Tuna Panzanella


According to Wikipedia, panzanella is an Italian bread salad which contains bread, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Well then, technically, mine is not a panzanella. But then it goes on to say, that is it sometimes thought of as a “leftover” salad. I would like to go a step further and say that it can also be a “clean out your fridge” salad, because that is what I did, and it was mighty yummy!


I had some stale bread on the counter (always). In the fridge was a quickly aging red bell pepper, a bag of some salad greens, and some kalamata olives. I preheated the oven to 400, while I cubed some of the bread, and then toasted it in the oven, until nicely brown. While the bread was toasting, I diced the red bell pepper, pitted and chopped the black olives, and whisked together a simple vinaigrette from the juice of a lemon and extra virgin olive oil. I looked in the fridge and the pantry for something to make it a little more substantial and found a pouch of tuna. Perfect! I quickly tossed the bread, bell pepper, tuna, olives and dressing, salted and peppered to taste and served over the salad greens. A quick and easy lunch for a busy Saturday!

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  1. says

    I’ve been seeing recipes for all kinds of panzanellas lately, including one with fruit that looked wonderful. To me, a panzanella is a salad that uses leftover bread, tomatoes (fresh, sundried, slow-roasted, whatever), a vinaigrette, and other things that you find in the fridge. It’s almost impossible to make a bad one!

  2. says

    I grew up eating loads of panzanella every summer when the tomato harvest was in full swing. Your rendition of it sounds lovely. If only I had some vine ripened tomatoes … come on summer!

  3. says

    Hello everybody, I’m tuscan and would like to point out a couple of facts on Panzanella. In the 1500’s panzanella was made with left over stale bread and onions, typically a peasant’s dish, later on when tomatoes came to Europe, tomatoes were added to the recipe and finally cucumbers and basil. This simple version of Panzanella is known as the “servants” (della serva), there is however another vers. known as the mistress'(della padrona) panzanella in which tuna has been added. Read about authentic tuscan recipes on twitter @tuscanycious or on http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/blog/tuscanycious