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Grilled Panzanella Salad

Aren't we loving this part of summer, with all the fresh tomatoes and basil?  I sure wish we had a longer growing season here in Michigan.  Here's a great summer salad that uses all those tomatoes and basil and is as beautiful as it is delicious. 


Panzanella salad in Italy was used as a way to make use of leftover, stale bread. You would take the bread and soak it in water until it had softened up a bit and toss it with onions and tomatoes. My favorite way to make panzanella salad, though, is to grill the bread, toss it with tomatoes, basil and cheese and drizzle a little oil and vinegar over it.

Use really good quality olive oil if you can - it makes a big difference!


Grilled Panzanella Salad 

serves 6

for a printable recipe, click here

Ingredient quantities here are approximate. Adjust them any way you like. 


  • 1 small loaf good quality bread
  • 2 large garlic cloves 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch basil leaves
  • 1 8-ounce tub mozzarella balls, "ciliegini", packed in water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I like red wine or herb)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper



Prepare a grill or, if you can't grill outside, heat a grill pan on the stove. Slice the bread into 1-inch thick slices. Grill both sides until golden. Rub the grilled bread with the raw garlic.  Tear the bread into bite sized chunks and place in a large serving bowl and add the cherry tomatoes.

Tear the basil leaves into the serving bowl. Drain the mozzarella balls and add them to the serving bowl. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lots of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss everything well and serve.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (24)

Looks need some great Chicago bread!!!!!!
Warmly, Carol from Chicago
Great posts, keep them coming

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Forget the salad. Where can I buy that awesome wooden bowl?????

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

From The Italian Dish:

Christina: That beautiful wooden bowl is from Rootworks, in Seattle, Washington. Thanks for asking!

August 28, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Magnifique ! je la fais avec du pain de campagne grillé (pain français), du vinaigre balsamique et un peu d'ail haché avec le basilic et la poudre de parmesan... C'est délicieux !

P.S. très belles photos gourmandes

Magnificent! I make it with some burned farmhouse bread (French loaf), some balsamic vinegar and a little garlic chopped with the basil and powders Parmesan cheese... It is delicious!

P.S. very beautiful greedy photos


August 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfine bessot

This looks delightful and yummy :)

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudy@Savoring Today

I love the idea of fresh fragrant tomatoes, basil and olive oil soaked bread. Delicious. I have to make it before the summer is over. GG

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlamorous Glutton

I just found this blog and I have to say this is the kind of food I like to eat. I can't wait to try some of your recipes! I am sitting here drooling!

BTW - have you thought about a Facebook page that links to your blog? It would be easier for me to share with my friends!

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCara

I just posted a panzanella recipe myself - this is such a great dish, and so frugal. I love your addition of mozzarella. I added capers myself My panzanella.

August 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

traditional recipe for Panzanella (from Tuscany and central Italy) hasn't mozzarella; usually, in Italy the bread must be wet, soaked in cold water for a couple of minutes, but your version seems to me very good ;)

This is my recipe, a little bit different from your version:


August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMario Grazia

I'm a big fan of this salad as well and make many times throughout the summer. Surprised not to see cucumbers. I sometimes add orange and yellow sweet peppers and occasionally olives to the recipe. A few leftover cooked green beans cut into 2 inch pieces are also good additions.

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEveryday Cook

From The Italian Dish:

Cara: I have indeed thought about a Facebook fan page for the blog. Thanks for the suggestion. I just need to get going on it!

September 1, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I just finished grilling the bread... living in anticipation.

September 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Sounds and looks delicious, Italian food rocks and I may I add that your strawberry parfaits look absolutely divine.

September 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Butterfield

Love Panzanella salad. Love to grill. Why I have NEVER put those two together is an oversight that shall be remedied soon. Thanks.

And...BEAUTIFUL photos. Love them.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara | Creative Culinary

My husband and I just had this salad for supper and it was delicious! I found your blog by accident while searching for a recipe, and I am so glad I did! We'll be trying lots of recipes. The beautiful photos really inspire me to cook!

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

I could eat this every day!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

I love every thing you make, it's all a visual feast!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarie

If you need a sous chef anytime soon-Let me know!!! I'd be more than happy to make a trip back from Chicago!

September 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLydia Itsell

Sometimes I grill Romaine lettuce and watermelon pieces,remove rind and brush both with olive oil, add to this dish...its really refreshing and filling...try it I believe you will like it! Yes, love the bowl!

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicky B

great arrangement of italian dishes....i like especially the wooden bowl...;-)
Italina life style and food rocks...please continue with your great blog!

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian

Add a little Dijon to the oil and vinegar.

June 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike

wonderfull and a very traditional dish, Great presentation with the olive wood bowl!!!
I LIke! <3!

June 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOlivewoodlover

do you have a facbook page to share ?
Would love to share this mediteranean recipt on my page

best regards

June 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristian

From The Italian Dish:

Christian: I do have a Facebook Fan Page - the link is right at the top of my site and also on one of the sidebars.

June 23, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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