This quick and easy Fall Panzanella Salad is made with some of my favorite seasonal ingredients. Chunks of sourdough bread are tossed together with kale, roasted squash, shredded Brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds and candied walnuts. The salad is topped with shaved Manchego cheese and tossed with a homemade apple cider dressing. It's a healthy fall salad recipe you definitely don't want to miss out on! Best of all, this recipe is very versatile so it can be altered based on your dietary preferences. Let's get to it!
What Is Panzanella Salad
Panzanella is a popular Italian dish that's typically made with tomatoes and stale bread that's soaked in vinegar and oil. It's popularity has taken off and there are now many variations that include all different types of seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Why You'll Love Panzanella
Panzanella salads are a great way to use up leftover bread (and, who doesn't love a salad made with chunks of delicious bread)?!
It's super versatile and can be made with just about anything you have in your fridge or pantry! It's also a tasty way to enjoy the season's best produce in one simple, rustic dish.
This salad makes a great Thanksgiving side dish too!
Ingredients You'll Need
- One to two day old sourdough loaf- You can also use any type of rustic bread you prefer.
- Delicata squash- I use one large squash for this recipe.
- Pomegranate seeds- Give the salad fruity and vibrant flavor.
- Kale- Holds up nicely with the dressing and bread.
- Shredded Brussels sprouts- Use pre-packaged shredded sprouts to make life easier.
- Candied walnuts- I prefer the flavor of candied walnuts in this recipe, but you can also use plain or salted walnuts.
- Manchego Cheese- 3 or 6 month old Manchego is wonderful in this recipe.
- Favorite Fall Salad Dressing (click for recipe). My favorite dressing to use for fall salads! Made with apple cider vinegar and warm spices!
How To Prep Delicata Squash
Delicata squash is similar to butternut squash, but I find the taste slightly sweeter and the texture a bit meatier. If you're a fan of butternut squash, I think you'll love this variety even more. It's also much easier to slice AND you can eat the skin!
To prep the squash for this recipe follow these steps:
- Wash and pat dry
- Slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds by scraping with a spoon. Leave the skin on.
- Slice each half again lengthwise before slicing across to create smaller pieces. I recommend no more than 3" pieces for this salad.
- Add squash to a baking sheet and toss with coarse salt and extra virgin olive oil. That's it.
That's it! The squash is ready to roast!
How To Make the Salad
- First, make the dressing and slice up the bread into bite size chunks.
- Then, you'll add the kale to a large bowl and massage it with some of the homemade dressing. Nobody likes the texture of brittle dry kale, so this is an important step.
- Next, add the bread cubes and a bit more of the dressing.
- While the kale and bread are soaking up the dressing, cook the squash. The squash will take about 15-20 minutes to roast in a 425 º F oven.
- Allow the squash to cool a bit then add it to the salad along with the remaining ingredients and the rest of the dressing.
- I use a vegetable peeler to shave slices of Manchego cheese into the salad for added depth and yummy cheesy flavor.
Can I Use Fresh Bread?
You can, but you might want to toast the bread in the oven first, as the bread may get too soggy. I recommend cutting the bread into cubes and toasting in the oven at 325 ºF for about 10 minutes. If you don't have time to toast the bread, then you can just use less salad dressing to avoid soggy bread cubes.
How Can I Make It A Meal?
This recipe is vegetarian and full of healthy nutrients from the vegetables, fruit and nuts. To make it a more satisfying meal, here are some great suggestions:
- If you want to keep the salad vegetarian, I highly recommend adding in some plant-based sausage. I absolutely love slicing up some Field Roast's Smoked Apple and Sage Sausage links. They cook up quickly and add a ton of flavor to this healthy salad. You could also add in lentils or beans too!
- You can add meat-based protein if you prefer. Chicken breast or chicken sausage would be great. Slice it up and add it to the salad and enjoy it all in one dish.
Fall Panzanella Salad Substitutions and Add Ons
- Try this recipe with butternut squash, acorn squash or even sweet potatoes.
- Add in dried fruits such as figs, cranberries, raisins or apricots.
- Sprinkle in some pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- Use different types of nuts such as pecans or sliced almonds.
Can I Make This Salad in Advance? How Can I Store Leftovers?
Yes! For optimal freshness, you can make this salad up to 8 hours in advance and store covered in the refrigerator. However, be sure to let the salad come back to room temperature before serving for best flavor. Since we use kale in this recipe, it will hold up better than most other salad greens.
Store leftovers in an airtight container with lid for up to 24-48 hrs.
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Fall Panzanella Salad
- 2 cups sourdough bread preferably one to two days old cut into thick bite size chunks
- 1 large Delicata squash cut into 3 inch pieces * see prep notes above
- 3 cups kale chopped
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¾ cup Brussels sprouts thinly shredded
- ⅓ cup candied walnuts
- 1 cup Favorite Fall Salad Dressing (recipe linked)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ⅛ sea salt
- fresh pepper
- 1 small block Manchego cheese shavings
- Preheat oven to 425 ℉
- In a jar with lid or small bowl, shake or whisk together the ingredients for dressing.
- On a baking sheet, toss the squash with the olive oil, salt and some freshly ground pepper then roast for 15-20 min. You want to make sure the flesh and skin of the squash are fork tender and soft but nicely caramelized.
- While the squash is roasting, to a large bowl add the kale. Drizzle 3 tablespoon of the dressing onto the kale and massage it in until the kale begins to wilt.
- To that same bowl, add the bread cubes to the kale and add another ¼ cup of the dressing and toss together to combine. Allow the kale and bread to absorb the dressing.
- Once the squash is done, allow to cool slightly. Then add the squash to the bowl with the kale and bread. Continue to add the Brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Toss to combine. If the salad seems dry, add more of the dressing.
- Top the salad with shavings of the cheese.