If there were ever a salad that represented summer it would be this Burrata Panzanella. We coat toasted cheesy bread croutons, juicy heirloom tomatoes, and strawberries in an easy honey lemon vinaigrette and then nestle creamy truffle burrata on top along with as much fresh basil as your yeart desires. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and flaky pieces of maldon sea salt.
Even though this recipe is technically titled ‘Burrata Panzaneella,’ it’s so much more than just that. It’s asiago ciabatta croutons. It’s juicy, sweeter-than-sweet heirloom tomatoes. Strawberries. Little jewels of cherry tomatoes. A zippy easier-than-easy honey dijon vinaigrette. And the pièce de résistance, truffle burrata.
So yeah, in a nutshell, burrata panzanella, my friends, is summer at its finest, and honestly, pure perfection.
The beautiful thing about summer heirloom tomatoes and strawberries, is you really don’t have to do much with them. I make a version of this salad every summer, and while last year’s included prosciutto-wrapped peaches, this year, it’s all about showcasing the tomato and strawberry.
Oh, and of course, that truffle burrata.
What is panzanella?
Let’s talk about panzanella for a second. At its simplest, it’s a bread salad. Typically you take day-old bread that’s stale and toss it with a vinaigrette and, in most cases, tomatoes. Years ago, in Italy, it was a cheap way to extend the life of old bread and make it new again.
The bread when tossed with vinaigrette, sops up all of the liquid so you get a sort of hybrid between a crisp piece of bread and a slightly soggy piece of bread – it sounds sort of odd, but it’s really the perfect combination of textures.
If I don’t have old bread on hand, I love to buy fresh bread and bake it for a slightly larger version of crouton. You still get the same effect, but it’s a lot more flavorful.
The best bread to use for panazanella is a more sturdy bread, so don’t even think about use run-of-the-mill sandwich bread for this burrata panazanella. Ciabatta and sourdough are my favorites, but focaccia or a artisan multi-grain bread would also work great. For our version, we used an asiago ciabatta and I think it’s my favorite yet!
Ingredients in Burrata Panzanella
Bread. As mentioned before, you want to use a heartier bread. For this version I used an asiago ciabatta, but leftover baguette, sourdough, focaccia, or anything similar will work great. If you have stale day-old bread you can do that. I actually prefer to use fresh bread or day-old bread and take it a step further by making croutons.
All I do is toss the bread with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and garlic powder.
Tomatoes. The more beautiful the tomatoes, the better! But obviously you can use whatever your market is carrying this time of year. For varying textures, colors, and sizes, I like to use a combination of pretty large heirlooms and smaller heirloom cherry tomatoes.
Strawberries. I’m obsessed with the combination of strawberries and tomatoes. They’re both sweet, but in different ways, and they compliment each other perfectly.
Basil. What’s a summer salad without basil? I picked some from my backyard, but if you have other herbs in your yard (tarragon, thyme, or purple basil would) you can use those.
Burrata. Guys they have TRUFFLE BURRATA, so naturally I had to buy it. And honestly, it was the spark that starting the makings of this burrata salad. Even though the truffle flavor isn’t overly pronounced, it’s definitely there in a subtle way, and I’m here for it.
The vinaigrette we use is SUPER simple, here’s what you’ll need:
- Dijon mustard
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Let’s make a Burrata Panzanella Salad
Toast the bread. Tear or slice the bread into bite-sized cubes. I like mine to be about `1/2-inch thick, because while giant pieces are pretty, they aren’t very practical to eat. Drizzle the bread with olive oil, use your hands to coat the bread. Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and bake! Cool completely before assembling the salad.
Make the vinaigrette. While the bread toasts, whisk the dijon, honey, lemon juice, garlic, and salt together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss everything together. Add the cooled bread, tomatoes and strawberries to a large bowl (probably the same bowl you originally tossed the bread in to avoid more mess). Drizzle with a little bit of the vinaigrette. Toss. Drizzle with the rest, toss again.
Assemble! Get a large platter and scatter the large tomatoes. Nestle the bread around. Repeat with the strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Tear the burrata balls gently into 2-3 pieces each. Be careful because the inside of the burrata is very soft and will spill out. Arrange the burrata around the panzanella salad. Sprinkle with basil leaves.
Finish it off with a dusting of Malden sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- If you’re not lucky enough to have access to colorful heirloom tomatoes, any Farmer’s market tomato will work.
- Can’t find truffle burrata? No problem. Just use regular burrata. If you can’t find burrata, you can swap out buffalo mozzarella or any fresh mozzarella.
- If strawberries aren’t looking so great, swap them out for whatever is – peaches, blackberries, raspberries.
- Depending on how you saturated you like your bread, you may want to let the salad sit out for 30 minutes before serving. If you like the bread to be a little bit more crisp, serve right away.
Great recipes to serve with our Burrata Panzanella
- This Crispy Salmon with Pesto and Cauliflower will compliment the burrata panzanella perfectly! We take a center-cut portion off salmon and sear it in a cast-iron skillet, then serve it with store-bought pesto and roasted cauliflower. The perfect way to impress your friends and family this summer.
- Our Greek Chicken Pitas definitely need a salad counterpart. This healthy greek dish takes baked chicken meatballs and stuffs them into whole-wheat pita with cucumber and a quick whipped feta.
- Another great chicken dish is our Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken. And it’s just as the name implies.
- 4 cups torn or cubed asiago ciabatta (about 1/2-inch thick)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- black pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 1 large heirloom tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup strawberries, quartered
- 8 oz truffle burrata
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- flaked maldon salt and black pepper for garnish
- Mixing bowl
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add bread to a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Use hands to toss. Drizzle another tablespoon over the bread and toss again. Spread out on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and a little bit of freshly cracked black pepper. Bake until golden brown and slightly crisp, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
- Make the dressing. Whisk lemon juice, dijon, honey, garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a small bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining two tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the toasted bread, tomatoes, and strawberries to a large bowl. Toss to combine, be gentle so you don't destroy the larger heirlmoom tomatoes. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss to evenly coat the bread, tomatoes, and strawberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange salad artfully on a large platter. Scatter basil around. Tear burrata into pieces and scatter around the salad. Sprinkle with maldon sea salt and black pepper.