Southern Bread Salad with Olives and Pecans
Laurel Sanville

Southern Bread Salad with Olives and Pecans

This Southern spin on traditional bread salad (also known as “panzanella”) is a great way to use leftover bread that would otherwise go to waste. Bread that is a little older has lost some of its moisture, making it perfect for soaking up new flavors. The salad is best served not long after it’s made, but all the ingredients can be prepped and combined at the last minute.

Makes 6 cups


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 1 packed cup loosely chopped fresh spinach
  • 4 ounces (about 3 slices) day-old whole wheat or multigrain bread, torn into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup Manzanilla olives, cut in half


  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. No need to peel or seed the tomatoes.
  3. In a large serving bowl, combine the tomatoes, spinach, bread, pecans and olives.
  4. Pour oil mixture over the tomato and bread mixture. Toss until the bread is coated with the dressing. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve within 2 hours.


  • Choose the ripest tomatoes available to get that peak flavor.
  • Don’t have a whisk? Use a clean jar with a tight fitting lid to shake the dressing ingredients together.
  • Toasting nuts brings out the natural oils and deepens their flavor. Toasting on the stove is easy. Cook nuts in a single layer in a dry skillet over low heat for about 2 minutes. They will darken slightly in color and become fragrant.  To toast nuts in the oven, cook in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet at 350˚F for 5 to 7 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning for both on top of the stove and in the oven. We like to use a timer for this!

Nutrition facts panel for the Southern Bread Salad with olives and pecans


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