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Recipe for two-tomato bread salad with roasted garlic dressing {vegetarian}

Two-tomato Tuscan bread salad, from The Perfect Pantry.

To squeeze, or not to squeeze: that is the question. Panzanella, the famously frugal Tuscan bread salad, dates as far back as the 1500s, and I'd be surprised if any two Tuscans have made it exactly the same way since then. Everyone agrees on the basics: panzanella must contain bread, preferably slightly stale; and it must contain tomatoes, preferably perfectly ripe; and it must be bound together with some type of vinaigrette dressing. Beyond the basics, each salad maker creates at will, using other harvest ingredients (cucumber, onion, olives) and whatever else is at hand. Some cooks like to soak the bread briefly in water to rejuvenate it, and then squeeze the water out. I prefer to let the bread soak up the vinaigrette, and retain just a little bit of its crouton-like crunch. In this two-tomato bread salad, I combine ripe red tomatoes with my own slow-roasted tomatoes, which have been packed with their cooking olive oil, redolent with garlic and thyme. The oil and tomato juices, along with roasted garlic, add depth to the vinaigrette, which flavors the bread. Thank you, Tuscany.

Two-tomato bread salad (panzanella).

Two-tomato bread salad with roasted garlic dressing

From the pantry, you'll need: slow-roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, fresh black pepper, coarse sea salt. (If you don't have roasted garlic salad dressing on hand, see the end of the recipe for additional pantry ingredients to make a fresh dressing.)

Serves 2-3 as a lunch or supper main dish; can be multiplied.


3 cups of 1-inch cubes of crusty whole wheat bread (I use day-old ciabatta)
12 slow-roasted tomato halves, roughly chopped
1 large or 2 medium very ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
5 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 small mozzarella balls, cut in half
1/4 cup roasted garlic salad dressing or fresh garlic vinaigrette (see below)
Fresh black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, or more, to taste


If your bread is day-old and slightly stale, add it directly to a mixing bowl. If you are using fresh bread, toast the cubes in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, then add to the bowl.

Combine the two tomatoes, basil, parsley and mozzarella with the bread cubes. Add the salad dressing*, and toss to make sure all of the bread is coated. Let the salad sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes; stir occasionally to allow the bread to absorb the dressing. Season to taste with fresh black pepper and coarse sea salt right before serving.

*If you don't have roasted garlic salad dressing on hand, make fresh dressing: Combine 1 clove garlic (finely minced), 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 Tablespoon of rice vinegar, 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake, shake, shake, until the dressing thickens.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Winter squash panzanella
Bread salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette
Fattoush (pita bread, tomato and cucumber salad)
Puff pastry tartlets with zucchini and slow-roasted tomato filling
Tomato and goat cheese bruschetta

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil panini, from Panini Happy
Slow roasted tomato hummus, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Roasted tomato and bread soup, from La Tavola Marche
Roasted tomato bread pudding, from Stephencooks
Slow roasted tomatoes, cippolini and white beans on ricotta toasts, from Lady Gouda

Two-tomato bread salad, perfect for the transition from summer to fall.

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Oh heaven - especially since tomatoes are roasting this very minute. Lovely combination!

I could almost eat this photo! Those bright red tomatoes look amazing. I love a good panzanella. :-)

Yum! This looks delicious!

Alanna, I love the aroma of roasting tomatoes. Add a few to this salad, and you have a satisfying main dish.

Kathy, for some reason, I always have ends of bread in the freezer, and panzanella is a perfect way to use them up.

Becca, thanks. It is as good as it looks!

This recipe drew me in Lydia with the last of the delicious fall tomatoes clinging to their vines.

Bellini, I am always sad to see the last of the garden tomatoes. I run around to farmstands, trying to scoop up as many as possible.

What a fantastic idea to add some roasted tomatoes. Speaking of which, I need to make another batch!

Fantastic take on a classic! This goes to Pinterest right away!

I have never met a panzanella I didn't love and this one looks spectacular! So happy to have found your blog :)

I'm kind of sorry I'm having ratatouille and rice for supper. Could have made this. More or less.

Yes, please!! If ever there was a good reason to immediately run out and find a gluten-free baguette (or make one), this recipe is it! Seriously. :-)

Thanks, Lydia!

Kalyn, I've been running from farmstand to farmstand, looking for more plum tomatoes to roast!

Sally, thanks so much. I'm sure you will love this.

Kelly, same here. I make it in the winter with roasted vegetables, too.

Mimi, that's the beauty of panzanella. You can make it with whatever you have on hand (or find at the farmers' market).

Shirley, while you're getting bread, get a few heads of garlic, too, and make the roasted garlic salad dressing. It's the magic in this salad.

Those roasted tomatoes are just popping with color Lydia! I haven't made panzanella in a while, but I do what you do, just let the bread soak up all the juices.

Jeanette, I love having the slight crunch of the bread. When I make the salad ahead, I never add all of the dressing, so the bread doesn't get soggy.

THIS IS HEAVEN ON A PLATE! especially for a tomato-addict like me!
ps I like my bread in the Panzanella just bit crunchy too.

Carol, if you are a tomato addict, you will love this. It would help to be a bit of a garlic addict, too!

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