Heirloom Tomato and Cornbread Panzanella

July 23, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This recipe calls for day-old cornbread, but if you did not have the foresight to make cornbread yesterday and you need this panzanella today (me! me! this was me), you can expedite the process quite easily. With a few hours to spare before panzanella o’clock, make an 8-inch square slab of your favorite cornbread. Once it is mostly cool, cut the slab into 1-inch cubes and spread them evenly over a large parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. This will be the same sheet you’ll toast the cubes on later! #efficiency. Set the baking sheet out on a counter and let it hang to dry out for a few hours. You’ll have faux day-old bread in no time, and the cubes will be all set to crouton-ify.Kendra Vaculin

Serves: 4


  • 3 (heaping) cups 1-inch cubes of day-old cornbread (see headnote)—don’t be shy with the scoops, this isn’t called bread salad for nothing
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • flaky sea salt, like Maldon, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors (get the weirdest and most bulbous S.O.B.s you can find at the farmers market—that’s how you win summer), chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 to 5 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped into smallish bits
  • 1/2 cup (packed) basil, roughly chopped or cut into ribbons
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the cornbread cubes evenly on top. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss around to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, tossing halfway through, until crisp and browned.
  2. Toss tomatoes, shallot, balsamic, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and mozzarella together in bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes while the whole deal gets juicy. Add in cornbread croutons and basil and let sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes, so the bread can soak up juices.
  3. Top with a big hit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and then serve.

More Great Recipes:
Salad|Cornbread|Tomato|Mozzarella|Shallot|Make Ahead|Summer|Vegetarian|Side

Reviews (12) Questions (0)

12 Reviews

Jenn B. July 12, 2016
This was a perfect use for day old corn bread. Ours was a little crumbly too, but that could have been the recipe I used. We added some shredded chicken breast to make this a little heartier.
Shelley M. July 9, 2016
Another way to expedite 'day old bread'. Put slices in the toaster till they're slightly dry but before they develop color.
Smaug July 8, 2016
time for my annual rant on heirloom tomatoes; it is a horticultural distinction, not a culinary one- the term tells you nothing about the flavor, acid content, liquid content etc. of the tomatoes, it just means that the seeds will come true. Any good tomatoes will do as well for a recipe like this, and how they're grown and harvested will have more to do with the final flavor than the varieties selected. "Heirloom" has, unfortunately, become a buzz word used more to invoke an impression than to convey any actual meaning.
Luna C. July 4, 2016
Wow! This is the first thing I've made from this site - and it was great! My cornbread is so crumbly though (every cornbread I'd ever met has been just that crumbly), it just disintegrated. Still tasted darn good though. Thanks!
Noreen F. June 14, 2016
I can't find my copy of the tomato cobbler recipe, but I think it was this one from Mark Bittman: http://markbittman.com/recipe/tomato-cobbler/
Chef D. November 27, 2015
garlic A. August 3, 2015
I haven't had panzanella in forever -- and this is calling my name.
Phyllis G. July 29, 2015
this is a wonderful idea.
Noreen F. July 27, 2015
Somewhere I have a recipe for a tomato cobbler with a cornbread crust that was equally delicious. Tomatoes and cornbread rock!
Sarah J. July 28, 2015
Please find that recipe and share it with us! Sounds great.
Laura415 June 11, 2016
Yes the recipe for that cobbler please:)
KayBee July 27, 2015
Looks like it could also work with a ham/bacon addition.