If tossing together a big, healthy salad for dinner sounds like a meal plan reserved only for hot summer days, think again! I’ve created an amazing entrée salad that will have you crawling out of hibernation during the chillier months of the year – Ranch Winter Panzanella with Chicken. Inspired by the signature salad of Italy’s Tuscan region, my hearty, sweater-weather version includes chicken breast along with winter vegetables roasted to caramelized perfection in lieu of those traditional fresh tomatoes that can be so hard to find ripe this side of summer. I’ve thrown in baby Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, red onions and spinach, but you could substitute in whatever you fancy – root vegetables would work well.
Litehouse Panzanella Ingredients
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, the one make-it-or-break-it ingredient in a panzanella is the bread – this dish is often referred to as a “bread salad,” after all. Bread that is too soft will sop up all the dressing and vegetable juices, become unpleasantly soggy in the process. Rustic, artisan-type bread made into herbed croutons makes a better vehicle for the dressing and offers a nice crispy-chewy balance to the texture of the vegetables. It’s quick and easy to make croutons at home with a bit of olive oil and Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse Foods. Once you taste these flavorful croutons, you’ll never go back to store-bought!
Litehouse Panzanella Bowl
Also important for the full flavor experience of a panzanella is the vegetable roasting; don’t try and circumvent this step by steaming or microwaving your ingredients. Oven roasting is a simple way to create rich-tasting, earthy-sweet vegetables without adding an excess of unnecessary fat. Smaller vegetables can be roasted whole or sliced in half while larger produce can be quartered or cut into large chunks. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and herbs; bake on rimmed cooking sheet and, in about 30 minutes, you’ll be in crouton heaven. You may want to make a double batch for snack attacks; friends and family tend to gobble these up as soon as pulled from the oven.
Litehouse Panzanella Salad
Tying together the flavors of this bountiful bread salad is Litehouse Food’s OPA Ranch Dressing. This amazing accompaniment adds a slightly tangy creaminess to salads without the normal high-fat content that is normally associated with ranch dressings. In fact, OPA Ranch Dressing boasts 60% fewer calories, coming in at only 60 calories per two-tablespoon serving. That’s because the sour cream has been swapped out with protein-packed Green yogurt. Hope you enjoy the Ranch Winter Panzanella with Chicken - Buon appetito!
Litehouse Panzanella Salad Plated