Mouthwatering Perfect Panzanella

As described in Wikipedia, Panzanella, or Panmolle, is a Florentine salad of bread and tomatoes popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes also onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It is also popular in other parts of central Italy.

Now my Panzanella is a little different.  I use fresh bread, as I love the contrasting taste of crunchy crust and the softness of the dough, which is further emphasized by the oil and lemon dressing.

I use lemon not vinegar in my Panzanella, and some other fabulous ingredients, that make for a meal in itself.  If you are consuming this in the evening, a glass of chilled white wine is a wonderful accompaniment.

Here is my mouthwatering version – tried, tested and loved many a time over the years !

Serves 2-3

You will need a crunchy Italian loaf, a fresh baguette, or ciabatta bread for this recipe.  Cut into slices or portions in readiness for the tomato and garlic topping.


  • 4 medium ripe zenguli/plum tomatoes or 12 ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a swig of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste


Place the ingredients in a liquidizer, and process until thick and smooth.  Now using the back of a dessert spoon, spread the mixture onto your bread.

Drizzle some olive oil on top of each piece, add some more salt if you wish, and then cut into one inch squares.  Cover and go and make the salad.  For this you will need :-


  • 2-3 inches of cucumber, chopped
  • 1 small/medium red onion, chopped
  • 6 chopped black olives (use the salted ones for these)
  • a handful of rocket, chopped
  • 10 or so fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ small red pepper
  • a handful of flat leaf parsley
  • a handful of chopped butter lettuce


Place the ingredients in a bowl, having chopped them up, and prepare  your dressing.


  • juice of one lemon
  • the same amount in extra virgin olive oil (just a tiny bit less)
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • salt to taste


Place the ingredients in a jam jar, close tightly, shake and place in a jug in readiness for pouring onto your salad.


Place the bread in the salad, toss slightly, and gently pour the lemon dressing around the edges and centre of your bowl to ensure you reach all the ingredients.  Toss again, serve and consume immediately.

Bon Appétit !

All recipes, content & design © Miriam Sorrell 2010
These are free recipes for your pleasure – all we ask in return is that you take a few moments to leave a constructive comment !



  1. This looks yummy, definitely something I need to try.

  2. Hope you enjoy it Virginia !

  3. I am an Italian vegan foodblogger planning to be in Malta between 2 and 9 of October, and I am trying to figure out what can I eat there! So I came across your awesome blog! Great work!
    Your panzanella version is interesting, I am going to try your dressing! I also prefer using lemon instead of vinegar, I really like the colour of your mixture, I am used to add lemon and olive oil separately!
    Any suggestion for my stay there (of course, concerning food) is welcome!

  4. I put a comment here a couple of days ago…
    It must have been lost, I try again!
    Many compliments for your blog!
    Very unusual panzanella!
    I like the idea of mixing olive oil and lemon juice with agave and salt, I will taste it!
    I am coming to Malta for one week in October, what would you suggest to a vegan tourist there?
    Thank you!

  5. Maria Hi and welcome to my blog, thanks for your comment and enquiry. With regards to vegan food this is totally limited in Malta. Best thing is to keep it simple and order simple pasta sauces and a side salad. Whist Malta is a great place to visit, it’s not at all exciting if you are a vegetarian and even less so if you are like myself a vegan. So, pasta, cheeseless pizza (rustica – senza mozzarella), basic salad and may be one or two dips such as hummus (if you find it) and local Bigilla (dip) which is made with ful medames are all vegan. Most local restaurants have pasta, pizza and risottos and basic salads so good luck with that. If you require further information then message me on my profile page or join Vegan World Network MALTA group and will see you there. Hope you enjoy my Panzanella, as like you, I love lemons ! Cheers !

  6. Maria Hi again, have answered your previous comment, hope it helps. By the way, one thing not to miss in Malta is the Maltese bread – we have an excellent baker round the corner from where we live, and I have used it for the Panzanella in this recipe – you will love it, especially with tomatoes and olive oil. I am based in Sliema Malta. Look forward to your feedback on the Panzanella in the meantime. If you need anything further I have made suggestions in my earlier comment to you. You have very good English, brava ! Cheers !

  7. thank you……I will try them all

  8. Hi Tina, thanks for your comment and let me know what you think of the recipes as you try them. Cheers to you !

  9. Hi Miriam .this looks amazing. I would love to make this but I have no clue what Rocket is.Is it available in the USA or can I substitute something else ? thanks in advance 🙂

  10. Hi there Diana, welcome here and thank you for popping by here with your comment. Another name for rocket is Arugula (if you are in the States you should be able to find it, see the link) – failing that use fresh basil and a delicate lettuce of your own choice. Let me know how it goes, and be sure to use either Italian Ciabatta or failing that baguette will do. Let me know how it goes and enjoy. I look forward to your future comments on my blog ! Best to you !


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