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Last Updated on July 19, 2023
This Sourdough Panzanella with Peaches and Burrata is the apex of summer salad recipes. Using summer produce, it’s a slight twist on the classic Italian bread salad with the addition of peaches and creamy burrata cheese. To me, it’s the best panzanella salad!
Easy, colorful, and loaded with flavor, panzanella is a bread lover’s dream. And texture fans rejoice! Every bite is crunchy from the sourdough croutons and contrasted with velvety tomatoes, juicy peaches, and creamy burrata cheese.
At the height of summer in late July, the first peaches ripen at the fruit farm beside my home. I know Massachusetts isn’t known for its peaches, but trust me when I say my neighbor’s peaches are the best!
I always have leftover sourdough bread around, and with an overflowing basil plant and a brown bag of fresh peaches in hand, this panzanella recipe was born.
Ideal on a sunny day with a glass of red wine or packed for a summer picnic, I think you’ll taste the warmth in this panzanella recipe.
What is Panzanella?
Panzanella is an Italian bread salad that uses stale bread and tomatoes as the base in its most basic form.
The word “panzanella” is a portmanteau of the Italian words “pane” (bread) and “zanella” (small basket) or “bread in a small basket.”
The humble Tuscan salad is a summer staple that pairs well with other seasonal Italian herbs and vegetables like basil and red onions.
This panzanella salad recipe varies slightly from a classic panzanella by using fresh peaches for sweetness and burrata cheese for creaminess.
The result is a summer salad full of textures and bright flavors. It’s the perfect summer salad to showcase homegrown, local, or farmer’s market produce.
Tips to Make the Best Panzanella:
1. Use Stale, Crusty Bread:
- Day-old, crusty bread like sourdough or a baguette is the best bread for panzanella. Fresh and soft breads like sandwich loaves or other enriched breads are too soft and will result in a soggy salad (something no one likes).
2. Tear Apart the Bread:
- In photos, cubed bread might look nice, but torn bread makes ideal croutons. This is because the raggedy bread will have more nooks for the olive oil to soak like a sponge, and you’ll get various textures once baked. The uneven surfaces are essential to give you the best croutons and an even better panzanella.
- Panzanella is also a rustic, Tuscan salad using day-old bread. Tearing apart the bread will produce a more cozy and rustic salad than I prefer. Every torn crouton is unique, like a snowflake. Say bye-bye to store-bought, square croutons!
3. Use Fresh Ingredients:
- Use homegrown, local, or farmer’s market produce for the best panzanella! Tomatoes from a supermarket can be unfortunately mealy and shockingly tasteless. Heirloom or cherry tomatoes are good options in panzanella with their tangy, slightly sweet, and sometimes earthy explosions of flavor.
- For peaches, purchase peaches that are fragrant and medium ripe. You still want the fruit to hold their own when sliced and mixed in the salad.
4. Season and Taste:
- Always season and taste your dressing and salad before you serve it. The bread in panzanella will soak up the tangy dressing. Depending on the ripeness of your produce, you may need to brighten up the salad with a squeeze of lemon juice or season it with more salt and pepper.
5. Let the Salad Rest for about 30 minutes:
- Of course, you can mix the salad and eat it straight away, but the best panzanella rests for about 30 minutes so it can soak in the vinaigrette and other flavors. The rest allows the croutons to be a little less crunchy and bathe in the juices of the tomatoes/peaches and tangy vinaigrette. Toss again just before serving.
🛠 Tools Needed:
Click on the toggles below for more information, recommendations, and possible substitutes.
Half Sheet Pan
For the best sourdough croutons, tear apart the bread and bake.
I use my Nordic Ware half sheet pan (13×18″) to fit all of my torn bread and it couldn’t be easier.
I always list ingredients by weight in grams because it is the most accurate way to measure baking ingredients. Use a scale and your baking will immediately be better!
I love my Escali baking scale and use it every day. The batteries last a long time, it’s accurate, and it comes in many different colors.
Large Mixing Bowl
You’ll need a large mixing bowl to mix together all of your panzanella ingredients together. Remember, it’s in the name!
I like using old Pyrex bowls or large wooden bowls for this salad and either serving it in a nice platter. This is a colorful salad, so serve it in a bowl or platter that accentuates the colors!
Tomato Knife (optional but helpful)
Tomatoes are notoriously hard to cut. They get squished and juices get everywhere. This Rada tomato knife is the knife I always grab when I slicing tomatoes (and works for juicy peaches in this case too).
The knife is serrated, lightweight, and easily glides through large or small tomatoes.
🍑 Ingredients Needed:
Click on the toggles below for more information, recommendations, and possible substitutes.
This recipe calls for about 5 cups worth of day-old, crusty sourdough bread. I use half a loaf of My Everyday Sourdough Bread Recipe for this recipe.
If you don’t have sourdough, use a baguette or another crusty bread.
Good olive oil can make a big difference in cooking, especially in this vinaigrette where it adds complexity as the only fat. Besides, this is a rustic Italian recipe, so don’t skimp on the good stuff.
California Olive Ranch is always a good choice and is available at most grocery stores.
Use ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes for the best flavor in this panzanella recipe. As a major ingredient, it stands out if the tomatoes are mealy or bland.
There are always great tomatoes at local farmer’s markets in mid to late summer. Additionally, many supermarkets now sell locally grown tomatoes.
Look for medium ripe peaches that are fragrant smelling. Mushy, overripe peaches are a no-no or they won’t hold up well in the salad.
I’d opt for yellow peaches here but white peaches are also fine.
Basil is the traditional Italian herb that pairs best with panzanella. However, parsley or a mix of some other herbs or small, leafy greens are also grand. Think tarragon, arugula, watercress, micro greens, a little rosemary or thyme, mustard greens…nothing too robust or overpowering.
Burrata is mozzarella that encases cream and curds. It’s creamy and delightful to cut into with a group (or yourself).
If you can’t find burrata, use fresh mozzarella or even ricotta for a similar creaminess.
To make this recipe vegan or dairy-free, skip the burrata and it’ll still be perfect!
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Dijon or stone-ground mustard
- Garlic clove
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Note: Want to skip the homemade vinaigrette? Use a store-bought tangy, dressing like Italian dressing.
🥗 How to Make Sourdough Panzanella with Peaches & Burrata:
Follow this visual and detailed guide to help you bake this sourdough panzanella recipe.
1. Make Sourdough Croutons
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
Tear apart half a loaf of stale, crusty sourdough bread (or another crusty bread like a baguette) until you have about 5 cups (315 grams) of torn sourdough bread.
The pieces should be bite-size but all of different shapes and sizes. If you would prefer to cut the bread, slice it into 1-inch cubes.
Space the torn bread evenly on a half sheet pan and drizzle on 2 TBS (27g) of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Toss the bread on the pan until each piece is coated in oil and well-seasoned.
Bake for a total of 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway to evenly brown the bread.
When done, the croutons should be crispy, toasty, and brown but not too dark. Set on a wire rack to cool.
Note: I use My Everyday Sourdough Bread Recipe and half a loaf is about 315 grams, 11 ounces, or .68 pounds.
2. Chop Vegetables and Peaches
As the croutons bake and cool, prepare your vegetables and peaches. This is your “mise en place,” so the salad will be ready to toss once the croutons are cooled.
Thinly slice about ½ of a large red onion (81 grams) and set aside.
Cut 3 medium tomatoes (about 378g or 13.3 oz) into bite-sized pieces or slice an equal amount of cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.
Pit and slice 3 peaches (about 378g or 13.3 oz) and set aside.
Chop one cup of basil (about 20 grams) and set it aside.
3. Make the Vinaigrette
In a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the following until emulsified:
- ⅓ cup (71g) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBS (28g) red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon or stone ground mustard
- 1 grated garlic clove
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
The vinaigrette should be tangy and seasoned well. Adjust as necessary.
4. Combine Panzanella and Let it Rest
Scatter the cooled sourdough croutons onto a large platter or place them in a large serving bowl.
Add all of the chopped vegetables and peaches on top of the croutons.
Stream on the vinaigrette and toss the salad.
For best results, allow the salad to soak in the flavors and vinaigrette. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes and up to a few hours at room temperature.
5. Add Burrata and Serve
When ready to serve, add one 4 oz (113g) ball of burrata on top of the salad and drizzle with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
You can tear apart the burrata and scatter it on the plate, but I always prefer cutting into it straight on the platter just as serving to guests for some oohs and ahhs.
How to Store Sourdough Panzanella:
Panzanella is best the day it’s made, but can made ahead for summer picnics!
While a few hours of resting the salad is okay, the croutons will start to soften over time. And you don’t want soggy croutons!
If you don’t mind softened croutons, you can store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
What to Serve with Sourdough Panzanella:
Panzanella is a sunny summer salad on its own. However, it’s also excellent as a side salad.
Being an acidic summer salad, panzanella pairs well with smoky, grilled foods such as grilled meats and vegetables.
You can also serve panzanella with other summer salads, such as a simple melon, cucumber, or squash salad. Since it’s acidic, an herb and spicy greens salad will complement it well too.
Essentially, anything in season will pair well with it!
Sourdough Panzanella with Peaches & Burrata FAQs:
Can I make this panzanella recipe vegan?
Simple! Just skip the burrata.
How much does this panzanella recipe serve?
This panzanella recipe makes approximately 4 servings or can be a side dish.
How do you store sourdough croutons?
Store sourdough croutons in an air-tight container or resealable bag in a dry location for up to a week.
My bread is fresh, not stale. Is that okay?
As long as the bread is crusty, it should be okay. Stale bread is best because it has lost some of its moisture so it makes for better croutons.
What’s the difference between panzanella and a salad with croutons?
Panzanella highlights the bread as a base and centerpiece of the salad whereas a salad with croutons simply has a few croutons added for crunch on top of the salad.
Sourdough Panzanella with Peaches and Burrata
- 5 cups Sourdough Bread, (315g of stale, day-old, or another crusty bread like a baguette)
- 2 TBS Olive Oil, (27g, extra-virgin)
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper, (freshly ground)
- ½ large Red onion, (81g, thinly sliced)
- 3 medium Tomatoes, (378g or 13.3 oz of heirloom cut into 1 inch pieces or use an equal amount cherry tomatoes cut in half)
- 3 Peaches, (378g or 13.3 oz, medium ripe, sliced)
- 1 cup Fresh Basil, (20g, chopped)
- 1 ball Burrata, (113g or 4oz)
- Make Sourdough Croutons:Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC).Tear apart stale, sourdough bread (or other crusty bread) into bite-sized pieces. Space the torn bread on a half sheet pan and drizzle in olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Toss on the pan.Bake the bread, stirring halfway, for 20-25 minutes until the croutons are toasty and crispy. Let cool completely on a wire rack.5 cups Sourdough Bread, 2 TBS Olive Oil, ½ tsp Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
- Chop Vegetables and Peaches:As the croutons bake, cut and slice the red onion, tomatoes, peaches, and basil. Set aside.½ large Red onion, 3 medium Tomatoes, 3 Peaches, 1 cup Fresh Basil
- Make the Vinaigrette:In a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper until emulsified. Taste the vinaigrette to make sure it's tangy and seasoned well. Adjust as necessary.⅓ cup Olive Oil, 2 TBS Red Wine Vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon or stone ground mustard, 1 Garlic clove, ½ tsp Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
- Combine Panzanella and Let Sit:Scatter the sourdough croutons onto a large platter or in a large serving bowl. Add all of the chopped vegetables and peaches. Pour the vinaigrette on top and toss together to combine.For best results, allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours to soak in the flavors of the vinaigrette. Toss again before serving.
- Add Burrata and Serve:When ready to serve, add the ball of burrata to the top of the panzanella and drizzle on more olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and season as necessary.Tear apart the burrata and scatter on the platter or cut into it before serving.1 ball Burrata
- Panzanella is best served on the day its made. The sourdough croutons will soften over time, so ensure that the croutons are crispy when serving.