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Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Lemon Cucumbers

Contributed by: Chris, WebAdmin. of

This rustic Tuscan salad, called panzanella, is best when made with a chewy, coarsely textured white bread. The bread must be at least three to four days old to provide the correct texture when mixed with tomatoes and vinaigrette. Round, yellow lemon cucumbers deliver a sweet, mild flavor to the salad.


  • 3 lemon cucumbers or 1 English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and diced
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 pound stale coarse-textured white bread (see note above)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total, seeded and diced
  • 1 red (Spanish) onion, diced
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces


Spread the diced cucumbers on paper towels and sprinkle with coarse salt. Let stand for 15 minutes. Place the cucumbers in a colander and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into slices 1 inch thick and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the bread with the water and let stand for two minutes. Then carefully squeeze the bread until it is dry. Tear into rough 1-inch pieces and place on paper towels. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and bread; toss gently.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the bread mixture and the basil, mix gently and refrigerate for at least one hour, or for up to four hours.

Transfer to a platter and serve chilled.

Serving Size: Serves 4 to 6

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