Panzanella caprese salad is a rustic bread salad that bursts with sweet tomatoes, pungent basil, and creamy mozzarella tossed in a tangy balsamic reduction. This summer panzanella salad will be on repeat as an easy dinner option during the warmer months.
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Say hello to my current favorite summer dinner: panzanella caprese salad or caprese panzanella.
Whatever you call it’s amazing.
How could it not be?
It’s a salad full of two of the world’s best things: bread and cheese.
Of course there are some beautiful, sweet summer cherry tomatoes and fragrant basil and the most delicious balsamic glaze ever.
But we can call it salad, so therefore…it’s obviously full of vegetables and not bread and cheese, right?
Glad we’re on the same page there.
Ok, so that’s not how it works, but I can justify almost anything based on the word salad. Anything. Including eating copious amounts of bread and cheese.
What better way to bulk up a Caprese than with carbs in the form of delicious, golden brown cubed Italian bread?
Anyway, for the rest of summer this is your meal.
Toasted Italian bread brushed with olive oil, fresh mozzarella, and cheese.
Ingredients and Kitchen Supplies
To make this caprese panzanella salad you’ll need:
- Bread– Bakery Italian style bread, cut into cubes and toasted. Do yourself a favor and don’t use sliced bread.
- Tomatoes- Cherry tomatoes cut in half. You could use any other tomatoes you like, but you’ll need to chop them. You may also need to squeeze the seeds and water out of some varieties.
- Mozzarella– Fresh mozzarella. The small balls works fabulously so you don’t have to chop them.
- Basil– Fresh basil. Substituting dried herbs here really doesn’t work.
- Olive oil– To brush on the bread before toasting it.
- Garlic– Optional but highly recommended! Toss the bread fresh garlic on the bread to give it flavor without it being overwhelming.
- Salt and pepper
- Balsamic glaze– Balsamic vinegar and honey
Kitchen supplies to have on hand:
How to Make
1. Prep the bread.
Just cube up half a loaf of good Italian bakery bread and brush it with olive oil.
Sprinkle it with garlic, salt, and pepper and pop it in the oven and bake it until it’s lightly golden.
2. Prep the tomatoes.
While the bread toasts to golden perfection in the oven, halve the cherry tomatoes.
Then set them aside.
3. Make the balsamic glaze.
Whisk the balsamic vinegar and honey together and cook it over medium low to medium heat until the glaze bubbles and thickens.
4. Assemble the salad.
Once the glaze is done, you can toss the toasted bread with the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
Then drizzle the balsamic glaze over the salad.
Serve and enjoy!
As with most other salads, I don’t recommend saving the leftovers for more than a day.
If you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a day.
Keep in mind that storing this leftover may make the bread softer.
What is panzanella?
Panzanella is an Italian salad made with bread and vegetables.
What kind of bread should I use for panzanella?
Stale bread! You don’t need to use fresh bakery bread. Just like when you make French toast casseroles, older bread holds up better.
What do you serve with panzanella?
I find that this caprese panzanella salad is hearty enough to serve for dinner. In fact, I ate this often when I was pregnant with twins and VERY hungry. If you want to add more protein, you could pair grilled salmon, shrimp, or even this Easy Grilled Chicken Recipe. Or keep it vegetarian and toss in some Easy Garlic Roasted Chickpeas with Parmesan for extra crunch and protein.
Tips and Tricks
- Day old bread is best for this! No need for fresh bread.
- Want a different dressing option? Try pesto, olive oil and balsamic, or Italian dressing.
- The fresh garlic is optional, but I highly recommend it for a little extra flavor. And you could even up the flavor more by tossing the bread cubes with grated Parmesan cheese before baking them too!
Other Caprese Recipes
Looking for other Caprese recipes? Try these:
- The Best Burrata Caprese Salad
- Shrimp Caprese Salad
- Puff Pastry Caprese Cups
- Fried Mozzarella Caprese Salad
- Instant Pot Caprese Pasta
- Air Fryer Gnocchi Caprese
- The Best Shrimp Caprese Pasta
- Summer Strawberry Caprese Salad
- Caprese Zoodle Bowls with Chickpeas
- Mini Caprese Skewers
- Elegant and Easy Prosciutto Caprese Skewers
- Easy Pesto Caprese Salad (Italian Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil Salad)
For a different take on panzanella try this Burrata Panzanella Salad Recipe.
Did you make this? Let me know!
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For the salad
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces of mini fresh mozzarella balls
- half a loaf of a loaf of bakery Italian bread, cut into cubes
- 4 tbs olive oil, divided
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 20 fresh basil leaves
For the balsamic glaze
- 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs of honey
For the salad
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Cube the bread into roughly 1 inch cubes. Toss with 3 tbs olive oil and one cube of crushed garlic. Spread out evenly onto a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about 5 minutes or until golden. Turn bread over and bake for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven.
- While bread is in the oven, halve the cherry tomatoes and set aside.
- Toss the bread with remaining olive oil, cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Finish with balsamic glaze.
For the balsamic glaze
- Add one cup of balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pan over medium heat and whisk in two tablespoons of honey. Cook until the mixture comes to a slow boil and reduces to make a thick syrup (about 5 minutes), stirring regularly. Remove from heat and pour on salad.
see post for notes
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2-4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 668Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 1006mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 5gSugar: 24gProtein: 21g