Mediterranean Sourdough Panzanella Bread Salad features ripe summer tomatoes and fresh basil in a delicious vinaigrette. Starring my favorite vegan gluten-free sourdough bread, this version is allergy-friendly. Enjoy this rustic dish as a light meal or serve it as a side.
Bread with tomatoes is a classic combination. Bruschetta, Cold Spanish Soup (Gazpacho Andaluz), and Southern tomato sandwiches are all based on this pair of ingredients.
Similarly, Sourdough Panzanella Salad takes bread cubes and juicy tomatoes and turns them into a dish you'll want to make all summer long.
Why you'll love this recipe
- You don't need stale bread to make it since fresh cubes are dried in the oven instead.
- You can use cherry tomatoes or any size and variety of tomatoes you have on hand.
- It's a delicious way to enjoy both your favorite sourdough bread and summer-ripe tomatoes and basil.
Tomatoes: I used cherry tomatoes, but any variety and size of tomatoes can be used. This salad works very well with heirlooms and is a great way to showcase your summer garden tomatoes.
Sourdough bread: I recommend Bread SRSLY gluten-free sourdough from San Francisco. Not only is it suitable for most diets, it's incredibly delicious. Even my friends and family who don't need to avoid gluten love this bread.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Allow the tomatoes to drain in a colander over a bowl. We will use the juice to make the salad dressing.
Step 2: Toss the bread cubes with olive oil.
Step 3: Bake the bread cubes until dry and crisp.
Step 4: Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the reserved tomato juice, olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar.
Step 5: Place the tomatoes, bread cubes, dressing, and basil in a large bowl.
Step 6: Toss so that everything is well coated with the vinaigrette. Let the salad rest for at least 30 minutes for maximum flavor.
Wait to tear or chop the basil until you are ready to assemble the salad. This will help prevent the basil from turning black at the exposed edges.
Think of this recipe as a blueprint you can adapt to suit your preferences and the seasonal ingredients you have on hand. Besides varying the types of tomatoes used, you can also change up the ratio of bread to tomatoes.
Or try these variations to make your sourdough panzanella your own:
- Use other vegetables like red onion, shallots, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus in addition to, or in place of, the tomatoes. And grilled vegetables make a nice addition.
- Toss in some olives or capers.
- Add some vegan mozzarella or feta cheese.
- Use other fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley, mint, or marjoram.
- Add some microgreens or arugula before serving.
What to serve with panzanella bread salad
This salad is a great starter or side dish with any of your favorite main dishes. And it's wonderful for picnics since it can be made at home and taken on the go.
Sourdough Panzanella is best enjoyed the day it's made. You can prepare it a few hours in advance and let it rest covered at room temperature.
After that, cover and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Allow the salad to come to room temperature before serving.
While you may have heard that sourdough is easier to digest and is lower in gluten than other breads, it's not naturally gluten-free. Only gluten-free sourdough is suitable for those with Celiac disease or with gluten sensitivities. If you or someone you cook for follows a gluten-free diet, look for sourdough that is labeled gluten-free, such as Bread SRSLY. Or make your own gluten-free sourdough at home using gluten-free sourdough starter.
Traditionally Italian bread salad is made with day-old stale bread that is soaked in water. But you can make a not-so-traditional version whenever you want by toasting cubes of fresh bread in the oven until they are crispy and crunchy, but not browned.
Basil does not like the cold, so it should be stored at room temperature on your Kitchen counter instead of in the refrigerator. Cut off the very ends of the stems and place them in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers. Then cover loosely with a plastic bag. Change the water if it starts to look cloudy.
More tomato salad recipes
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If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Sourdough Panzanella Bread Salad
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved (or larger tomatoes chopped into bite-size pieces.)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound Bread SRSLY Gluten-Free Sourdough, cut into ¾-inch (2 cm) cubes (about 4 cups) or use your favorite sourdough bread
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
- Place the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt in a colander set over a bowl to collect the tomato juice. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally to release more juice.
- Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange them on a baking sheet (use parchment paper for easier cleanup, if you like) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. They should be dry and crisp, but not browned. Remove from the oven at let cool.
- Remove the colander of tomatoes from the bowl and set it aside while you prepare the vinaigrette. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar to the bowl of reserved tomato juice and whisk to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
- In a large salad bowl, add the tomatoes, bread cubes, and vinaigrette. Tear or roughly chop the basil leaves and add them to the bowl. Toss well so that everything is well coated with the dressing.
- Let the salad rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving for optimal flavor.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
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Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.