How Do You Like Them Tomatoes? In Cornbread Panzanella Salad!

A play on words leads me to this seasoned panzanella salad recipe where fresh tomatoes are the stars! However, there is a twist to the tried and true recipe.  I used cornbread, zucchini cornbread to be exact. So bonus to be able to use zucchini and tomatoes (two abundant garden fruits/vegetables this time of year). 

I just happened to have a dozen zucchini corn muffins in the freezer so having cornbread on hand was easy for me. The recipe for the zucchini corn muffins is in my cookbook From Vine to Table: The Unexpected Joy of Zucchini’s Magic. (I’ll share the recipe later in this post.)

If you don’t have leftover cornbread, or zucchini to make my zucchini cornbread, whipping up a quick batch from a box mix or your favorite cornbread recipe would be necessary before assembling the salad.

Awe, and the tomatoes. The fresher and riper the better! At the look of my tomato plants mid-September, I probably only have another week of harvesting, and at that, only small quantities are being produced at this time of year. 

So let’s get started before my basil dries up. 🙂

Cornbread cut up into bite-sized pieces.

Toasted cornbread ready to be added to the salad.

I used a variety of tomatoes from my garden. Recipe can be adapted to any tomatoes of your choosing or use all the same variety if that’s what you have on hand. Heirlooms work nicely in this recipe.

To me there is nothing better than freshly picked basil. The aroma is so delightful. Torn into pieces to top the salad is wonderfully fragrant and tasty. 

And we are ready to eat!

How Do You Like Them Tomatoes? In Cornbread Panzanella Salad!

Yields 4

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  • Bread:
  • 4 corn (or zucchini corn) muffins, equals about 3 cups, cut into bite-size cubes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Salad:
  • 6 cups tomatoes (about 2 pounds), variety of colors, sizes and types
  • 3 tablespoons red onion
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces mozzarella shredded or torn
  • 1/2 cup basil, torn
  • Optional: Sea salt


  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread zucchini cornbread cubes on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool.
  3. Toss the tomatoes, red onion, and vinegar in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add mozzarella. Combine and let marinate for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add cornbread and half the basil. Marinate for about 20 minutes (cornbread will soak up the juices).
  5. Serve with remaining basil, and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.


Zucchini Cornbread Muffins

3 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter (room temp)
2 eggs
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (about 2 corn cobs)


PREP: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray muffin tin with cooking oil.
Squeeze shredded zucchini in a tea towel, releasing liquid. Zucchini should be dryish. 

Combine dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Whisk wet ingredients together: Milk, butter, eggs.
mix wet into dry ingredients, folding into a batter. Add zucchini and corn.
Pour batter into muffin tin, filling each cup close to the top. Bake 25-30 minutes. 
Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

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