This recipe can usually be a little indulgent and calorie heavy, however, this version of a healthy panzanella salad recipe reduces some of the calorie dense ingredients. It is based on Ottenlengi’s Tomato Bread Salad from his Simple Recipe Book, with a couple of changes for a my simple salad interpretation.

Where is panzanella salad from?

Panzanella is a great recipe dish originally from Tuscany, Italy but is now found all over central Italy. There are many traditional dish versions with bread and olive oil at the core, however, the modern version of panzanella can have many interpretations.

Who invented Panzanella?

Apparently, panzanella was discovered in the writings of the poet and artist Bronzino, often credited with inventing the salad. His notes on his version states using onions, oil and vinegar to top on toast. This traditional Tuscan bread salad uses a salad dressing as part of the traditional panzanella recipe, which is different to this version.

What does panzanella mean in Italian?

The term panzanella refers to a chopped large salad bowl consisting of stale bread. This is where the terms believed to be a blending of “pane”, Italian for bread, and “zanella”, a deep plate in which it is served. Bascially it’s a delicious way to use stale sourdough bread!

What is panzanella made of?

As said earlier, the king of this dish is bread, and this is ideal for using leftover bread, nearly ready for the bin! Crispy bread is paired with salad items such as tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar dressing and capers, which is just to name a few versions, and really is a way to make the ultimate great summer salad recipes!

Whilst day-old bread is ideal for this recipe, you can always toast fresher bread if you don’t have any old bread.

healthy panzanella salad

What is a good side dish with Panzanella?

This really is a healthy salad that be eaten stand alone. To make it more of a complete meal, you could add eggplant parmesan, or roasted potatoes with garlic, arancini, as just a few ideas! What are some of the ways you pair your Panzanella? Please leave a comment for all your ideas!

What goes with panzanella salad?

There are so many different interpretations of this salad and gorgeous accompaniments you can put with it. Essentially you can pair this Italian bread salad with grilled proteins such as grilled tuna, chicken thighs, or fillet steak. When I made this I paired it with a little smoked salmon to keep it as a really light main meal.


This is my version of a lower calorie Panzanella Salad. I have made this recipe for 2 people as a side dish. Feel free to double or triple for larger families! You could also make your own bread and here are a couple of ideas for a great bread recipe.


Healthy Panzanella Salad (Tuscan Tomato and Bread Salad)

healthy panzanella salad
  • Author: This Is Wellbeing
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes



2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

pinch of good quality kosher salt

60 grams, sour dough olive bread, lightly toasted and 3cm bread cubes

250 grams mini ripe tomatoes, halved (try and get different colours)

4 grams fresh basil, chopped

4 grams fresh parsley, Chopped

1 teaspoon, capers

1/2 lemon juice and lemon rind, finely grated

Salt and black pepper for seasoning


Heat a medium saucepan on low heat with the olive oil, garlic and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, if the mix starts to bubble, just take off the heat. You don’t want the garlic to go brown, just a nice golden brown.

Add toasted bread and stir through for a few minutes. Then take off the heat.

Mix tomato, lemon, rind and juice, herbs, capers in a small bowl.

Add tomato mixture in with the bread mixture, season if needed and serve.

Best served in a large bowl if making double for 4 people, or more!




  • Serving Size: 2 serves

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healthy panzanella salad