Quick & Easy Panzanella

We forgot to add spinach this time and it’s fine without, but we prefer it with!

We love good Italian food. Pastas, breads, good cheeses, fresh tomatoes, pizzas, gelato… {We dream of returning to Italy as soon as we can} And I love a fresh dinner that comes together quickly and makes everyone happy! There are hundreds of takes on this classic bread salad, but I’m going to share with you a very simple version that you can find ingredients for, wherever you happen to be.

Most quality recipes will tell you that you MUST have fresh basil for this recipe to be any good at all. But I am currently living in my RV on the beaches of Mexico and the little town that is nearby does not carry fresh basil in it’s tiny tiendas. But I always have dried basil in my pantry! So I’m giving you permission to use dried although if you have it readily available, fresh would be wonderful as well.

The other thing about panzanella is that most people will tell you to use day old bread. That is a good option, but we have also used fresh bread and that is fine too! Just don’t let it sit very long in the dressing or it will get soggy. You can also cube the bread and toast it on low temperature in your oven for around 10-15 minutes if you want drier crispier bread. It’s really all about preference.

Our girls just love fresh veggies!

This recipe can come together in a very short amount of time (especially when you have four ingredients that need chopping and four sets of hands in your family!) Even with limited counter space in our current situation, my girls will often sit at the dining booth and cut vegetables there to help move dinner prep along.

Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

This satisfying, no-cook meal comes together quickly!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
  • ¾ to one whole french baguette or any loaf of crusty bread
  • 4 large tomatoes or a box or two of grape tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 smaller cucumbers
  • Fresh mozzarella about 2 cups cubed (you could omit this if it isn’t available and use parmesan shavings or shreds as well)
  • Baby spinach
  • 6 Tbls. olive oil
  • 2 Tbls. balsamic vinegar red wine vinegar is good too
  • 2 tsp. dried basil 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil if available
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Black pepper
  1. No cooking involved for this dinner! In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper and set aside. 

  2. Cube the bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mozzarella. 

  3. Put all the chopped ingredients in a large bowl and add in a few handfuls of baby spinach to add some good healthy greens to your meal. 

  4. Pour in the dressing and toss well. (Or do what I did and make it in a large bowl with a tight fitting lid and shake it up.) If your bread is dry or toasted, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to let the dressing soak in a bit. If you used fresh bread go ahead and enjoy immediately!


Quick and Easy Panzanella

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