Italian cooking | Mirella’s authentic Tuscan panzanella recipe

Mirella has been running her Tuscan cooking holidays for as long as we can remember now. And exclusively for you, she has chosen to share the recipe for one of her favourite dishes – a traditional Tuscan panzanella salad.

Panzanella is a Tuscan tomato and bread salad and is a great summer dish. Every Tuscan family prepares it during the hot days of July and August as it must be served chilled and requires no added heat. It is also a staple dish on Mirella’s cookery holidays in the heart of Tuscany, prepared in the kitchen of her magnificent 400-year-old Tuscan palazzo.

Why is panzanella so special for Mirella?

“It represents the culinary tradition of the heart of Tuscany, the region where I come from. I have also chosen to share this recipe because I would like to offer the real traditional Tuscan version of the recipe.”

Need more convincing? Well, Panzanella makes a delicious meal for everyone; it is greatly enjoyed by vegetarians and in particular vegans. It is also simple to prepare and it can be served as a main dish like they do in Tuscany, but it is also great as an appetizer/starter.

So here we go…

Serves 4


Stale bread – one loaf white, preferably with no salt (Tuscan bread for example)
Tomatoes – one per serving
Red onion – small to medium size
Fresh basil – a large handful
Cucumber – one large
Good extra virgin olive oil
Wine vinegar

You will need

A large, flameproof casserole dish


  1. Soak the stale bread in some water, then squeeze out the water so that the bread becomes soft but not wet. Shred into a bowl.
  2. Peel the cucumber and cut it into very thin slices then add both to the bread. Cut the onion into very tiny slices and add it to taste.
  3. Chop the tomatoes into bite-size cubes and tear the basil by hand. Add them both to the bread and mix all ingredients very well.
  4. Add salt to season. Add olive oil generously to taste, then mix. Taste to see if there is enough olive oil and salt.
  5. Then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar and taste.
  6. Put it in the fridge and serve it after at least 2 hrs.

Mirella’s pairing tips

A white wine like Vermentino or Vernaccia is the perfect match for this dish


You can find more information about Mirella’s Tuscan cookery holidays here.

Or, feel free to explore our full range of Italian cookery holidays here.

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