Panzanella (bread salad)

Halfway through winter has me dreaming of the dog days of summer, and my favorite ingredients–fresh tomatoes and basil.

Before getting into this salad recipe, I must share a bit of context for you, dear reader, many of whom are scattered across the globe and virtually all of you somewhere warmer than MN. It snowed a foot yesterday. This is what that looks like:

We (well mostly not me) shoveled 3 times in the last day. There’s nowhere to put it! The boys were disappointed that school wasn’t canceled. I remember those grade school snow days well–watching the TV update the school closings…a mixture of joy at an unexpected day off and the exhaustion at the end of it after pulling kids up the sledding hill endlessly. I was bummed that we couldn’t spend the day like that today.

So I popped over to the neighbor’s to reminisce, as his creative kiddo built a snow fort. It was a glorious day full of winter sunshine and a balmy 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect for hiding out and an ambush snowball fight 😈

Back to this summery recipe….

We Minnesotans like to clarify our salad types (ie lettuce salad, pasta salad, Jello salad), so it’s surprising that Panzanella, a Tuscan bread salad isn’t big here. Maybe we’ve never tried it because I have never had day old bread to use up 😉.

I substituted in lemon juice for the traditional red wine vinegar and added cucs, skipping the onions. It’s so easy! It’ll be truly fantastic when we have local, fresh tomatoes and variations of cucs, zucchini and herbs!! Cheers to only 3 more months of winter!

Panzanella bread salad

  • Loaf of crusty bread, cut into large cubes (I used a seeded sourdough)
  • 2 best quality tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2″ half moons
  • 1/4c chopped fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3-1/2c olive oil

Mix all ingredients except bread together in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for at least an hour. In the meantime, toast bread at 350 for 8-10 minutes until dry but not dried out. (Skip this if you cube the bread ahead and just leave it overnight or if you truly have dry bread to use up. The texture is important). Toss the bread into tomato mixture until moistened but not soggy. You may need a bit more oil depending on how dry your bread is. Serve at room temperature.

9 thoughts on “Panzanella (bread salad)

  1. Wow, that’s snow! You’ve shoved a slice of nostalgia to the front of my brain with your recollection of the giddiness encountered when it was such thick snow the school day was cancelled. Incredible fun and some of the happiest times I had hahahahaha.

    Lovely recipe Kris, and it’s great to see Carmen here too!

    – Esme Cloud liking it when the best folks connect

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our students here lost two and a half days last week because of terrible road conditions. Yes, officials ‘called’ school at noon and sent everyone home on the buses. . . You can’t even imagine how much chaos ensued. :(. My grandchildren live about 25 minutes away and as soon as I got home from school (the High School gets out earlier and that’s where I work), I was called from their school. The school had called our daughter but she was away, so I rushed in there only to find that they’d been picked up by their mother, who had heard the announcement on the radio! Grrrrr. .

      Agreed, Esme – lovely to connect with the like-minded! (Including your own good self!)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know that feeling. We don’t resist the fact that it’s going to snow but moreso WHEN it does. It has to be timed perfectly in order to cancel an entire day of school. More typically it’s a late start or early release. Never in a million years would I want to drive a school bus! Occasionally it even gets cold enough to cancel when the windchill gets dangerous (-40F). I’m counting the days until my trip to Mexico!!


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