Panzanella Bread Salad with Feta and Basil


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bread salad in a large white bowl

Fresh and flavorful, few dishes celebrate the flavors of summer like the bread salad known as Panzanella. This version includes a simple dressing made with sun-dried tomatoes for extra tomato flavor and cucumbers, feta, and basil for added flavor and texture. 

Summer is here and our small garden is finally starting to churn out cucumbers and herbs and the occasional summer squash. No tomatoes yet, but I’m finding great ones at the farmers market. And great summer produce means it’s time for a great summer salad – Panzanella. If you want all those delicious summer flavors in a fresh, hearty salad, this one’s for you. 

bread salad in a large white bowl

What is Panzanella?

Panzanella is an Italian salad made from sturdy bread cubes and fresh tomatoes. The bread soaks up the juices from the tomatoes resulting in a hearty salad that is full of summer flavor. 

While the basic salad is just bread and tomatoes, it is a perfect blank slate for adding your other favorite summer ingredients.

ingredients for panzanella

When to Serve Panzanella

Panzanella is best served in late summer when tomatoes are in season and the most flavorful. It’s great as a lunch on its own – add in some white beans or top it with a poached egg. Or serve it as a dinner side dish with grilled meat or fish. 

Toasted vs. Day Old Bread

Panzanella is traditionally made with day-old (stale) bread, but this recipe calls for toasting bread cubes to give them a similar sturdy texture that soaks up the flavor of the vinaigrette. The toasting step also adds flavor to the salad.

Dressing for Panzanella

Bread salad like panzanella does not need a dressing. Fresh in-season tomatoes will release enough juice to soak and flavor the bread cubes. However, this version of the salad includes a rich, flavorful dressing made with sun-dried tomato and fresh basil to highlight the summer flavors of the salad. 

pouring dressing into a small glass bowl

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bread salad in a large white bowl
5 from 1 vote

Panzanella Salad with Feta and Fresh Basil

Fresh and flavorful, few dishes celebrate the flavors of summer like the bread salad known as Panzanella. This version includes a simple dressing made with sun-dried tomatoes for extra tomato flavor.
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Half Sheet Pan
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Standing or Immersion Blender


For the Salad:

  • 12 oz Good-Quality Bread, 1-inch cubes (Ciabatta or Sourdough work well here - look for a bakery-style loaf of bread)
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs Tomatoes, chopped (use heirloom or locally-grown tomatoes if available)
  • 1 8 oz Cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Red Onion
  • 4 oz Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 10 leaves Basil, chopped, plus more for garnish

Tomato-Basil Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 small Sun-dried Tomato (from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Honey


  • Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
  • Toss bread cubes with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and spread out on a large sheet pan (use two if needed). Season bread with some salt and pepper.
  • Bake bread until golden and very crisp, shaking the pan or flipping the bread with a spatula halfway through cooking, about 15 minutes total.
  • While bread toasts, combine all ingredients for the dressing and blend with an immersion blender or standing blender until smooth. Set aside.
  • Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, including toasted bread.
  • Slowly add dressing to salad while tossing everything together to combine.
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 1004mg | Potassium: 548mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 391IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 318mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 507
Keyword: bbq side dish, easy salad recipe, easy side dish, potluck recipe, summer, summer salad
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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