Tuscan Recipe for Peasant Tomato Salad Panzanetti

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This recipe is an old Italian recipe and can also be known by the name of Panzanella.   It is fun to do with kids because it uses left over bread which you make soggy and then press it out.  Kids will love it!    

Seriously, that’s what you do but there is more to it than just that.   You still add in ingredients like tomatoes, red onion, olives or whatever else you’d like to add. 

This is a quick Italian recipe that Italian peasants used to make because it used what they had on hand – in this case old stale bread.

No, it isn’t one of those most impressive salads, but it does epitomize the simple cooking style found in many early authentic Italian recipes.

Let me clarify as well that I’m not saying to use rotten bread that is covered in mold.  But let’s face it, besides making breadcrumbs, what else can you use stale bread for?   Why not use it to make panzanella!

So, if you’re wondering what to do with any old stale white bread… here you go!


Panzanella Peasant Tomato Salad Recipe

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • stale white bread approx. 3 cups or so - whatever you have
  • 4 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • handful of basil
  • 4 TBLE olive oil
  • 2 TBLE white wine vinegar
  • dash salt/pepper


  1. Cut the stale bread in thick slices and add into a large bowl filled with ice cold water. Let soak 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile chop the tomatoes and slice the onion and place into a large serving bowl.
  3. When the bread is finished soaking, squeeze each piece to get as much water out as possible then add to the salad.
  4. For the vinaigrette, mix the olive oil and white wine vinegar in a separate bowl so it is well blended.
  5. Pour over the salad and add in the fresh basil leaves along with a dash of salt and pepper.
  6. Mix well and try to let sit for about 2 hours prior to serving.

Recipe Notes

TIP #1: You can use about 6 scallions in place of the red onion. TIP #2: Serve in a bright Italian serving bowl which will compliment the red tomatoes. TIP #3: You can use red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar - either is fine.

Tuscan Recipe for Peasant Tomato Salad Panzanetti

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