Tomato Panzanella with a Caprese twist! This tasty Tuscan bread salad is perfect for your next party or picnic!
Move over boring bagged croutons; we’re making panzanella today!
This tuscan bread salad is spiked with garden fresh Summer produce and tossed with a scrumptious lemon dressing. I upped the ante even further and gave this tasty panzanella a caprese vibe by adding fresh mozzarella and basil to the mix.
With its juicy ripe tomatoes and fresh fragrant basil, we plan on enjoying this colorful salad all Summer long! This particular plateful was the highlight of our Sunday! We wound up devouring the entire platter between the two of us.
Making it in the off season? Grab some greenhouse-grown Campari tomatoes in place of the cherry tomatoes and you’re good to go!
Tomato Panzanella (Tuscan Bread Salad)
While this salad is typically made with day old bread, there’s no need to wait for stale ciabatta! Feel free to use fresh and give it a little extra toast time and you’re good to go! Once the dressing is added the bread will revive itself and fluff back up. No rock-hard croutons here!
I highly suggest using ciabatta bread but you can absolutely use any bread you have on hand – Italian, French, and Focaccia all work gloriously. You could even score a Asiago Cheese Loaf from a local bakery and go all out… ummmm hello totally trying that!
Serving a crowd? Double that recipe, yo! As written you’ll get about 4 hearty side-salads out of this recipe but for a party or potluck, it can easily stretch to about 6 servings. Double it and you can easily feed 12 or more. Enjoy!
Tomato Panzanella (Tuscan Bread Salad)
- 1 large 6-7 inch ciabatta roll (or two small rolls)
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 large shallot
- ½ cucumber
- 2 oz mozzarella, cubed
- fresh basil (as much as you'd like!)
EASY LEMON DRESSING
- 1 fresh lemon plus extra to garnish if desired
- 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP sherry vinegar
- 1 TBSP white wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
OPTIONAL MOZZARELLA MARINADE
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8-1/4 tsp Italian blend seasoning
- 1/8-1/4 tsp parsley (fresh or dried)
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- First whisk together your dressing: Zest half of your lemon then squeeze out all its juice. Combine zest, juice, and remanining ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. Once to mix then again before serving.
- Heat your oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet and top with torn pieces of ciabatta bread. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, toss to coat, and arrange in an even layer. Toast until lightly browned but still soft on the inside, approx. 5-7 minutes.
- For the salad, halve your cherry tomatoes, peel and thinly slice the shallow, and chop your cucumber.
- Combine veggies with cubed mozzarella (feel free to use the optional mozzarella marinade above if you'd like!) and toasted ciabatta. Add as much basil as your heart desires. Give your lemony dressing one final shake and pour over salad. Toss to combine and garnish with extra basil and lemon wedges.
- Dive in!
I’m so completely head over heels in love with this recipe. Can’t wait for y’all to try it!
special diets and swaps
- Vegan? Skip the mozzarella and you’re good to go!
- Gluten-Free? Try your favorite GF bread or feel free to use this veggie-dressing combo over a big leafy green salad if you’d like!
- In a pinch, red onion will work in place of the shallots but if you can get your hands on some shallots – do it! They’re so super yummy and much more mild than typical onion, making them great for salads!
If you get a chance to try this tasty tomato panzanella recipe let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS #PEASANDCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations! I can’t wait to see what you whip up!
more tasty tomato recipes to try:
- NEW! Cherry Tomato Salad
- Tomato Basil Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Soup with crispy parmesan chickpeas
- Party Perfect Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes
- Healthy Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad – READER FAVORITE!
Is there a way to make this ahead of time for lunches without the bread getting soggy?
Yes! It requires a few containers for best/tastiest results but it’s 100% possible.
Keep the lightly toasted bread in an airtight baggie on the counter (next to your lunch box or somewhere you’ll remember to snag it) or on top of the salad in the fridge if it’s easier – you can even portion it out into multiple servings ahead of time for how many lunches you’d like to make. The dressing can be stored in little lidded cups/containers (I’ve even found lunch boxes that have a dressing compartment built into the lid – brilliant!) and the veggies can all chill out in the main container in the fridge. Pop all three in your lunch box/bag with a small ice pack (needed for the mozzarella in the recipe if you’re adding it) and toss together when it’s time to dig in!
Lovely looking salad. I’m really trying to be goods and eat more salads over the Summer.
Thank you Amy, meeeee tooooo!
This is a refreshing and filling bread salad. Thanks for sharing this recipe Jenn
Thank you Lara! 🙂
I love panzanella salad it’s so good! You’re photos are gorgeous.
Thank you Emily! Totally delicious!
This is one of my favourite salads to make, especially for a crowd. So much colour and flavour in one dish.
It’s so bright and fun, right?! Totally a crowd pleaser too!
I love Panzanella and any salad that uses bread. It’s so good when it is soaked in all these awesome dressing ingredients. I like the addition of mozzarella 🙂
Thank you Edyta!
I love the photo with the little girl stirring the salad! SO nice to see kids like being in the kitchen! The salad sounds perfect for these hot days of summer!~ Pinned it!
My daughter makes a great assistant! Thanks Michele
Yum! This is one of my favorite summer salads. I love your photos! Such wonderful flavors.
Thank you Tara 🙂
Yummy! What a perfect recipe for summer and I love how simple this salad is to make. I am definitely going to give this one a try. Thank you for sharing!
So excited for you to try it Luci! Thank you! 🙂