Greek Panzanella is a classic Greek village salad, or horiatiki, tossed with crunchy homemade croutons and Greek salad dressing!
**This post was originally published in June 2013. The photos and recipe have been updated but the text remains largely the same.
I feel like I’ve been keeping a really big secret from you, so I’m attempting to make amends now by introducing you to one of my favorite salads.
Say hello to the Greek panzanella salad!
I feel bad that it’s taken me so long to share this with you because I make it so often. This Greek panzanella is that salad. It’s the salad that comes to mind when you need a really special side dish for a pot luck or gathering.
I had no idea what a panzanella salad was until I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa many years ago. Ina Garten made a Greek panzanella salad recipe, which became the inspiration for this recipe.
I absolutely loved the idea of turning a classic Greek village salad, or horiatiki, into a panzanella salad. Horiatiki is a rustic, chunky Greek salad with no lettuce, and was one of my favorite dishes when I visited Greece.
This is a super simple salad, but when the produce is really fresh, it doesn’t need much more than a trace of red wine vinegar and olive oil to make it shine.
If you use fresh vegetables at their peak, you’ll get the same Greek island quality that I experienced during my visit.
The only difference is that you won’t be on a Greek island. 🙂
What is panzanella salad?
Panzanella salad originated in Italy. It’s an Italian bread salad that typically includes onions, tomatoes, basil, sometimes capers, olive oil, vinegar and large chunks of stale bread or croutons.
The salad is normally left to stand at room temperature before serving. During this time, the bread soaks up the dressing, which gives it such amazing flavor!
How to make homemade croutons
I’m not normally a crouton person, but that all changes when they’re homemade.
Homemade croutons are a must in panzanella salad, and store bought croutons just wouldn’t do this salad justice.
Making homemade croutons is a very simple process and it will take your panzanella to the next level. The toughest part is refraining from eating them all straight off the sheet pan. 🙂
- Cube your bread and allow to stand uncovered for 1-2 days — stale bread makes the best croutons!
- Toss the bread cubes with olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden brown and crispy.
How to make Greek panzanella
- Prep all of the salad ingredients and place in a large bowl.
- Add the bread, and toss with enough dressing to coat.
- Let the salad stand for a minimum of one hour at room temperature to allow the bread to absorb the dressing.
- All salad components may be made in advance and the entire salad is assembled up to one hour prior to serving. There’s no wilted lettuce or last minute salad prep with this recipe!
- Salad is best when eaten the same day.
Up your salad game with more delicious salad recipes:
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For the croutons:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces baguette or French bread, cubed (mini loaves are perfect, or use about 1/3 of a large loaf)
For the salad:
- 16 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 English cucumber, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cut a block into cubes
For the dressing:
Prepare the croutons:
- In a large saute pan, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Add the bread cubes, and stir to coat in the oil. Cook about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Prepare the salad:
- Place the vegetables, kalamata olives, and feta cheese in a large serving bowl. Set aside.
- One hour prior to serving, add the croutons and enough dressing to coat to the salad and stir until combined. Let the salad stand at room temperature. Enjoy!
- All salad components may be made in advance and the entire salad is assembled up to one hour prior to serving. There's no wilted lettuce or last minute salad prep with this recipe!
- Salad is best when eaten the same day.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 19mg Sodium: 421mg Carbohydrates: 27g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 13g Protein: 6g