summer’s last hurrah panzanella

In the last few days, New York City has gotten the most delicious nip to its breezes; drier air and clear skies have set in and despite that fact that I maintain that I don’t wish summer to end, it’s not holding up when I hit the Greenmarket and go a little berserk over apples and squash and things that have nothing to do with stone fruit. I’m a sucker for New York in the fall. It always wins.

leftover colwin bread cubes

Nevertheless, before I go whole-squash into the colder months, I had to have one last hurrah with summer before I admit that I’m finally no longer incessantly craving it, and there’s no better way to take in late-summer produce than with a panzanella. I’ve made this one before, but it was years ago, which means in Internet-speak, it’s probably dead to all of you and due for a revival.

panzanella pretty

I made it with a combination of colored peppers, big tomatoes and cubes of Laurie Colwin’s timetable-free whole wheat bread (because, as usual, I’d let it get stale before I responsibly packed it off to the freezer), but you can make it with anything you have on hand–heck, I’ve even seen it made with cornbread, and oh, did the thought of it make me drool. Let us know what you come up with in the comments.

summer's last hurrah panzanella

One year ago: Cream Cheese Noodle Kugel (stay tuned for an awesome update in the coming weeks!)

Two years ago: Artichoke Panzanella and Roasted Tomatoes and Cippoline Onions Over White Beans With Garlic-Rubbed Bread Cubes

Topic Index: I know that everyone wants to find old recipes in different ways. Some people like vast recipe indexes, others like search functions (top left!) and others like to read through months like a storybook. Well, I like visual aids, so this weekend I created some topic pages that filter the archives into recognizable, and somewhat seasonal groups. Want soup recipes? We’ve got a page for that. Apple recipes? We’re on it. Need a frosted and filled cake for your cousin’s birthday party? Bingo! View all of the topics from this link, now fourth down in the sidebar. Expect to see more topic archives built as themes emerge.

Summer Panzanella
From Ina Garten

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (I like to use a combination of purple or yellow or orange, to nicely colorize the dish)
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

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101 comments on summer’s last hurrah panzanella

  1. Claire (aka Trogfoot)

    I am so loving your new topic index! I too am a visual person and your photos make the recipes not only easy to find but also irresistibly tempting. Are you planning to catalogue your whole recipe index in that way?

  2. k9 queen

    I have a love affair with panzanella (shhh, don’t tell my husband)! We even had it at our wedding (I know, how brazen…..slut) and it was (almost) my favorite part. I can’t wait to have some bread that, I too, was too lazy to get into the freezer in a timely manner ( happens WAY more often than I would like to admit…….we end up with LOTS of “artisan” breadcrumbs) so I can try this recipe out.

    On another note: I just started reading your blog (and many others on your list) and I am now officially addicted. They say it only take one time to get hooked on crystal meth,well……..apparently food blogs are just as insidious, and YOURS in particular. Damn, just when I thought I weaned myself off Recipezaar……..

  3. I think I started reading you when you were just getting started because it didn’t take me too long to go through your archives (but back then I didn’t have a blog and wasn’t aware that you could comment without having one.)

    I made the panzanella a few months ago, I couldn’t find the champagne vinegar so I used white balsamic and it was fabulous!

  4. The topic index looks really great.

    Ah, I wish I lived just a little closer to NYC, because I bet the party will be a blast.

    This is a great reminder about the panzanella. I saw the basic recipe on a bunch of blogs a month or so ago, and I’ve been meaning to make it. I totally haven’t gotten my fill of tomatoes and stone fruit. No squash or apples for me until October.

  5. out here in portland, oregon, we still have tables overflowing with berries at the farmers’ markets, but the apples and winter squash are starting to come on, to. i’m in denial about fall.

    this salad looks fantastic – looks perfect for one of those weekday dinners to throw together whenever my husband calls to say he’s coming home.

  6. Laura

    I LOVE this panzanella recipe! I make it ALL the time. Summer, not summer, whenever! I do have to say you’ve made me quite famous among my friends for this dish!

    Oh! And how I wished I lived in NYC for a smitten get together!

  7. Tone

    This recipe looks terrific.
    I’ve found myself using alot of your recipes in the last few weeks while I procrastinate studying.

    I have a baby shower for a friend coming up and I promised to bake all the cookies for her favor bag. Do you have any recipes for cookies that are rolled then cut-out??

    She’s doing a beach/aquatic theme and Im going to do some beachy cookie cutter shapes.
    On the menu for sure are those lime meltaways that Ive made too many times recently..


  8. Winker

    Too funny ~ I made this last night for dinner WITH the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake.
    I tried to post this at the PB cake post, but it doesn’t seem to want to take:
    Oops I did it again! Made this cake for the second time in a months time!
    My photos aren’t as great as yours but I wanted to share:
    PLUS I bought the cookbook – it looks AMAZING!
    If it’s a double post please feel free to delete.

  9. Jennifer

    I would jump up and down and say yes to the smitten kitten meet-up if it weren’t such a jaunt from Atlanta… I’ll be there in spirit!

  10. Susan

    I love panzanella.. I add raw zuch’s and yellow squash sliced in thin half moons to it, the dressing flavors them nicely. I also have bought thick sliced salami and cut it in julienne strips and added a dice of smoky provolone and some cannelini or kidney beans. I aways add a small handful of raisins or chopped dates or figs..that touch of sweet is a nice foil in the tangy dressing. I like stale pugelese bread for the pourous quality of it..dressing and cheese lodge into it well. I bet roasted eggplant would be good too. It’s like pasta salad, only it’s bread..just about anything goes.

  11. Deb – I’m all for well known bloggers organizing events like the meet-up you mention.

    I’d even be willing to give a short speech on the ins and outs of BAD blogging, a I seem to do that particularly well!

    You looked FAB on Martha.


  12. Darien

    You are the B-E-S-T!! Long time reader, first time commenter. This was just the inspiration we needed…gazing at the fridge and hoping for a lightbulb moment wasn’t working! Threw in some leftover roasted asparagus and garlic, used rice wine vinegar and added goat cheese (no reason, but the last bit of the packet winked at me just as I was closing the fridge door). Wonderful site, I just can’t say enough!

  13. Whow, this topic index is great! What a brilliant idea!
    It won’t stop me in my project of reading all your posts (that’s how addicted I am… I love the way you’re telling stories, and you really make me laugh!), but until then, it will be very useful for recipe searching.
    Btw, it was great being able to see you on Martha’s show. And you convinced me to try the peanut butter chocolate cake!

  14. GORGEOUS panzanella!!

    Ahh, I’d LOVE to do a meet-up!!! I’m quite busy (since I’m a full-time dancer, and a lot of my competitions are just now coming up), but it’d be fun if I CAN make it :0)

  15. Whenever I don’t know what side to make, I seem to gravitate to this one, however, nothing does it justice as well as summer tomatoes. The key is to add the bread cubes at EXACTLY the right time so they are somewhat soaked with dressing, but not soggy. I usually go about 20-30 minutes before serving. My husband is a caper junkie and he just loves this salad, chasing capers around the bottom of the bowl… It’s hearty enough for a main dish meal too. Great pics too.

  16. Linda J

    I love panzanella. I just made your bread yesterday. I might toast some cubes since it is still fresh because I can’t wait to delay this dish. I am a two hour train ride away from NYC. I would definitely come up for a wine and food get together. Thanks, Deb

  17. ap

    Thank you for the topic index! I always come to your site when I have a craving for a particular ‘category’ (i.e. Soup… mmmm, I bet SmittenKitchen has a good soup) and this is perfect!

  18. You’re totally my cooking hero. I’ve recently been browsing your recipe archive and seriously have food high moments just from the reading. This panzanella looks great. I made some last week but just with the last few awesome tomatoes. I’m ready for fall, too, but oh that wonderful summer produce. So long, my friends.

  19. Weeziefitz

    I’m not showing the topic index. Is it my computer? BTW – loved seeing you on Martha. I’m going to our farmer’s market tomorrow for some last-gasp tomatoes to make the Panzanella. What a way to say goodbye to summer!

  20. I am not remotely ready for fall yet, and I refuse to buy winter squash and apples until the tomatoes disappear. This weekend I loaded up on what will probably be the last peaches of the season, siiiiiigh. Thanks for posting one last summer recipe for those of us in denial!

  21. Oh I love the topic index! What a great idea. And panzanella… well, I was once served panzanella with too much bread and not enough veggies as part of a meal that also included pasta. And bread. And cake. I haven’t thought of trying it since, but yours is so pretty. I’d better make my mind up soon, though, it feels like fall here today!

  22. Hi Deb!
    I’ve never written in before (I did fill out your survey though!), but I just had to tell you that I LOVE your new topic index! That is so me – I’m forever looking at your recipes and thinking “YES – I’ve got to try that”, only to completely forget about it in a week. This will help me so much, and I love how you put just the pic up (instead of just the names of the recipes) – I almost never make a recipe I can’t see a picture of first.
    I did make the spring panzanella this past spring and really loved it – maybe I’ll get around to trying this fall one – it looks delicious! I’m also dying to try that bread – I actually bake bread pretty frequently, but it’s usually with my mother-in-law’s sourdough starter, because my hubby loves the stuff. Thanks again, and love love love your site!!

  23. The topic index is making me drool on my keyboard even more. Very bothersome to wipe off the goo everytime i visit! I LOVE it! I’ve been trolling around your website for quite some time now. (= I am currently looking for recipes for a picnic (where I live it is always perennially summer’s day or spring’s showers) and I love love love how your food always looks so effortlessly cheerful!

    I will most definitely give this a try.. we buy our bread (we can’t bake) and we never seem to finish a loaf before it turns stale

  24. YES! My first food blogging together since I started blogging a year ago! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it comes together!

    Hasn’t NYC just been LOVELY lately?!

  25. Marie

    I’m a panzenella purist. French bread cubed, then toasted with garlic, tomato, thinly sliced red onion, cucumber, bazil and French vinegrette. Then a half-hour wait to let the flavors marry. The best.

    I want to attend your fan get-together but I live in San Francisco. Would you consider a left coast shin-dig? No? OK. Let us know the date and I’ll make train/plane reservations. I’m such a fan, it woud be a pleasure to meet you in person.

  26. Marie

    p.s. I keep meaning to ask: What are your favorite recipes. I was shocked, I say shocked to learn you actually repeated recipes. Love to hear your top ten, tweny? Pretty please? Thanks!

  27. Great looking panzanella! I’ve been having last hurrahs also. The heirloom tomatoes that I was so generous with this summer, are now squirreled away until I have enough to create my last (unless several more ripen and I can create another) tomato tart.

  28. Truly, were there ever more gorgeous photos of food? Those colors are so vibrant!

    I’ve made this recipe of Ina’s, and kicked it using cubes of jalapeno cornbread…it was divine.

  29. Jennifer

    oh yeaaaah. I make a version with sliced, grilled bread rubbed with raw garlic and sprinkled with olive oil and salt. We mound the salad on top and eat with forks and then just shovel it in with our hands as the toast starts to soften.

  30. Debby

    This sounds amazing. I’ve been looking for another (the tomato white bean salad is going to be one) salad to serve at the holidays, and I think this is going to be it. Is there a substitute for champage vinegar though?

    And I want that update for the noodle kugel sooner rather than later, please!

  31. Lesley

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Made this two nights ago — my very first panzanella ever — and it was absolutely divine. I used heirloom tomatoes on a whim and felt like a queen while I was eating. THIS is why I love this blog!

  32. I made this salad for a birthday dinner and it was a hit! Also made your double chocolate torte. I found your blog a month a go and think I have gained 5 pounds. Your recipes are amazing and always ispire me. So far I have made your chocolate chip cookies(twice), torte, chipotle brownies (twice) and this salad. I will conquer that bourbon pumpkin cheesecake next! Thanks for your creativity, time and great cooking skills!

  33. Little late to the party on this one but better late than never. I can’t seem to stop making this dish. Mabye it’s bread toasted on olive oil or maybe I’m just trying to hang onto summer for just a little bit longer. Whatever the reason, it’s wonderful.

  34. Liz

    I love making your recipes, Deb, because I almost always learn something that can be transfered to cooking/baking without recipes. Tonight with this panzanella, I learned yet another way to make croutons AND I was inspired to use my first batch of homemade pesto as a dressing! Thanks for yet another supper!

  35. Nat

    I was using your “surprise me” button on the top left and this came up. Yet another thing making me wish it was time for summer tomatoes and peppers and farmers markets and salads. Thanks!

  36. Stacey

    Yum…made this for dinner as I had a cucumber I needed to use and just bought a giant package of bell peppers. Liked very much.

  37. Ashley

    Why oh why can’t the tomatoes in my garden be ready yet? :( I will definitely be making this when they are ready…I’ll have some purple, pink, and yellow heirloom tomatoes to use in this. YUM!

  38. Sarah


    What happened to the link for “Artichoke Panzanella and Roasted Tomatoes and Cippoline Onions Over White Beans With Garlic-Rubbed Bread Cubes” Form two years ago? The link seems to be broken but it just sounds so good!! I suppose I could try to throw something together sans recipe just based on the title. I love artichokes and would love another way to enjoy them- although you’ve got lots of awesome ways to do that on here. Keep up the great work- I love your blog !!

    1. deb

      Sarah — Whoops! I think I removed that post (probably one of the only times I’ve done that, ever) because the white beans and tomatoes were eventually updated over here. And the artichoke panzanella was not on my site, but linked from that post to another site which no longer exists! It’s a terrible shame. So, the post was just confusing. I promise to make a proper artichoke panzanella again soon.

  39. Mia

    I just made this salad tonight, and it was absolutely delicious. I used heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, we loved it! Thank you Ina and smitten kitchen :)

  40. Cathy

    I tend to tell people there are no dumb questions, just dumb people, but now I’m probably including myself in the latter……so: How many servings/portions are “suggested” for this recipe? I realize that is always a guide but trying to figure out whether or not I should double it for a group of 8. Thanks!!
    – long time reader, first time commenter

  41. For some idiotic reason I have always had an irrational aversion to the idea of panzanella. Soggy bread salad is all I could think of. And then I decided, for the sake of my boyfriend, to give this a try. You have successfully converted me to the point where I want to eat this three meals a day, seven days a week, and I’m already dreaming of winter-vegetable focused versions that will let me keep eating it past summer… Thank you for turning my opinion around, this was amazing!

  42. Jacana

    Thank you! – I made this last nite – my fiance asked for a veggie dinner (yay!) and this salad stole the show from everything else (including the fried rice and moi moi). It was so good, I’m making it again tonite- already got the bell pepper:)

  43. Erin

    Thank you for this! Our favorite local pizza place has stopped making their “tomato bread salad,” and I’ve never found a panzanella recipe that equalled it–until now. This was the perfect use for a huge glut of garden tomatoes. We used balsamic vinegar instead of champagne.

  44. Hadley

    I made this tonight for a going away party. I forgot to buy a cucumber, subbed balsamic for 2/3 of the white vinegar (it was my going away party so…settling for ingredients already owned), and I used an old baguette. My god! I want to eat this every day.

  45. Angi

    How yummy this sounds! Here I am in the heart of Texas (Austin) and just got my CSA box from my local farm which has almost all of the wonderful ingredients for the salad.

  46. Not Ina Garten

    “Adapted loosely from Ina Garten”

    You mean copied and pasted word for word? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if you’re doing that, but why would you claim to have adapted this if you copied it straight from the Food Network website?

  47. Anne

    …perfect dish for a late Altweibersommer (=old women’s summer), as we call a warm and soft summer finale here in Germany. First time here, but thanks again, Deb!

  48. Danielle Guzman

    Delish! Saw this on Instagram this morning, and that solved my problem of what salad to bring to this evening’s BBQ. I made it, made pumpernickel sourdough croutons, and added in a cup of cubed sheep and goat milk feta, just because I had it on hand and had already cubed it. Delish! I ended up putting the bread on a cookie sheet, and tossing in salt and olive oil and baking at 425 for 16 minutes turning once. It came out perfect and crisp on the outside and still nice inside. Thanks Deb!

  49. beh72

    Major yum. My daughter won’t eat the heel pieces in a loaf of bread, so I freeze them with the idea of using for stuffing, or something like this! I sauteed my tomatoes for about five minutes (adding some red wine vinegar) to release some juices, which made the whole thing a bit gloopier for the bread to absorb and eliminated the need for vinaigrette. Also added some chopped garlic to the toasting bread chunks. Ate most of that batch last night for dinner, then made again this morning with a few other vegetable odds and ends (sauteed beet stems + tomatoes, topped with 1/2 cup of fresh, chopped basil). Can’t wait for dinner tonight. And wish I lived in NYC and could participate in an SK get together! Great idea.

  50. Rugmamma

    Read the recipe with interest and then I had an epiphany. It’s just a tossed salad with croutons and a vinaigrette dressing so I put together my regular tossed salad ingredients plus bought(gasp) croutons and my home made vinaigrette. Delicious.
    Love your blog and usually follow your recipes to a tee but this one just cracked me up.

  51. Hildegund Wagner

    Hi Deb, the German word you are looking for is “wehmütig”.
    Greetings from the still warm and sunny south of Germany,

  52. graphingjenn

    This was delicious, and a big hit with the kids. I doubled the vinaigrette because I added salad greens and the salad seemed so big – DON’T do it. It would have been better with the restrained amount of dressing called for.

  53. Anne Weber-Falk

    This is my most favorite salad. I’ve tried others but this is the best. I never thought to try with a different type of bread. I’m on that today. It will be in my frig and I’ll eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner for three days. Ina’s is the best. Thank you for the bread idea.

  54. Ros Bettane

    Gosh, I made a very similar Panzarella tonight from a tiktok!!! It was super easy n super delicious so I’m happy to come across this recipe to try out! Thank you :)

  55. Maria

    I know this recipe was posted a long time ago but I just got around to making it. Have to say that is amazing salad. My family would not stop talking about it this past weekend. Literally everyone wanted the recipe!

    This recipe is summer in dish! Loved it!

    In all this recipe defines the phrase an “oldie but a goodie”

  56. Heather

    As usual, your recipes do not disappoint! I know it’s not quite the end of summer, but our garden is bursting with tomatoes and cucumbers, and it was too hot to cook today — the perfect evening for summer panzanella! I used white wine vinegar since we didn’t have any champagne vinegar. Still turned out pretty OK :)

  57. Clayton Richard

    I made this today. Great recipe. I tossed the peppers and onion with EVOO and S&P and broiled it in the oven. Had leftover baguette that I used for the croutons – broiled them too. We are almost at the end of the heirloom tomato season, so only used one heirloom (saving the others for simple tomato sandwiches) and a few Romas. The dressing was perfect (didn’t use all of it). This will be on our “regular rotation” list.

    Thanks Deb. Wonderful recipe.

  58. Cindy Rosenbaum

    Deb, I have to say that this is our favorite recipe! My husband could eat this every day! We count the days until we have enough ripe tomatoes in our garden to make this, and we stretch the season out as long as possible, even after I’ve picked all the green tomatoes before the frost and let them ripen wrapped in newspaper inside! The tomatoes are key – they must be great summer tomatoes, backyard or farmer’s market grown. Not so crucial for the other ingredients though. I’ll be making this through November if the tomatoes cooperate! Then I switch to a winter panzanella with roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Delicious but not as magically amazing as this summer one!

  59. Jozie

    What an inspiration! I have the stale bread (olive), the bell peppers, some Persian cukes. I’m going to make it right now with those things plus pickled (not raw) red onions, and mint (instead of basil). All are things I must use up immediately! I’ll dress using this marvelous mild aged lemongrass-mint white balsamic I get from (I’ll dress the salad, not myself). Will probably throw in a few extra kalamata olives to complement the ones that will fall out of the diced loaf, and, oh yes! the last hunk of sheep’s milk feta that is also languishing in the fridge. Why I didn’t throw the entire block of feta into the Greek salad two weeks ago I can’t say. The Kitchen Goddess probably knew how well a bit of it would enhance a panzanella once you sent this email, because it’s obvious every week that you’re in cahoots with the Kitchen Goddess, Deb. Good job, both of you!!!