This panzanella salad is like the greatest hits album of summer flavors. Fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, peaches all tossed together with a white wine vinaigrette. It’s hearty enough to be the main event but quick enough to be a side dish.
This panzanella bread salad is a beautiful, colorful, and easy side dish if you want to fancy up your camping menu with little effort. We actually made this panzanella as part of the menu for our camping wedding last summer, and it was perhaps the best part of the meal!
Traditional Tuscan panzanella is a bread salad that includes tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and stale bread. For this summer edition, we lean into the abundance of seasonal stone-fruits by including sliced peaches as well. The result is a bright, zesty, and sweet “salad” that has a little something for everyone.
Why We Love Panzanella
↠ It’s a salad that’s essentially 50% crouton. What’s not to love?
↠ Goodbye, lettuce. Hello, tomatoes, mozzarella, and peaches.
↠ Main dish or side switch-hitter
If you are looking for something bright yet filling to enjoy on your next camping trip, this panzanella recipe is a must!
How to make panzanella salad + step by step video
The first step is to chop up your tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, place them in a small bowl and liberally salt (1). You want to draw out their juices. While you wait for that to happen, you can move on to the bread.
The easiest way to make panzanella is by using stale bread (this prevents the bread from turning to soggy mush once tossed in the dressing). Just cube it up and you’re good. However, if you are starting with softer, fresher bread, there is another way. Cube the bread, heat up some oil in a skillet, and toss the bread (in batches if need be), and toast it until it turns light brown (2).
Chop all your other ingredients: mozzarella, basil, peaches and combine with cubed bread in a large bowl (3). Combine the sliced tomatoes with the bread, leaving behind as much juice as possible in the small bowl.
Pour your vinaigrette mix into the small bowl with the tomato juice, vigorously stir until combined, then pour into the large bowl. Toss to coat everything, sprinkle it with salt, and serve (4).
You can prep most of the vinaigrette at home. Combine the dijon mustard, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and pepper in a resealable container. Leave some extra space in the container to add in some tomato juice once you’re at the campsite.
Cube the bread at home and store in a bag or container. This will give the bread some time to air out. You want the bread to be slightly stale (but not rock hard) anyway!
↠ Large Bowl: Panzanella has a lot of volume, so you’ll want a serving vessel that can hold it all.
↠ Bread Knife: Trying to cut a stale loaf of bread with a pocket knife is a fool’s errand. Make sure you’re using a bread knife with a serrated edge.
↠ Reusable sealable container: Use this to transport and serve the vinaigrette. We like a small mason jar for this task.
Other camping side dishes you’ll enjoy
Summer Panzanella with Tomatoes and Peaches
- 1 lb ripe tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 oz French bread, cut into 1” cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 peach, sliced thin
- ¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
- 8 mozzarella balls, cut in half
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
- fresh cracked pepper
- + accumulated tomato juices
- Chop the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the bread cubes and toast, tossing frequently, until golden on all sides. Transfer to a large salad bowl.
- Add the sliced peach, basil, and mozzarella balls to the bowl with the bread. Lift the tomatoes out of the accumulated juices and add to the salad bowl.
- Pour the reserved tomato juices into a small mason jar and add ¼ cup olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and pepper. Seal the jar and shake.
- Pour dressing over the salad, then toss to coat.