Winter Panzanella Salad! I know we typically think of panzanella salad as a summertime staple: with thick cubes of juicy in-season tomatoes, crusty bread and heaps of fragrant basil. This holiday version is just as delicious and features the best of Fall produce: beautiful kale ribbons, roasted butternut squash and sweet cranberries. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing salad to serve this time of year, this butternut panzanella is it!
If you’ve never had panzanella salad before, it’s basically a vegetable salad with big chunks of homemade croutons. It’s the perfect thing to make if you have leftover bread as this salad tastes even better with stale, hard croutons. The crunchy bread is better able to soak up the delicious Balsamic dressing, providing the perfect balance of crispy and soft. It’s divine!
I make a batch of roasted butternut squash almost weekly this time of year. Roasting helps release the natural sugars in vegetables; a reaction that happens when there is no water and the sugar is able to caramelize, creating a sweet, nutty, toasty flavor. Whenever I hear someone say that they don’t like vegetables, I urge them to try them roasted. Bitter compounds are transformed into slightly sweet ones and it’s the perfect answer to just about any root vegetable. Enjoy the roasted butternut squash on this salad, as a simple side dish or tossed with cooked grains and your favorite Litehouse dressing.
To bring everything together, I’m using Litehouse’s tangy Balsamic dressing and marinade. This dressing is a staple in my house, a workhorse that can be used on just about any salad and as a vegetable and protein marinade. With flavors inspired by classic Italian balsamics, this dressing will complement the flavors of any dish.
Whether you are in need of a simple lunch salad or a show-stopping holiday side, this roasted butternut panzanella salad is it. To transform it into a main meal, consider adding in roasted chickpeas, rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey cubes.