Grilled Panzanella Salad

Suzy Rhodes Wed, 07/29/2015 - 16:38
Grilled Panzanella Salad

Panzanella, also called Panmolle, is the typical summer salad in Tuscany, and it’s become one of my favorite salads ever! I think I could eat this all summer long.  It’s full of lovely fresh produce perfect for this time of year and of course the bread is a big hit for me…my weakness.

A little history:

Panzanella Salad dates back to the 16th century when Italian painter/poet, Bronzino (1503-1572), wrote about these onions and cucumbers with oil, vinegar and toast long before the tomatoes ever came to Italy.  Tomatoes are native to the Americas and were brought over to the Italian peninsula via Spain in the early sixteenth century but never made it to the Italian kitchen until the seventeenth century. By the 1900’s tomatoes were introduced to the Panzanella Salad and have become a big part of the Tuscan salad ever since.

“Stale Tuscan bread has an incredible consistency when soaked with liquid. It doesn’t become soggy the way many other breads would when submerged in vinegar and water. It holds its shape well, it remains springy and the crumbs remain intact. It’s a character not easy to find with other breads. Many non-Italian recipes call for toasting the bread, which is unorthodox (and not recommended, personally) but if you are not using bread that is similar to Tuscan bread, you may not have a choice – just know it is not quite the same.”

This recipe does not call for soaking the bread.




SourceAdapted from
Prep time
20 minutes
Cooking time
5 minutes
Total time
25 minutes


small loaf of good quality bread (sliced into 1” thick)
2 clv
2 c
cherry and grape tomaotes
Cucumber (sliced and diced)
Red Onion (sliced)
small bunch basil leaves
8 oz
tub of mozzarella balls ("ciliegini", packed in water)
3 T
extra virgin olive oil
2 T
Red Wine Vinegar
sea salt and pepper


1. Make the dressing first by whisking together in a small bowl the olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Then set aside
2. Drain the mozzarella balls and tear the basil leaves then combine it all in a large serving bowl with the tomatoes, cucumber and red onion
3. Brush the bread with olive oil and preheat a large heavy skillet. Grill both sides until golden. Rub the grilled bread with the raw garlic
4. Tear the bread into bite sized chunks and place in the large serving bowl with the rest of the salad
5. Add the dressing to the salad and toss well

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