Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad

The Caprese salad inspires this recipe. We wanted to combine the classic tomato-basil-cheese trio with balsamic vinaigrette. We also wanted to add croutons (because of bread!) We ended up with an EPIC summer panzanella. We kept coming back for more (and more). This dish is sure to appeal to tomato haters! Plus, only 10 Ingredients are required and thirty minutes. Let’s get started!

The flavors of Caprese are combined in a Panzanella salad with ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar! Only ten ingredients are needed, and it takes 30 minutes.

What is Panzanella?

Panzanella, a bread salad, is believed to have originated in Tuscany. It might be a bread salad that peasants invented to make use of stale loaf.

The first written recipes date from the 14th and 16th century. While the early versions were heavy on onions, tomatoes began to become a central ingredient in the 1900s.

This version is a little different from the usual and takes inspiration from another Italian favorite: Caprese! You can find a more traditional recipe for panzanella here.

How to Make Tomato Panzanella Salad

Panzanella is not possible without bread. You can do it, but it’s not necessary. Join us in the Bread on Salad Fan Club. This is a great way of using up leftover bread.

Tossing torn pieces of bread with garlic powder, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake them into golden brown croutons. Salt is added to tomatoes while they are baking. This helps release juices and adds flavor.

For a caprese-like salad, you can use some of the tomato juice that was reserved in the dressing. You will also need balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt.

Mix the tomatoes with the dressing and sliced basil leaves to create a summery explosion of flavors.



  • Use gluten-free or day-old bread if you are gluten-free.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Garlic powder 1/4 tsp
  • Use one healthy pinch of each salt and pepper


  • Cut four large heirloom tomatoes into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • Fresh basil leaves roughly chopped to 1/2 cup, loosely packed
  • Arugula (or any other microgreens), 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup cashew ricotta or almond ricotta, or macadamia nut cheese (optional)


  • One large clove of garlic, minced (or pressed)
  • Sea salt, one pinch
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato juice (reserved after straining tomatoes).
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp


  • CROUTONS – Preheat oven to 400 F. (204 C). Prepare a baking sheet.
  • Toss the pieces of bread with garlic powder and salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Add two tablespoons of olive oil. Roast the bread for 10 to 15 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and allow it to cool.
  • To prepare the tomatoes, place them in the basket or filter of a salad spinner. Add 1 tsp of salt (adjust the amount if you are changing the number of servings). Toss the tomatoes to cover them in salt. Let the tomatoes drain for 10 minutes, and then save the liquid.
  • VINAIGRETTE: In a small bowl, add the minced or pressed tomato juice, a pinch of salt, and the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Whisk until smooth. Add a pinch of sea salt to balance the flavors, more garlic to give it a bite, and more olive oil for mellowness. You can use any leftover tomato juice to make tomato broth or Bloody Marys.
  • Add the vinaigrette, strained tomatoes, basil, and croutons to a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Add croutons and microgreens (optional), and gently toss to combine.
  • The croutons will last three days in a separate refrigerator. This product is not freezer-friendly.

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