This panzanella salad recipe with peaches is a simple Tuscan bread salad that celebrates fresh summer peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. Great side or lunch dish.
The bread salad starts with a loaf of crusty bread turned into golden bread cubes. You then add a few fresh-from-the-market peaches, tomatoes, basil and cucumbers (and some ripped Bocconcini or mozzarella cheese if you want), toss it with a vinaigrette and let it sit around to let the bread soak up all the flavors.
Classic Panzanella recipes include tomatoes, basil and bread as the foundation. I like to use peaches every chance I get when they are season because they add a wonderful juicy sweetness to this savory salad. Same with summer ripe tomatoes.
The only important thing here is to use a crusty bread that will hold up even when soaked in juices and not turn to mush. Day-old bread is perfect. Yes, the bread cubes get a bit soggy, but they still maintain some bite.
Serve the peach Panzanella salad as a side dish, light brunch item or lunch main course. It works really well for potlucks, buffets and BBQs. I love to serve it with marinated grilled chicken or grilled pork chops.
Tailor To Your Taste
This salad recipe is easily adaptable to your tastes. The core ingredients are bread, tomatoes and onions or basil. The rest is up to you.
- Use a baguette, ciabatta, Italian or French bread. Day old is even better
- You can grill the bread instead of toasting it if you prefer. Instructions are in the recipe.
- Add sliced red onions, green onions, beets or capers
- Include additional fresh herbs like thyme, oregano or chives
- Try some toasted nuts for added crunch
- Fruit and veggie options
- Substitute peaches with mango or nectarine slices.
- Peaches can be peeled. Or not. I don’t bother.
- Cucumbers can be peeled or not. If the cucumbers have very little seeds, I don’t bother seeding them.
- Instead of our vinaigrette recipe, use your favorite bottled dressing. I wouldn’t use a creamy dressing, though, as it may hide the beautiful colors.
Make Ahead Panzanella salad
- Because the bread needs a little time to soak up the vinaigrette and juices from the vegetables and peaches, it makes a great make-ahead dish.
- Make it earlier in the day and keep it on the counter at room temperature until you need it. It’s best not refrigerated.
- Bread cubes can be made several days ahead.
Panzanella Salad Recipe with Peaches
- 1 small loaf crusty bread (baguette, ciabatta, italian - day old even better) cut into 1 inch cubes 3-4 cups, Note 1
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium tomatoes (heirloom, cherry, ripe field), cut into chunks
- 2 -3 peaches, sliced
- 1 small English cucumber, seeded and sliced (leave peel on)
- 1/4 cup -1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- ball of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini cheese, drained and sliced or ripped up (optional)
- Optional: red onion, roasted chopped almonds, julienne beets, etc
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, grated or minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F
- MAKE BREAD CUBES: Toss bread cubes with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Lay in a single layer on a foil lined pan. Bake for about 7 minutes or until golden brown.
- MAKE VINAIGRETTE: Put all vinaigrette ingredients into a sealed container (jar, plastic) and shake hard until well blended/emulsified.
- ASSEMBLE PANZANELLA SALAD: Place tomatoes, peaches, bread cubes, cucumbers, basil and cheese in a shallow bowl. Pour well-shaken vinaigrette over the salad (you may not need it all). Toss gently. Taste and add more salt and pepper or basil if needed. Let sit for at least 30 minutes (and up to 5 hours) to allow dressing to absorb.
- To grill bread cubes (instead of toasting them in oven): Cut baguette quarters lengthwise, brush with oil and grill on all sides until slightly charred. Rub cut half of garlic over bread if desired. Cut bread into bite size pieces (1 inch).
- Make Ahead: Because the bread needs a little time to soak up the vinaigrette and juices from the vegetables and peaches, it makes a great make-ahead dish. Make it earlier in the day and keep it on the counter at room temperature until you need it. It's best not refrigerated. The bread cubes can be made several days ahead.
Other summer salads you might like:
The panzanella salad recipe, originally published in 2016, has been updated with new information, options and pictures.