Low Fat Panzanella Recipe

Low Fat Panzanella© A_Lein

Once bread was only home-made, it was made once a week. Fresh bread was just on the weekends. Tuscans, or better people from Siena, where Panzanella seems to have originated, invented this very Mediterranean salad.

The record of Italian panzanella goes back centuries. Tomato was added when it became availabe after the discovery of America, the ingredients were limited to cucumber, onion, basil, arugula, and bread.

This recipe was given by Manuela and Tina, chefs at Authentic Tuscany cooking class.


  • 1 pound stale bread, has to be a kind of bread that when soaked into water would not become mushy. No baguette or toast bread.
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters. Original Panzanella did not use cherry tomatoes but regular ones. Nowadays regular tomato doesn't have the same flavour it used to, if you can find organic tomatoes not grown with fertilizers, they would be even better.
  • 2 fresh red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Olive oil, extra virgin from Tuscany
  • Vinegar, not balsamic

Soak the sliced stale bread in cold water with the vinegar for 20 minutes. Squeeze out the water and crumble the bread into a serving bowl.

Add tomatoes, cucumber, onions and basil. Season with olive oil and salt. Mix well and let sit. Serve with olive oil, vinegar, and salt on the side.

When squeezing bread it is so important to squeeze firmly handful chops once only, to avoid getting too small crumbs.

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