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Bread Salad

Looking for a salad that steals the spotlight? Check out my Bread Salad – a delightful blend of toasty bread, zesty dressing, ripe tomatoes, and crunchy onion. Perfect for holidays or any day when you crave a taste sensation.

a white plate with panzanella salad

Get ready to fall in love with a salad that’s anything but ordinary! Imagine big, toasty chunks of bread coated in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. They mingle with the sweetness of ripe tomatoes and the satisfying crunch of red onion. You might know this dish as Panzanella, but we affectionately call it “Bread Salad” in my family. For us, it’s a holiday staple that’s as versatile as it is delicious. 

Even the pickiest eaters can’t resist – customize it with your favorite ingredients. You can even swap the dressing for Greek or Lemon Vinaigrette. Whether it’s a special occasion or a regular weekday, this salad’s crusty bread and irresistible flavor will keep you craving more.

bread salad ingredients

Why You’ll Love This Bread Salad

  • Incredible Flavor – Prepare to tantalize your taste buds! It’s an irresistible combination. Chunks of crispy bread, the zing of balsamic vinaigrette, and the burst of tomato sweetness will have your senses dancing with delight.
  • Effortless Prep – Impress your guests without the hassle. This recipe may look and taste gourmet, but it’s effortless. It’s the ideal choice for when you want to make a big impression with minimal effort.
  • Holiday Staple – Experience the joy of a holiday classic that will become a family tradition. The rich flavors of this salad create an unforgettable dish perfect for festive gatherings.
  • Year-Round Dish – Don’t limit this masterpiece to holidays alone! Whether it’s a special occasion or an ordinary day, our Bread Salad is a quick, flavorful, and satisfying dish you’ll crave all year round. It’s comfort food at its finest.
  • Customize It – Our Bread Salad is your culinary canvas! Personalize it to your heart’s content by adding or swapping ingredients. It’s perfect for picky eaters or accommodating dietary preferences. It’s your salad, your way.
ingredients for bread salad in a large bowl

What You’ll Need

Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card to get the measurements and full instructions!

For the Dressing:

  • Ciabatta Bread – Ciabatta bread’s rustic, chewy texture and large, airy holes make it an ideal choice for bread salad. It absorbs dressing well while maintaining a satisfying crunch. Alternatively, you could use any other crusty bread like sourdough or a baguette.
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Tomatoes – I recommend cutting cherry or grape tomatoes in half for the perfect bite-sized morsels. Plus, they don’t come with all the gel and seeds of most larger tomatoes.  
  • Cucumber – If possible, use English cucumbers. They have thinner skin, fewer seeds, and a milder flavor. So they’re more refreshing and less bitter than their regular counterparts. 
  • Red Onion – Red onion is more mild when compared to other yellow and white varieties. It adds a pleasant tang without overwhelming the dish, and its vibrant color livens up the salad. Shallots would work well, too.
  • Basil – Fresh basil is a must in this dish! Don’t skip it. 

For the Dressing:

  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar – If you can get your hands on white balsamic vinegar, use it! It’s milder and more sweet than the standard dark-colored balsamic. Plus, the light-colored dressing looks more appealing when soaked into the bread. 
  • Garlic – Fresh cloves will give you the best, most punchy flavor. Don’t bother mincing. Grate them with a microplane for quick and effective results.
  • Salt & Pepper
pouring dressing over salad

How To Make Bread Salad

  1. Preheat the Oven. Begin by preheating your oven to 400º F.
  2. Prepare Ciabatta Cubes. Cut the Ciabatta bread into 1-inch cubes and spread them out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the bread, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to ensure the bread is evenly coated.
  3. Bake to Perfection. Bake the bread for approximately 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. The goal is to achieve a crisp, golden exterior while maintaining a soft interior. Once done, remove the toasted bread from the oven and allow it to cool.
  4. Create the Dressing. In a small, lidded jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake vigorously until the vinegar and oil are well mixed. Alternatively, use an immersion blender or whisk them together in a small bowl until emulsified.
  5. Assemble the Salad. Toss the toasted bread cubes, ripe tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and fresh basil in a large bowl. Add about half of the prepared dressing, ensuring everything is well coated. You can adjust the dressing quantity to suit your taste.
  6. Serve. Don’t wait to serve this one, or the bread will get soggy! Dish it out and dig in immediately.
bread salad mixed together in a large bowl

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Dressing Dosage: To prevent sogginess, it’s best to dress individual portions before serving. This maintains the delightful crunch of the bread.
  • Customize Your Crunch: Experiment with different types of bread. From traditional Ciabatta to whole-grain or artisanal loaves, tailor the texture and taste to your liking.
  • Flavorful Additions: Elevate your Bread Salad with additions like crumbled feta cheese, Kalamata olives, or roasted red peppers for extra depth of flavor.
  • Herb Power: Experiment with fresh herbs like parsley, mint, or cilantro to infuse your salad with vibrant, herbaceous notes.
bread salad on a white plate
Can I make Bread Salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the components in advance. Keep the bread, veggies, and dressing separate. Then, assemble them before serving to maintain freshness and texture.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Absolutely! You can use gluten-free bread to make this salad gluten-free while retaining all the delicious flavors and textures.

Can I use a different vinegar for the dressing?

Of course! You can experiment with various vinegars like red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar.

Serving Suggestions

Add grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas to transform this salad into a protein-packed meal. Or, pair it with any of these satisfying sides for a gourmet spread that’s quick and easy enough for a busy weeknight. 

  • Grilled Chicken with Peach BBQ Sauce – The tangy balsamic dressing can hold its own against this sweet and savory chicken. Together, they create a meal that will make your tastebuds flair.
  • Instant Pot Whole Chicken – Bread salad along side a hand-off roast chicken all done in the Instant Pot, couldn’t be an easier dinner that you could even entertain with.
  • Air Fryer Steak Bites – Juicy, tender, and ready in only 15 minutes. We couldn’t ask for a better Bread Salad pairing.
looking down on a plate of bread salad

More Easy Salad Recipes

Yield: 8

Bread Salad

cropped close up panzanella salad on a plate

Bread Salad – a delightful blend of toasty bread, zesty dressing, ripe tomatoes, and crunchy onion. Perfect for holidays or any day when you crave a taste sensation.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes



  • 1 loaf Ciabatta Bread
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 pounds tomatoes (cherry or grape tomatoes), halved
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Cut the Ciabatta bread into 1 inch cubes. Arrange on a large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the bread, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  3. Bake bread for about 20 minutes, stirring half way. You want the bread to be toasted and crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  4. To prepare the dressing add the ingredients to a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until well combined, or whisk in a small bowl until the vinegar and oil come together.
  5. In a large bowl toss together toasted bread, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and basil. Add dressing and toss until well coated. Start with about half of the dressing and add more to taste.
  6. Serve immediately.


Only dress as much salad as you think you will eat. It does not keep once it has been tossed with the dressing.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 273Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 0mgSodium 360mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 3gSugar 8gProtein 6g

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.

Did you make this recipe?

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Saturday 11th of November 2023

Such a really refreshing and flavorful salad!

Allyson Zea

Friday 10th of November 2023

Wow! I've never heard of bread salad but this looks so good!

Amanda Batcher

Thursday 9th of November 2023

I have never had bread salad before but it looks fantastic I cannot wait to make this!


Thursday 9th of November 2023

Oh, yum! This looks so good. I've never had bread salad before. I can't wait to try it!


Sunday 12th of February 2012

Erin, I was happy to see you and Ann team up -- "The Queen of Healthy Meals" -- love it! :) Thanks for a great salad recipe... already craving it BIG TIME!

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