This post may contain affiliate links from Zazzle or Amazon.

What is Panzanella Salad? It’s a is an Italian concoction from the region of Tuscany and Umbria which is basically a chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes.

Who thought of turning bread into salad?

The Italian genius for food turns those ingredients into a savory summer side dish that can be transformed with the addition of any number of fresh or grilled ingredients.

Try this rendition and make a meal of it.

chopping tomatoes photo by Jakob Montrasio

Chopping tomatoes photo by Jakob Montrasio

Panzanella Salad with Chicken

- Tuscany summer flavor right in your own kitchen-
This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, the one cookbook my grandmother cooked from, my mother cooked from, and I have cooked from for most of my life. I think my kids cook from it now.
B H,and G have great recipes and lots of them. I used to cut the recipes out of the magazines, but now I like to access them online.
"Panzanella or panmolle is a Florentine salad of bread and tomatoes popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes also onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar." -Wikipedia


  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green pepper+ celery+ onions or use fresh- and just chop them up
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 to 2-¼ lb. whole roasted chicken
  • 4 cups cubed Italian bread
  • 2 medium cucumbers halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil or spinach


  • Spoon off 2 tablespoons of tomato liquid.
  • Combine with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, dash salt, and pepper; set aside.
  • Remove meat from roasted chicken. Cut into pieces.
  • Brown bread cubes in 2 tablespoons hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove.
  • Add diced tomatoes; toss. Divide on plates. Add cucumbers, chicken, and basil. Pass tomato-oil mixture.


That's how they make it, this is my variation
Instead of the can of diced tomatoes, fresh Pico di Gallo. Plus the diced celery -just because I like celery. OR  use tomato bruschetta - that would be good.
You could dice the cucumbers for a different texture.
Experiment with the greens, mix them together, add in chopped romaine. Do your own thing.

Extra virgin means comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries; the percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 45%, Spain 30%). It is used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.