Side Dishes, Special Diets, Vegan/Vegetarian

Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella

Loreto August 17, 2016

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Panzanella, a combination of bread, tomatoes, olives and herbs all tossed with a good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic dressing. A simple, great, summer dish utilizing some stale bread and produce lingering in the fridge!

Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella

Panzanella is really a delicious dish using some stale bread and nice roasted tomatoes. The way the olive oil and balsamic gets absorbed in the bread and the sweet yet acidic flavor of the tomatoes, with hints of herbs is fantastic. This Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella is a great summer dish, with all its flavors and freshness.



I remember years ago the trend of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar poured into a plate and some bread on the side to dip into it was a popular and delicious start to a meal in many local restaurants. One in particular stands in my mind. It was Earls, a great contemporary place always pushing the envelope in culinary trends, along with a decor to the restaurant that was both comfortable and appealing to the eye. They served this beautiful in house baked herb focaccia, which was so delicious on its own. With the focaccia they had a nice plate of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The way the bread soaked up those rich and sweet acidic flavors was so good. I loved the richness of the oil slightly spiked with some balsamic and bite after bite into the bread oozing with deliciousness. I even reminisce about a time when I was working at an Italian store called Bianca Franca Super Marketa. Jim, the owner, would create this tomato and tuna salad with some great tasting onions all dressed in this flavorful dressing of olive oil from the oil packed tuna, vinegar, some oregano and salt and pepper. We would sit behind the deli counter and cut up a pagnotta (rustic crusty Italian bread). I would be dipping that bread into the bottom of my dish and eating those juicy tomatoes and tuna. Sheer delight these memories are, something so easy and quick, yet so flavorful and magnificent. That salad had so much flavor and the smells lingering in the air, pure richness. A kind of deconstructed panzanella it was.

In Italian tradition bread dipping is the norm, whether cleaning up a plate of pasta with leftover tomato sauce or a great salad with leftover dressing always a sign that the meal was both enjoyed and a success. Italians being the ingenious inventors they are came up with a salad that would be both fresh and wonderful, and also resourceful as it utilizes stale bread, with seasonal ingredients like tomatoes, onions, basil, etc, and they call it panzanella. A humble summer dish, panzanella, that the Tuscans say is from their region, but one that you will find in many parts of central Italy, the differences in the regions are on the ingredients and the use of the bread, broke into pieces, or the whole slice.

Roasted Tomato and Olive PanzanellaRoasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella

Oven fired up, let’s create this Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella!

To create this panzanella, we grabbed a good crusty rustic bread from a vendor at the city market 104 st, along with those juicy sweet acidic grape tomatoes, the basic ingredients of this dish. You could use some leftover 3-4 day old bread and clean up the vegetable crisper. We had no leftovers as we are diligent in not wasting anything, so we had to pick up the ingredients, which was no chore at all as we love the fresh market experience. What is not to love being outside on a beautiful summer day strolling the streets, watching people’s eyes lite up at great food, aromatics, samplings, and some local artists live sounds resounding in the back drop, did I mention samples, oh yeah, lol.

We saw this recipe in a summer food magazine, “Better Homes and Gardens” and it caught our attention immediately.  The look of the tomatoes nicely roasted, glistening with that glossy richness of the oil. The balsamic vinegar floating on moments of olive oil, like it was splashed on it by an artist. The herbs vibrant and alive, and those bread morsels nicely dressed and toasted to give us some crunch, yet softened and flavored some more by the juices of the tomatoes, bliss in a bowl.

Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella

Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella

The first thing to creating this panzanella is to roast the tomatoes until nice and wrinkly. And the bread, dressed in olive oil, salt and pepper, roasted till crispy and golden in color. Then in goes some more fresh herbs, olives and dressing. It is that easy!

The first bites reveal the nice caramelization of the tomatoes and juices. That pungent flavor of the kalamata olives mingling with the freshness of garden grown basil and oregano,  the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, organic of course, rich and earthy. Balsamic cream reduction, the dichotomy of sweet and acidic at the same time, the brininess of the sea salt pops in your mouth and a bite from the black pepper. All this oozing from the bread and that crust crunchy flavorful. This dish is great for those backyard dinners. A celebration of summer all on a plate, shared with family and friends. Life doesn’t get better than this. So from our kitchen here at Sugarlovespices.

Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: “Call me in the afternoon” by Half Moon Run. I just can’t get enough of this song. It always gets my foot tapping and my hands drumming!


Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 2 cups cherry and/or grape tomatoes
  • 2 slices rustic, crusty bread, cubed
  • 23 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives


  • 2 Tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano and basil leaves, chopped


  1. Position one oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer in the prepared pan.
  3. Place bread in a bowl, drizzle 2-3 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper over bread pieces. Toss to coat and arrange them on a second baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Roast tomatoes on upper rack and bread on lower rack, about 20 for the bread, tossing it once, 25 minutes for the tomatoes or until the skin begins to split and wrinkle, gently stirring once.
  5. In the meantime prepare the dressing, combining the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a little ramekin, whisking lightly.
  6. Add bread, olives and dressing in the pan with the tomatoes and gently toss to coat and mix. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve.
  7. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
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I f you want to know more about the health benefits of kalamata olives, read here:

Kalamata Olives: One of the Healthiest Foods on Earth

More recipes featuring the wonderful seasonal cherry tomatoes? Here they are:




Roasted Veggie Bocconcini Pasta Salad


Tomato Goat Cheese Tartlets

Disclosure: All other links in our posts are NOT affiliate links. They are only about products or places we normally purchase and like.  

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  • Avatar
    Reply Marie-Pierre August 17, 2016 at 10:39 am

    What a lovely dish! Nothing like a great Italian dish drizzled with a good organic extra-virgin olive oil and some Mediterranean herbs! Thanks for sharing.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 17, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Thank you Marie-Pierre, we agree with you totally. Italian dishes have this thing about them, delicious, lol. It makes a world of difference in taste and quality when buying olive oil. Organic, cold pressed extra virgin is the only way to fly for us.
      Have a great week.

  • Avatar
    Reply Dana August 17, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Olives, tomatoes and bread. It does NOT get any better than that! Always such lovely and wholesome Italian dishes from you two. So much love. <3

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 18, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Hi Dana Thank you, we agree so simple but one of life’s great pleasures, We are proud of our heritage and feel blessed to be able to recreate these simple yet so delicious dishes for everyone to enjoy. What is one of your favorite Italian recipes, would love to hear back. Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Avatar
    Reply MDIVADOMESTICA August 17, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    This dish represents so many reasons I love eating and cooking Italian cuisine. Simple good fresh ingredients combined to make a fabulous dish. Very resourceful in the choice of ingredients and using what is available.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 18, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Thank you so much for your comment, We too love that about Italian cooking so simple yet so delicious. This year has been an amazing year for fresh organic produce so we feel very fortunate to have them and to create dishes like these. The flavors so intense and tasty, that bread sopping with good olive oil and balsamic, yum!. Have a great weekend and Viva Italia!.

  • Avatar
    Reply Demeter | Beaming Baker August 18, 2016 at 9:09 am

    I feel like I could dive right into that gorgeous tray in the first photo, Loreto. 🙂 I only recently came to learn about panzanella, so I’m all to excited to see more recipes! Earls sounds like it was such a fantastic restaurant. The sound of that homemade focaccia is only beat by the looks of your panzanella. “A kind of deconstructed panzanella it was.” <– Love this. Thank you for taking us on yet another delightful culinary journey. I always leave here feeling so warm, happy and very hungry! 🙂 Pinning, of course. I hope you two have a wonderful weekend. xo

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 18, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Hi Demeter. I truly believe that when NIcoletta and I collaborate on recipes it always turns out well, like this panzanella. Earls was a great place to meet with friends or just to have a wonderful casual dinner. This panzanella brought back so many memories that I really enjoyed sharing because they are very happy ones for me. Nicoletta and I are so happy that we leave you with those feelings. It makes our job all the worth while. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
      Have a most wonderful weekend Demeter.
      Cheers Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply Jackie @ supermancooks August 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Loreto this is the perfect summer dish!! I love to dip away… the Italian way!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 19, 2016 at 7:01 am

      Your very welcome Jackie, that is one of the best parts is creating beautiful things and sharing and that dipping thing we call it scarpetta whether cleaning a plate of excess sauce or dressing from a salad with a good bread, THAT’S ITALIAN!. A good sign that the meal was enjoyed.Thank you for your lovely comment, and have a wonderful weekend you two!
      Cheers Loreto.

  • Avatar
    Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After August 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Panzanella is so good and loving your recipe so much that I pinned it immediately after seeing the first photo! Anything with roasted tomatoes and olives is a winner in my book. We have an Italian market 10 minutes up the street from us that sells the best bread with whole garlic cloves baked in it. I told my Hubby that the garlic bread with our weekly organic CSA cherry tomatoes would be so good in this recipe. We will definitely make this over the weekend. Thanks for sharing Loreto 🙂 Also, hoping you guys maybe come to Boston after Rome next month??

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 19, 2016 at 6:56 am

      Hi Karrie, the last time I was in Boston I had such a wonderful time at hull beach, Rockport, spending time at Boston College. Most of all loved visiting the Italian Markets and all that history. Nicoletta and I have to see when we have another trip planned after Rome but definitely will make it to Boston. I have so many aunts uncles and cousins there too may have to make it a 2 week trip.I think that nice rustic bread with the garlic and those tomatoes will do the trick to make a delicious panzanella. Thanks so much for the comment.
      Have a great day!

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