making this light panzanella salad recipe.

Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan salad that’s made with tomatoes and crusty bread. For more nutrients and flavor, we added cucumbers, onions, and mozzarella to our version. Peaches, which are currently in season, also add a punch of sweetness.

If you don’t have stale bread but are craving this salad, not to worry. Simply buy a loaf of bread and toast it in the oven for the same effect.

Serves 4-6

1 loaf Tuscan wheat bread, or any whole wheat bread of your choice
2 peaches
4 large tomatoes
1 English cucumber
1/4-1/2 red onion, to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 Tbsp olive oil (4 Tbsp if you’re toasting the bread)
1 lemon
1 ball fresh mozzarella


Cut the loaf of bread into small cubes. If you’re working with stale bread, set it aside now.

If you’re toasting fresh bread instead, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat the bread cubes with two tablespoons of olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until toasted. Let them cool and set them aside.

Chop the tomatoes into small cubes and place them in a large bowl. Chop the peaches and add them to the bowl as well.

Slice the English cucumbers into rounds, then halves. Thinly slice the onions. Dice the basil. Cut the mozzarella into small cubes. Add all of these to the bowl. Make sure the bread is completely cool, then add the stale or toasted pieces to the bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the juice from half of the lemon and two tablespoons of olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat.

Serve the salad alone, or over a bed of arugula for added nutrients.