Garden Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe

Jump to Recipe
Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe in a bowl with fork.  It has Toasted bread cubes, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and mozzarella.  Serving bowl in back

Is there really a better tasting salad that one made up of bread?  This Panzanella Salad Recipe with fresh garden veggies is absolutely delicious and becomes a complete meal with the addition of chicken.  You get toasty bread, bright tomatoes, cool and crisp cucumber, herby basil, and creamy mozzarella, all tossed in a sweet and tangy vinaigrette.  It really is perfection.  I love it for lunch, but it would be a great Summer dinner as well.  And the best part is that you don’t need to wait for your bread to stale, you can simply toast it in the oven for 15 minutes, toss it with the other ingredients, and enjoy.

Toasted bread cubes, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and mozzarella in a bowl for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe. It's absolutely delicious.

COLD DINNERS FOR EASY PREP-AHEAD DINNERS

This Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe is a great prep-ahead dinner for taking with you on the go or for an easy no-cook dinner.  Cold meals are not just for lunches, they can really help with family dinners on busy nights.  This is especially true in the Summer when the temps are hot.  

Here are some of my favorite cold dinners:

Toasted bread cubes, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber on a fork over a bowl of Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe. It's absolutely delicious.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11) for toasting the bread in the oven.

And mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR THIS PANZANELLA SALAD RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

The first thing you want to do is cook and shred the chicken. You can save time by buying already roasted or grilled chicken. The deli will often have grilled chicken and bigger stores have rotisserie chickens. Both are great as you can simply shred them and you’re all set.

If you’re doing it from scratch, you can season with salt and pepper and either grill it on high heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or roast in the oven according to the recipe instructions.  Cook until internal temp reaches 165 F degrees. 

NOTE: to save time, the instructions have the bread going in the oven with the chicken for the last 15 minutes of the cooking time.  However, you can cook the chicken entirely for 20 minutes at 400 F degrees.  Then separately toast the bread at 300 F degrees for 15 minutes.

For the bread, I like to first get the pan ready so that as I cut the bread, I can drop the cubes directly into the pan.  Drizzle 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil onto a large sheet pan. Using a brush or back of a fork, spread the oil around the pan.

Cube the bread loaf and spread the cubes out on the oiled sheet pan and toss to get a little bit of oil on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes in a 300 F degree oven.

Knife cutting crusty bread into cubes for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe.  It's absolutely delicious.

Toasted bread cubes on a sheet pan for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe.  It's absolutely delicious.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-size pieces.

Half grilled chicken breast cut into cubes with knife sitting next to it on cutting board for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe.  It's absolutely delicious.

Cut tomatoes into bite-size cubes, slice the cucumber into half circles, finely dice the red onion, and mince the garlic. Cut the cheese into bite-size cubes.

In a small bowl, add the Dijon, Oil, Vinegar, Honey, red onion, Salt, Pepper. Whisk together with a fork or small whisk until completely blended together.

Whisk mixing red onions, dijon, honey, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe.  It's absolutely delicious.

ASSEMBLE 

To a large bowl, add the toasted bread, chicken, tomato, and cucumber. Tear half of the basil leaves into the bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over and toss to combine. Taste for dressing and more as desired. 

Toasted bread cubes, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, and basil in a bowl for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe with fresh garden veggies is absolutely delicious.

Add the cheese and give a light toss. Tear off more basil for garnish and enjoy!

RECIPE FAQS

What type of bread is best to use?

I love using a baguette or other long crusty bread.  The crust tends to stay the crispiest, so I like to have a lot of it in this recipe.  You can also use a boulle or other whole loaf bread that you need to cut yourself.  You do not want to buy pre-sliced breads.  They are sliced for sandwiches and therefore, will be too thin to hold up with the dressing.  The result will be a soggy bread salad.   

Does the bread need to be stale?

Nope!  It can be fresh, day old, or a few days old.  You do not need to leave it out to stale in order to use it.  If it’s fresh or a day or so old, but still soft, then simply follow the recipe instructions.  When the bread is older and has gotten hard, as long as you can still cut it, then follow the instructions.  If not, you can quickly run cold water over the bread, wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes to steam and soften.  Then follow the instructions in the recipe. 

Can I dress the salad ahead?

Only if you like soggy bread.  This really cannot be dressed ahead.  However, you can do everything else, even toast the bread up to an hour ahead.  Just leave the bread in the pan until your ready to mix the salad and serve it.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Toasted bread cubes, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and mozzarella in a bowl for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe. It's absolutely delicious.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Garden Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe

Is there really a better tasting salad that one made up of bread?  This Panzanella Salad Recipe is absolutely delicious and becomes a complete meal with the addition of chicken.  You get toasty bread, bright tomatoes, cool and crisp cucumber, herby basil, and creamy mozzarella, all tossed in a sweet and tangy vinaigrette.  It really is perfection.  I love it for lunch, but it would be a great Summer dinner as well.  And the best part is that you don't need to wait for your bread to stale, you can simply toast it in the oven for 15 minutes, toss it with the other ingredients, and enjoy.

Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bread salad, chicken recipe, Chicken Salad, panzanella
Prep Time 25 minutes
Assemble 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 12 ounces Chicken Breasts boneless and skinless
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Bread

  • 12 ounces French baguette or other crusty bread loaf
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground black pepper

Other Salad Ingredients

  • 2 Vine Tomatoes
  • 1 English Cucumber, medium
  • Basil leaves
  • 6 ounces Fresh Mozzarella

Dressing

  • 1 Tablespoons Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. ROAST CHICKEN. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Put the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub with a drizzle of Olive Oil, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven bottom rack for 10 minutes at 400 F degrees. Then turn the oven down to 300 F degrees and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. (NOTE: the bread in the next step will be added to the oven as well for this last 15 minutes).

  2. TOAST BREAD. While the Chicken cooks for 10 minutes, drizzle 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil onto a large sheet pan. Using a brush or back of a fork, spread the oil around the pan. Cube the bread loaf and spread the cubes out on the oiled sheet pan and toss to get a little bit of oil on all sides. Sprinkle with a sprinkle of salt (about 1/2 tsp) and black pepper (about 1/4 tsp). Bake in the oven top rack for 15 minutes in the 300 F degree oven with the chicken.

    Toasted bread cubes on a sheet pan for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe. It's absolutely delicious.
  3. CUT CHICKEN. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-size cubes.

    Half grilled chicken breast cut into cubes with knife sitting next to it on cutting board for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe. It's absolutely delicious.
  4. PREP VEGGIES. Cut tomatoes into bite-size cubes. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice into half circles. Finely dice the red onion. Mince the garlic.

  5. PREP CHEESE. Cut the cheese into bite-size cubes.

  6. MAKE DRESSING. In a small bowl, add the Dijon, Oil, Vinegar, Honey, red onion, Salt, Pepper. Whisk together with a fork or small whisk until completely blended together.

    Whisk mixing red onions, dijon, honey, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe. It's absolutely delicious.

Assemble

  1. MIX SALAD. To a large bowl, add the toasted bread, chicken, tomato, and cucumber. Tear half of the basil leaves into the bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over and toss to combine. Taste for dressing and more as desired. Add the cheese and give a light toss. Tear off more basil for garnish and enjoy!

    Toasted bread cubes, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, and basil in a bowl for this Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe. It's absolutely delicious.

Recipe Notes

  1. To save time, the instructions have the bread going in the oven with the chicken for the last 15 minutes of the cooking time.  However, you can cook the chicken entirely for 20 minutes at 400 F degrees.  Then separately toast the bread at 300 F degrees for 15 minutes.
  2.  

One thought on “Garden Chicken Panzanella Salad Recipe

  1. Love panzanella! It’s just so fun to eat, with all of the wonderful textures and flavors. Love what you did here. I typically drench the bread with vinegar!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.