Panzanella-Cucumber Salad

Panzanella with Ciabatta, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onions and basil(Serves 8)

Panzanella comes from the Italian words for bread (pane) and small basket (zanella). Traditionally, this savory Tuscan salad is made with anchovies, chopped veggies, and day-old bread soaked in olive oil, but here’s a lighter version, sans the soaking. 170 calories, 10 mg cholesterol, 11 g total fat (3 saturated), 160 mg sodium and just 3 g sugar. Just toss and taste. Buon appetito!



  • 4 cups day-old crusty whole-wheat peasant-style (rustic) bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1 lb.), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 medium unwaxed cucumber, quartered crosswise, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 20 large, fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsps. red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the bread with the basil, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese in a large salad bowl. Make the dressing by blending the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and mustard (if desired). Season with salt and pepper. Whisk well to blend. Pour the dressing over the bowl’s contents, then toss gently. Cover, then let sit at room temperature* for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend, as the bread softens.

*(Note: Refrigeration changes the texture of the tomatoes.)

Recipe adapted from

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