Panzanella is a type of bread salad popular in Italy. Across the Mediterranean there are various forms of bread salads. Historically, bread salads were an easy way to use up stale bread, but you can use fresh bread as well (the best is a sourdough loaf, in my opinion). Traditionally onions or tomatoes are included in this salad…but you can mix and match any veggies you have in the house. I’ve made this salad with lettuce, cilantro, carrots, and other seasonal veggies or toppers. It’s a very adaptable recipe.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The measurements I gave below are what I used, BUT this is a type of recipe that should be oriented to your taste preferences. Always taste test your vinaigrette before soaking the bread and modify measurements to what your taste buds appreciate. I’ve used different types of oils, but I believe olive oil is the best. With vinegar, I’ve done apple cider, rice, red, and balsamic. If you use stale bread, do make a point to sprinkle the bread in water and gently squeeze out – it will make absorbing the vinaigrette easier and less concentrated.
Also, I used two different types of cucumber in this recipe. If you do not have lemon cucumbers, simply use a whole cucumber. Capers add a nice tart taste, but you can replace with green olives or omit and add more pepper.
Fresh or day-old sourdough bread (this recipe used 1/3 of a loaf)
1/3of a red onion, chopped
1largetomatoes, chopped in bite sized piecesor 2 medium
1/3of a cucumber, sliced
1/2of a lemon cucumber, sliced
5-10leavesof basil, shredded
1-2teaspoonsof olive oil
Cut sourdough bread into bite-sized chunks. Or just tear off bite-sized chunks. Set aside.
Make the veggie salad portion. Cut up onion, tomatoes, cucumber, and add in the capers and basil. Drizzle with the 1-2 tsp of olive oil. Set aside.
Make the vinaigrette. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, broth (optional), garlic, lemon juice from wedges, salt, and pepper. Whisk and taste-test. Modify amount of ingredients based on your personal preference.
Toss the bread into the vinaigrette and mix thoroughly until all or most of the vinaigrette is mixed in. Place soaked bread in bowl and top with the veggie salad mixture. Eat and enjoy.