Summer Panzanella Salad with Burrata.

Hearty chunks of crisp buttery bread tossed with fresh juicy garden tomatoes, baby crispy green leaf lettuce, tangy red onion, sweet basil and a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette topped with burrata. This salad is pure summer bliss in a bowl. Once those summer tomatoes start ripening in your garden (or on your patio, or at the farmer’s market), save this salad a spot at your table. You’ll be {very} happy you did.

An image of a summer panzanella salad

Thanks to my friends at Little Leaf Farms for sponsoring this post and thanks to you, my readers, for supporting brands that help keep My Cape Cod Kitchen running. As always, all opinions are my own.

An overhead image of a panzanella salad and a box of Little Leaf Lettuce

Are you growing tomatoes this year?

I am currently dreaming of all the sun-ripened tomatoes that will be growing on our 7+ tomato plants this summer. Dreaming because right now those tomatoes are nonexistent … as is typical for mid-June, but we always wish tomato season on the Cape started a litttttle bit earlier. Our tomato plants are growing well (mainly because my mother-in-law started them for us), but most don’t even have their flowers yet.

Here’s how our garden looks currently.

An image of a vegetable garden

What else are we growing?

  • Basil (growing veryyyyy slowly)
  • Cilantro (doing great)
  • Carrots (not doing anything)
  • Broccoli (growing slowly)
  • Mint (growing like CRAZY, per usual)
  • Beets (growing well)
  • Bibb lettuce (growing well)
  • Kale and swiss chard (growing ok)
  • Raspberries and blackberries (coming in like crazy)

Come August we will be swimming in mostly heirloom cherry tomatoes (we prefer cherry tomatoes over the larger beefsteak type), but right now … the waiting is the hardest part. There is just nothing like homegrown sun-warmed tomatoes.

A bowl of panzanella salad

You know what we are not going to wait for though? Yep. You guessed it. This panzanella salad. Because this salad is summer in a bowl. It’s beautiful, it’s hearty, it’s delicious and it’s a crowd pleaser. But wait … since no crowds will be present … it’s a family pleaser.

Even a Lucca pleaser!

An image of a little boy eating panzanella salad

What is panzanella salad?

Panzanella salad is a Tuscan bread salad. It’s traditionally made with day-old – or dried out bread and very ripe tomatoes (think – tons of juice and flavor) – and other garden veggies (red peppers, onions) and herbs. The dry bread soaks up all the amazing juices from the tomatoes and vinaigrette.

There are so many variations out there, so you can mix and match this salad to your taste, what you’re growing and what you have on hand. Feel free to add in chunks of your favorite garden veggies. Red pepper is one food that I do not like (at all), but if you like red pepper, chop them up and add them to the salad.

An overhead image of a panzanella salad with burrata

What’s in this panzanella salad?

This panzanella has some traditional components (bread, tomatoes, basil, red onion, evoo, balsamic) – and some unconventional ingredients (crisp lettuce, burrata).

  • Toasted bread with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. We used half of a day-old double baguette that we get at our local French bakery. We typically eat half one night, then save the other half for this salad.
  • Little Leaf Farms Baby Crispy Green Leaf Lettuce (we just adore this lettuce. How beautiful is the curl in the picture below?) for freshness and crunch. This is our favorite lettuce because:
    • It’s greenhouse grown locally (and year-round) in Devens, MA.
    • It’s always fresh – the lettuce is picked one day and is in stores the next.
    • It STAYS fresh. For a week, even weeks. But it doesn’t last for a day in our house.
    • The kids love it … crazy, I know!
    • I don’t have to worry about food safety concerns when it comes to Little Leaf Lettuce. It’s grown and harvested in their automated, hands-free greenhouse.
    • You can use Little Leaf Farm’s store finder to see which stores near you carry their products.
  • Tomatoes (of course!) – you can use whatever kind you’re growing – or buying. We prefer cherry or grape tomatoes, but use what you like. When our tomatoes start coming in, you betcha we’re going to be making this salad allllll.the.time.
  • Red onion – for that tang and bite. You could use chives if you don’t have red onion. The red onion loses some of its bite while sitting in the vinaigrette.
  • Basil – a must with those tomatoes. Flat parsley is also nice in here.
  • Burrata – totally optional, but there’s something AMAZING about burrata with tomatoes and basil. And yes, regular mozzarella or those adorable mini mozzarella balls would be great too.
  • A simple vinaigrette of your best extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper.

An image of Little Leaf Lettuce

Traditional panzanella salad uses day old bread, but you can use day-old or fresh bread. Here’s the half loaf we use.

An image of a loaf of breadI like to toss the cubed bread with extra virgin olive oil then crisp it up in the oven. The bread becomes buttery, and crunchy on the outside, yet stays tender on the inside.

An image of toasted bread cubes

You’ll cool the bread cubes then toss with halved tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion and your balsamic vinaigrette. Then let the bread mixture sit for about 30 minutes.

Bread cubes tossed with tomatoes and red onion

Then you’ll add the baby crispy green leaf lettuce, basil and burrata.

Make this salad now in June with the best tomatoes you can get your hands on, then save the recipe for later in the summer when your garden (or your local farmer’s market or local produce section of your grocery store) is overflowing with homegrown or locally grown veggies. Because you’ll want to make this with those ripe or overripe, juicy tomatoes. Over and over again.

This summer panzanella salad would make the perfect addition to any Father’s Day menu you’re planning for the weekend. Make it a meal by serving this panzanella with fresh grilled swordfish or tuna steaks or shrimp skewers. All would be a great pairing for this hearty salad.

An image of a bowl of panzanella salad

Here’s how to make this Summer Panzanella Salad with Burrata recipe:

Summer Panzanella Salad with Burrata

Hearty chunks of crisp buttery bread tossed with fresh juicy garden tomatoes, baby crispy green leaf lettuce, tangy red onion, sweet basil and a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette topped with burrata. This salad is pure summer bliss in a bowl. Once those summer tomatoes start ripening in your garden (or on your patio, or at the farmer’s market), save this salad a spot at your table. You’ll be {very} happy you did. 
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Panzanella Salad
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 baguette or a 10-12 ounce loaf of bread sliced or torn into ~1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus an extra pinch
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes washed and halved
  • 1/2 small red onion trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 container (2 ounces) Little Leaf Farms Baby Crispy Green Leaf
  • 8 ounces burrata (cream filled mozzarella) we buy a container that has 4 2-ounce balls of burrata
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves slivered or torn

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil use your best evoo
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (or white balsamic)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 300 degrees F. Slice bread into 1 inch cubes. Toss bread cubes with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Place bread cubes onto a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until crisp, but not toasted (still light in color), flipping bread cubes halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and let cool. 
  • Meanwhile, add tomatoes to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt. Whisk together salad dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over tomatoes, add red onion and toss. 
  • Add cooled bread cubes and toss again. Set aside for a few minutes, at room temperature) to let the flavors meld and for the bread to soak up some of the tomato juices and vinaigrette and soften a bit.
  • When ready to serve, add Baby Crispy Green Leaf lettuce and basil. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add panzanella to bowls or plates and top each serving with burrata. Serve. 

 

 

PIN this panzanella salad for later:

A PIN for Pinterest for a summer panzanella salad