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Tuscan panzanella, tomato bread salad

Breakfast is universally acknowledged as one of the main meals of the day: milk, coffee, fruit juices, cookies, brioches, and maybe yoghurt, home made jam and, why not, some pizza.

This is nowadays breakfast. In the past, when my grandma was a child, it was totally different. They used to have panzanella (Tuscan bread salad) for breakfast. I love panzanella, because it’s refreshing, light and good, a summer dish… for lunch or dinner, not for breakfast!


Panzanella was summer breakfast, made with leftover bread. During the winter, they used to have polenta to start the day in a glorious way! It used to be adult people’s breakfast, grandma used to have milk instead – since they had a cow and a goat in the farm. Men who went to work in the fields at dawn made the panzanella in a lunch box and brought it with them in a basket. When breakfast time came, they used to eat the panzanella drinking some home made red wine.

Nowadays, panzanella is a refreshing first course to have during the first summer days.

Panzanella, Tuscia bread salad
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Tuscan
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
You'll need
  • 300 g of stale Tuscan bread
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 fresh onion
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
How to make it
  1. Tear the bread into large pieces, put it in a large bowl and soak it with water. They used to make panzanella with leftover homemade baked bread: it had a very different and better flavour and took a lot of time to soak up.
  2. Slice thinly the onion and soak it in cold water, to shade its strong taste.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and slice the cucumber.
  4. After 10 minutes, when the bread is soft, squeeze it, crumble it with your hands, put it in a large bowl and dress it with the well drained onion, the chopped tomato, the sliced cucumber and the fresh basil, torn roughly with your hand.
  5. Season with salt and drizzle generously with of extra virgin olive oil, then pour a small quantity of white wine vinegar.
  6. If you prefer a more delicate vinegar, opt for an apple cider vinegar.
  7. Set aside for half an hour in the fridge, then it’s ready to be eaten.



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This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. stupenda e profumata con il basilico e la cipolla dolce e croccante…
    mia zia ci mette anche delle acciughe sotto sale a pezzetti…

    grande giulia!

  2. @ Marco: grazie, che piacere che mi fa vederti qui!! ottima l’idea delle acciughe! ciao
    @ Cookin’ Canuck: Grandma surprised me too, when she told me about this peculiar breakfast! ciao!

  3. really I very liked your dishes, I work at italian restaraunt in Russia, and I often got ideas of you perfect cusine/ respect!!!!

    1. Thank you Vadim, thank you so much for your feedback! it’s incredible to know that my recipes are sometimes used in a restaurant in Russia, so cool! If you need tips and ideas, just ask, I’ll be happy to help you!

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