Colourful Tuscan Bread Salad

Colourful Tuscan Bread Salad

Tuscan bread salad is a wonderful summer starter recipe because there is no cooking involved. It is best to make this colorful Tuscan bread starter using Italian bread.

You can use another type if you have some to use up. Sourdough bread, pita bread and whole grain bread all work well when making panzanella (the Italian name for this salad).

Tuscan Tomato and Bread Salad: Preparing the Bread

Tear the bread up to make big chunks or shred it like breadcrumbs, whichever you prefer. You can get creative with this easy salad recipe and add your own touches to it. It’s one of the best backyard picnic party ideas if you’re looking for something fresh but don’t want caprese salad or another popular summer salad, but instead you feel like trying your hand at something new.

This is a bread salad not a crouton salad so you don’t need to fry or toast the bread. This vegetarian starter recipe is called “panzanella” in Italian and it is a great way to use up stale bread, as well as a healthy starter recipe if you like to use plenty of fresh produce.

It is important to use the freshest basil and tomatoes you can find because this will really boost the flavor of this exciting vegetarian starter recipe. Italians love to use fragrant, fresh produce, so take a page out of their book and do the same, for a surprising and aromatic salad.

What Else to Add to the Tuscan Bread Salad

You can add other ingredients to this Italian bread salad if you like, such as marinated artichokes, shredded spinach, chopped avocado, capers, chunks of mozzarella or minced garlic.

The authentic recipe for panzanella just uses bread, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, onion, oil and vinegar but you can make this vegetarian appetizer your own by adding your favorite ingredients to it, so you can personalize it to your palate.

Now, if this panzanella salad recipe is new to you, Tuscan bread salad might not sound like an appetizing dish but one glimpse of this colorful salad and everybody will want some. It’s colorful, pretty and full of bright flavors and contrasting textures.

You can serve your panzanella salad recipe at room temperature if you like but it is very nice chilled, especially if you are serving it in the summer on a warm day.


How to Make Panzanella

This bread salad is typically Italian, and as well as the Italian bread contains bell pepper, olives, onion, basil and tomatoes, for a beautiful and colorful result. This makes a lovely lunch.

  • Author: Victoria Haneveer
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 5 slices stale Tuscan bread, ciabatta or similar
  • 4 Roma tomatoes (plum tomatoes), chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 10 basil leaves, shredded
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • ¼ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 10 black olives, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Moisten the bread under the tap.
  2. It needs to be moist but not too wet.
  3. If it gets too wet, squeeze the excess water out.
  4. Shred the bread into a big salad bowl.
  5. Add the cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, onion, olives and basil.
  6. Add the vinegar and olive oil and stir well.
  7. Add more if necessary.
  8. Season to taste with the salt and black pepper.
  9. Chill the salad in the fridge for half an hour and serve.

This nutritious Tuscan bread salad recipe is full of vibrant color and it looks really appetizing.

Panzanella recipes are traditionally left alone for at least half an hour before serving, to ensure the flavors mingle and the bread softens. If you want recipes for make ahead appetizers, this one can be prepared ahead. If you are making salad recipes for a buffet table, this one makes a lovely, colorful centerpiece. You can also serve this classic Italian salad at the dinner table as a side dish or as an appetizer.