Tomato and peach panzanella may sound unlikely but it’s gonna knock your socks off. Or, if you’re not wearing socks this time of year, then it’ll knock your flip-flops off. Guaranteed.
This summer panzanella salad is packed with tomatoes and peaches—a seemingly strange combination, but one on which you’ll soon be hooked. I always think that if two foods are growing and ripe at the same time, they must be a good match. This salad showboats the best produce of the summer in an almost effortless salad that tastes infinitely more complex than the sum of its parts. Ripe summer tomatoes and succulent peaches are tossed together with toasted, chewy bread and finished with a simple red wine vinaigrette and gobs of basil.–Sarah Waldman
Tomato and Peach Panzanella
- 1 whole French baguette* torn into 1-inch (25-mm) chunks (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed
- 3 large (about 1 lb) tomatoes or 3 cups cherry tomatoes sliced
- 3 large (about 1 lb) peaches pitted and sliced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
- 1/2 (about 4 oz) red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup torn, chopped or thinly sliced fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a large bowl, toss the bread chunks with 2 tablespoons olive oil and then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until evenly toasted, stirring once or twice, 10 to 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, gently toss the tomatoes and peaches with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly pour the tomato and peach mixture into a colander and place it over the bowl you used to toss the tomatoes and peaches. Let the tomatoes and peaches drain while the bread toasts.
- Lift the colander of tomatoes and peaches out of the bowl and set it aside. You should have some juices in the bottom of the bowl. Whisk 6 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, and the black pepper into the tomato and peach juices. Add the toasted bread, toss to coat, and let it soak, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and peaches, red onion, and basil to the bowl with the bread and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
*Can I use stale bread instead of toasted bread in panzanella?Hear us out on this—you can use stale bread but it still needs to be toasted. The biggest difference between stale and dried (toasted) bread is how it’s going to absorb that lush vinaigrette. Stale bread, because of molecular differences that we only partially understand, will be tough and crusty at its core while getting mushy with dressing at the same time. But toast that very same bread and you’ll end up with something that passes for decent bread again. The same goes for the fresh, tender stuff you’ve got. Toasting as instructed in the recipe will give you something that can stand up to the dressing but not be too much of a workout to eat.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This tomato and peach panzanella is a really lovely salad with great contrasting flavors that work really, really well together. The red onions offer a sharp contrast to the sweet peaches and cherry tomatoes and result in a whole that really is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that there was a bit too much bread for the amount of dressing. But it was a great salad that would be a real crowd-pleaser on a hot, summer night.
I used gluten-free bread instead of a regular baguette and it took only 12 minutes for the bread to get thoroughly and evenly browned. Less time would have been fine, but since gluten-free bread can be crumbly, the more brown and crisp, the better it was able to absorb the dressing. (If GF bread is a necessity for this salad, find the best bakery or supermarket version available. Mine came from a local GF bakery and had the texture and interior crumb of yeast bread. Some GF loaves, while decent, don’t provide the right kind of crumb or structure for this recipe.)
This tomato and peach panzanella recipe is all about freshness. It was tart and sweet, filling, and it tasted like “more,” as my tasters put it. I used a whole-grain baguette. The juices drained from the tomatoes and peaches made a delightful dressing for this salad. It was delicious and a great addition to a weeknight meal.
Keeping in mind how good my tasters thought this salad was now, I must let you know that peaches and tomatoes are not in season yet and my own tomatoes are just starting to come in. I can hardly wait for the next few weeks to pass so I can make this salad again and again with local fruit and vegetables in season, although it was pretty awesome with what we could get now.
After a few beautifully sunny weeks, I managed to choose a day with wall-to-wall rain and high winds to make this recipe. Not quite the perfect dinner outside on the terrace, but this salad did bring sunshine into an otherwise gray day. This is one of those simple recipes that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
There’s no real cooking involved, which would be a bonus on a hot day—the only reason the oven is on is to toast the bread cubes. This step is well worth following, however, as it resulted in lovely, chewy croutons that provided a nice texture to the dish. The bread could have been reduced to achieve a better balance of ingredients, but we loved the chewiness of it so we didn’t mind the salad being rather bread-heavy.
Try to choose non-cling peaches to make them easy to slice. I peeled mine, which meant no chewy bits of skin, but I didn’t go so far as to skin the tomatoes. Look for really ripe, red tomatoes, as this dish is all about the quality of the ingredients. I used large vine tomatoes which gave out lots of juice when salted with the peaches.
The only addition I made was to add a touch of honey to the dressing as it was a little bitter—I think this came down to my choice of olive oil. I should have used the posh salad stuff rather than my everyday extra-virgin olive oil. The basil was delicious, too. This recipe serves 6 generously as a side dish. I served it with grilled mackerel, roasted asparagus, and a glass of French rosé. Wonderful!
This tomato and peach panzanella was fairly easy to make and tastes great! It’s a perfect side dish for summer events, barbecues, etc. It uses the great product from summer: peaches and tomatoes. The total time was about 1 hour and 30 minutes. This involved the time chopping the tomatoes, peaches, red onion, and French bread and then the additional time to let the peaches and tomatoes sit in the colander to let the juices run out.
I used a 16.5 oz. (467 g) package of grape tomatoes which varied in size from less than 1/4 inch to almost 1 inch in size. They had a wonderful variety of colors from yellow to orange to red and even red with green mottle, which gave the salad a wonderful presentation. I cut each grape tomato in half to allow the juices to run. I used 3 peaches of similar size.
I only had to toast the bread in my oven for 10 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, I found that the bread was already toasted, so I turned it over and toasted it for another 5 minutes. At first, I barely had any liquid, so I let the tomatoes and peaches sit for about an hour and ended up with 1/8 cup.
As a big fan of classic panzanella, I was a little hesitant at the idea of peaches making their way into this salad, but I must confess that after a few bites, it was a welcome addition and really brought summer flare to the dish. The sweetness of the peaches and tomatoes played nicely off each other and was balanced by the bite of the red onion and the basil rounded everything out.
Traditionally, I just leave the bread pieces out for a day to get stale but I followed the recipe’s directions and toasted them up which worked out well and gave it some nice caramelization. I’d be interested in seeing how grilling the peaches would work with this recipe. This panzanalla turned out to be a nice summer riff on a classic and has made me wonder what other fruits would make a unique addition to this salad.
Sometimes a recipe pops up in the right place at the right time. Just after I received my assignment for our upcoming church picnic (salad? really?), this recipe for panzanella popped up. As it happens, it perfectly met my need. The fact that the picnic isn’t until later in the summer when local tomatoes and peaches are available makes it even better.
This panzanella is easy to cook and provides both an attractive dish and one that has a taste-pleasing combination of flavors. For home use, the carnivores can be made happy and it can be changed to a main dish with the addition of a little grilled chicken.
Tomatoes, peaches, and red onion? Huh, I’ll be darned! The unique medley of ingredients makes this salad the delicious epitome of summer. The juicy peaches are refreshing, and the little bite of the red onion is quite nice with them. And the fragrant basil, as always, is absolutely lovely. The amount of vinegar is spot on, too, and doesn’t interfere with the other flavors.
The toasted bread, which makes this salad a very satisfying meatless meal, maintains good texture—crunchy and slightly chewy—and doesn’t get soggy after 10 minutes of soaking in the dressing. To make the salad even more visually pleasing, I used three types of cherry tomatoes: yellow pear, black pearl, and grape.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I have to admit that I’ve never met a panzanella that I didn’t love, but this tomato and peach panzanella was truly exceptional. The combination of bread, peaches, tomato, and onion tossed in the tangy vinaigrette and brightened with fresh basil was completely irresistible. This is going to be a summer favorite.