Recipe: Panzanella Salad

I don’t like peppers, tomatos or cucumbers but this is somehow the most amazing salad I’ve ever had. We had a cookbook club recently and my friend brought this and it hit the spot like nothing I’ve ever tasted–I’ve been fantasizing about it every since.  I finally scheduled it into my meal plan this week and ended up having to substitute a few ingredients from the original recipe to get what you see pictured, but it still turned out incredibly delicious.  I’ll post the original recipe and my variation, as well.  Make sure you check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe.

Panzanella Salad
Serves 4
A light but flavorful salad--add your favorite meat to make it a one pan meal!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  3. 1 teaspoon course salt
  4. 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  5. 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  6. 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  7. 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  8. 1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  9. 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  10. 3 tablespoons capers, drained*
For the Vinaigrette
  1. 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  2. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  3. 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar**
  4. 1/2 cup good olive oil
  5. 1/2 teaspoon course salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan.
  2. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
  3. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers.
  5. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette.
  6. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
  1. *I didn't have capers, so I just left them out.
  2. **I used balsamic vinegar instead and it was DELICIOUS. I will use champagne vinegar in the future if I ever remember to buy it, but I always have balsamic on hand so I'm not too worried about ever being in a pickle.
  3. ***My friend who brought this recipe added cubed salami to the salad and it was amazing!
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
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