Tomato Panzanella Salad

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Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins

Crunchy cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil and homemade garlic croutons make this Tomato Panzanella Salad a summer staple. It’s finished off with a sweet white balsamic vinaigrette. You won’t be able to stop at one helping!

Classic Cucumber Tomato Onion Salad With Croutons

This simple Tuscan salad packs a satisfying crunch and an explosion of juicy goodness in every bite. Garlicky homemade croutons combined with fresh vegetables, aromatic basil and a light balsamic dressing. What could be more tempting than that?

So many of my loved ones have tasted this dish and turned around to tell me it’s their new top favorite salad. People love it so much that they’ll enjoy it as their main course in favor of all the entrees at the potluck! Once you make this crowd-favorite salad, you’ll never stop getting requests for it.

A bowl of sliced cucumbers, a bowl of halved cherry tomatoes and the rest of the panzanella ingredients arranged on a kitchen counter

What Is Panzanella Made Of?

Traditional panzanella salad contains tomatoes, onions and croutons tossed in a tangy dressing made of oil and vinegar. Cucumbers and basil are often included, and they really take things to the next level – I never make panzanella without them!

Scroll down to the recipe card for specified amounts.

Homemade Croutons

  • Stale Sourdough Bread: Cut into cubes.
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder

Tomato Salad

  • Multicolored Cherry Tomatoes: Cut in half.
  • Cucumber: Sliced into half-moon shapes.
  • Red Onion: Thinly sliced.
  • Fresh Basil: Chiffonade (cut into long, thin strips).

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • White Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil has the best flavor.
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Honey: Raw and unfiltered.
  • Fresh Minced Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper: Added to taste.
An artisan-style loaf of sourdough bread sitting on a countertop beside a dish towel

What Kind of Bread Should I Use for Croutons?

I like to make my croutons with an artisan-style loaf of sourdough bread, but any hearty, crusty variety will do the trick. Think ciabatta rolls and French baguettes. Softer kinds of bread will soak up the dressing and become soggy. Whatever variety you choose, let the bread get a bit stale to ensure that it’ll bake into a light and crunchy batch of croutons.

A close-up shot of a tomato panzanella salad inside of a large glass mixing bowl

How to Make the Best Tomato Basil Salad

Making panzanella salad is a walk in the park. You’ll have it ready to go in less than half an hour!

Make the Croutons

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Season Bread: Add the sourdough bread cubes to a large bowl, then season them with the olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Toss to coat all of the cubes.
  3. Bake: Spread out the bread cubes evenly on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake them for 10-15 minutes, or until they’re slightly browned, tossing them halfway through the cook time. Remove the finished croutons from the oven.
A close-up shot of homemade croutons on a metal baking sheet with a raised rim

Make the Vinaigrette

  1. Add Ingredients to Bowl: Add the white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper to a small bowl.
  2. Whisk to Combine: Whisk until the dressing is emulsified.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Combine Ingredients: Add the croutons, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and basil to a large bowl, then drizzle in the vinaigrette. Gently toss to coat all of the croutons with dressing and mix everything together.
  2. Let Rest: Let the salad sit for 5-10 minutes before you serve it so all the flavors get a chance to meld together.

Tips for Success

The following pointers will help you make flawless panzanella salad with ease. Let’s do this!

  • Use Fresh Produce: If you’re making panzanella in the summertime, skip the grocery store and look for homegrown veggies and basil at your local farm stand or market. You’ll be blown away by the quality of your salad!
  • Day-Old Bread is Ideal: Croutons are supposed to be made with stale bread, so don’t be afraid to dry it out a little! You can cut up your bread and set it out uncovered for up to 24 hours before you turn it into croutons.
  • Don’t Skip the Resting Time: This salad has to sit undisturbed for at least 5-10 minutes for the flavors to really blossom. Feel free to give it up to 30 minutes of resting time if you’d like an even more flavorful result.
Tomato panzanella salad in a bowl on a kitchen countertop beside spices and fresh herbs

Add-In Ideas

It’s easy to personalize this salad by incorporating your favorite mix-ins. Whether you want to add cheese or throw in a protein to make it a main dish, the options are pretty much endless.

  • Halved Olives
  • Chopped Salami
  • Mozzarella Pearls
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Diced Bell Pepper
  • Chopped Chicken
  • Crumbled Feta
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Zucchini Slices

What Goes With Panzanella Salad?

This tangy Tuscan salad is extremely versatile. It’s sure to pair well with any entree at the barbecue, from Classic Grilled Shrimp to Chipotle Turkey Burgers or a Classic Grilled BBQ Chicken. If you’d like to cook up a traditional Italian meal, I suggest enjoying it alongside Eggplant Parmesan or Zuppa Toscana Soup. Perfection!

A plate of cucumber tomato onion salad with croutons and white balsamic vinaigrette dressing

How to Store Leftovers

This salad is definitely best shortly after it’s made, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a day or two. After a couple of hours, the croutons will start to lose their crispiness, so keep that in mind when you go to assemble the salad. If you want to avoid soggy bread, store the croutons, salad and dressing separately.

Keep the cooled croutons in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days. The prepared salad ingredients will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. The dressing can be refrigerated in a tightly covered jar for up to 1 week – you’ll likely notice some separation after it sits, but re-whisking it should return it to normal.

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Tomato panzanella salad in a bowl on a kitchen countertop beside spices and fresh herbs

Tomato Panzanella Salad

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 25 minutes
  • yield Yield: 6-8 1x
  • category Category: Side Dish
  • method Method: Oven
  • cuisine Cuisine: Italian

Description

Crunchy cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil and homemade garlic croutons make this Panzanella Salad a summer staple. It’s finished off with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. You won’t be able to stop at one helping!

Scale

Ingredients

For the Croutons

  • 5 cups sourdough cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

For the Tomato Salad

  • 2 cups halved multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup half moon sliced cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup basil, chiffoned

For the White Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Make the Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Add sourdough cubes to a large bowl, season with olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Toss to coat all the cubes.
  3. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly browned. Tossing halfway through. Remove from oven.

Make the Vinaigrette

  1. To a small bowl add white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Whisk until emulsified.

Assemble the Salad

  1. To a large bowl add croutons, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil and drizzle with vinaigrette. Gently toss to coat all croutons with dressing and mix everything together.
  2. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to let all the flavors meld together. Serve.

Notes

  • To Store: Salad is best shortly after it’s made – after a while, croutons will start to lose crispiness – but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1-2 days. To avoid soggy bread, store croutons, salad and dressing separately.
    • Croutons: Keep cooled croutons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
    • Salad: Prepared salad ingredients will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
    • Dressing: Vinaigrette can be refrigerated in a tightly covered jar for up to 1 week – you’ll likely notice some separation after it sits, but re-whisking it should return it to normal.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup

Keywords: cherry tomato salad, cucumber tomato onion salad, tomato salad with basil

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Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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