Chicken Panzanella Salad
Chicken Panzanella Salad

Who knew stale bread could be so good? This Chicken Panzanella Salad with bread, tomatoes, and shredded chicken is the perfect dinner for a hot summer night. Simple, delicious and good enough to eat on its own!

It’s summer and I’m sure I’m not the only one craving simple, light dinners that are quick to prepare. If you are too, allow me to introduce you to the Panzanella Salad! While you can serve it as a side dish or in a potluck salad, it also makes a great full meal on a hot summer evening.

Do you think my family liked it? Let’s find out!

What is Panzanella?

Panzanella is a classic Italian salad made with stale bread, dressing, and chopped veggies. It can be incredibly simple or more complex. I’ve had versions made with just bread, very ripe tomatoes and basil, but you can add other staples like capers.

This version of panzanella is considered a full meal because of the chicken and all the veggies. This is what could happen when a tornado hits a sandwich and turns it into a salad!

Enjoy fried chicken

You can definitely roast your own chicken for this if you’d like (if you do, be sure to save some of the roast chicken’s juices to add to the bread). But on a hot summer day, I don’t like the idea of ​​turning on my oven for 90 minutes, so I like to use a deli-style fried chicken.

Rotisserie chicken shreds easily, and there’s usually enough drippings to add to the bread. If you don’t have enough fat, drizzle the bread with some chicken broth. I prefer a mix of white and dark chicken, but use what you like!

Panzanella salad is meant to be a way to use up leftover bread, so you can use pretty much anything! I like something crunchy with a nice crust – a good sourdough bread, baguette or baguette goes very well here.

I would avoid super soft bread, like your plain white sandwich bread. It gets too mushy.

And if you don’t have stale bread, that’s fine. Simply tear some bread into chunks and toast in the oven until crisp and lightly browned (about 10 minutes at 400 ̊F).

What to serve with panzanella

This is a full summer meal, but it can also be used as a side dish. If you’re serving it as an accompaniment to something grilled like steak, just omit the chicken.

Make Ahead Panzanella

This salad gets better if you let it sit in the fridge for a bit, so feel free to make it a day or so in advance. That holds up well! However, after a few days, the herbs will begin to wither and the salad will become too soggy. So do it; Eat it within a day or two and you’ll be delighted!

The father adds: Blistered Peppers

Blown Peppers! This salad has great fresh summer flavors, but bubbled peppers add something special. I use Shishito peppers or mini peppers. Put them in a pan with some oil and then sear them on one side. When they come out of the pan, season with salt, chop and serve with the salad.

The children’s certificate

my children are Not salad kids. They’re generally good eaters, but not quite to the point of ripping into a full salad just yet. BUT! This salad was a great summer meal for her. It has familiar flavors that are accessible to kids, and the salad lends itself to a perfect dad joke. (“Oops! Dad put the bread in the salad!”)

Not only did my kids find my joke funny, but they loved the salad overall. My daughter focused on chicken and tomatoes while my son (who doesn’t love tomatoes) ate bread, chicken and pickles.

All in all, a win for a quick summer salad!

More quick and easy summer dishes!

  • Steamed mussels in tomato sauce
  • Sweetcorn and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
  • Thai noodle salad with peanut sauce
  • Pan-fried shrimp fajitas
  • Easy Chinese Chicken Salad with Chow Mein Noodles

Chicken Panzanella Salad

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
15 minutes

total time
30 minutes

4 servings

You can roast or poach your own chicken for this recipe, or you can simply purchase fried chicken from the store.


  • 5 cups torn pieces of bread

  • 1/4 Cup chicken gravy or chicken broth

  • 4 cups shredded chicken

  • 2 Middle tomatoeschopped

  • 1 Middle cucumbercut

  • 1/2 small Red onionthinly sliced

  • 1/4 Cup basiltorn

  • 2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • Coarse salt

DAD ADD: Blistered Mini Sweet Peppers

  • 6 to 8 Mini peppers or shishito peppers

  • 1 teaspoon Extra virgin olive oil

  • Coarse salt


  1. Toast the bread:

    If you have very stale, crusty bread, you don’t need to toast your bread. Just rip to pieces. If using fairly fresh bread, spread the pieces out in a single layer on a baking sheet, then toast at 400F for about 10 minutes.

  2. Dress the bread:

    When the bread is toasted, spread the pieces out on a large serving platter in a single layer or close to it. Drizzle with roast chicken or chicken broth.

  3. Assemble the salad:

    Spread the shredded chicken evenly over the bread. Do the same with the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and basil. Drizzle the whole salad with extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar and sprinkle with coarse salt.

  4. Make the bubble peppers (DAD ADD, optional):

    In a small or medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat, add a splash of oil. Add the peppers and let rest untouched for 3-4 minutes or until the peppers start to bubble. Then turn them over and let them bubble on the other side for a few minutes. Remove the peppers from the pan and sprinkle with coarse salt. Chop and serve on the panzanella salad!

    Leftover lettuce will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

nutritional information (per serving)
489 calories
20g Fat
34g carbohydrates
42g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!