My Favorite Summer Salad–Panzanella

  • Author: Tonja Engen



  • For the Salad:
  • 1 loaf of French bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbls. Olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 45 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
  • 1 fresh mozzarella ball, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • For the Vinaigrette:
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbls. Red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat Add bread cubes and salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the bread with oil, then fry over medium low heat until the bread is crunchy and golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Put the tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, red onion, mozzarella, and capers in a large serving bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk together.
  4. Add the bread to the vegetables and toss to combine.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
  6. Let the salad sit for at least a half hour to allow the flavors to absorb into the bread, stirring a few times to make sure the bread gets evenly soaked. Add the basil, stir to combine, then serve.