Aunt Peggi’s Panzanella Salad

Finally, it seems summer has arrived in Munich! Long sunny days, relaxed evenings with friends and loved ones under the spreading chestnut trees, lots of barbecues and long walks along the Isar, it is the time of year when this very outdoor city really shines.

It’s a little known fact outside of Germany that you can actually bring your own food along to most of Munich’s wonderful beer gardens, and I love nothing more than unpacking a huge picnic spread, washed down with plenty of fresh local beer and wine. While we usually eat lots of traditional Bavarian food, there is one other dish that will always make it into my picnic basket: Aunt Peggi’s Panzanella Salad.

This recipe for the famous Tuscan bread salad was given to me by my Aunt Peggi who is a truly wonderful cook. It is routinely the most popular dish on the table at any given barbecue or picnic. Panzanella salad is made from garlicky toasted bread, tomatoes, salami, bunches of fresh basil, salty parmesan and of course, lashings of olive oil. This is a salad that packs a huge flavour punch – best of all, it makes use of that stale bread that so often just gets wasted by being chucked out.

Try to find the most deliciously ripe and juicy tomatoes that you can for this dish, as they really are the star of the show. Be generous with the garlic and olive oil and this salad will reward you with plenty of mouthwatering flavours.

What’s your favourite summer salad? Let me know in the comments below. Take care out there and happy cooking! xJ

Tuscan Summer Bread Salad

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram.

Panzanella Salad

Aunt Peggi's Panzanella Salad

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Aunt Peggi's Panzanella is a glorious summer recipe based on the original Tuscan bread salad. Make sure to use extra ripe and juicy tomatoes for the best flavour!


  • 500 g ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 300 g day old baguette, ciabatta or similar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g spicy Italian salami (or chorizo)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bunch basil

for the dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper

to serve:

  • plenty of shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7, and line an oven tray with baking paper.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces, put into a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices, stir through the sea salt and allow to drain for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Tear, or cut the baguette/ciabatta into bite sized cubes and place onto the prepared tray. Stir the crushed garlic into the olive oil, then drizzle the oil mixture all over the bread, tossing well with your hands to ensure the bread is coated. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and aromatic.
  4. Cut the salami into thick slices, then fry together with the rosemary leaves in a little oil for 2-3 minutes until golden and starting to crisp. Drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Peel, halve and slice the onion finely and tear the basil leaves in half, then set aside while you make the dressing.
  5. To make the dressing, whisk together the juice from the tomatoes, vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, then season to taste, going gentle on the salt as the salami has plenty.
  6. To serve, toss the toasted bread with the tomatoes, salami, and onion, pour over the dressing and mix well to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes before tossing again, scatter over the basil and parmesan just before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 757Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 2057mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 23g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.


Do I really have to use stale bread to make panzanella?

No, it’s just a useful way of using up stale bread, as the bread is toasted in this recipe you can use fresh bread. Go for something sturdy, such as ciabatta so it can hold up to all the dressing and tomato juice.

Do I need a special olive oil to make panzanella?

As this recipe uses plenty, make sure you use an olive oil that you like the flavour of. I prefer milder, mellower olive oils rather than a very herby, grassy extra virgin oil as I find it overpowers the flavour of the tomatoes, but use what you like and enjoy.

Can I make panzanella salad in advance?

Yes, but no more than 24 hours. It will obviously start to get soggier over time.

I am vegetarian! Can I make this salad meat-free?

Absolutely! Simply leave out the salami.

Tuscan Summer Bread Salad or Panzanella Salad
Tuscan Summer Bread Salad or Panzanella Salad
Tuscan Summer Bread Salad or Panzanella Salad

Aunt Peggi’s Panzanella Salad

Looking for more Italian recipes? Why not try:

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food, architectural and landscape photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.
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