Have you ever had panzanella? Panzanella is simply a “bread salad”, typically comprised of fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and fresh basil, along with toasted bread cubes. The croutons soften a bit as they soak up the dressing, and this makes for a delightful side dish or light meal.
We’ve given this summer salad a “fall twist”, using cold weather-friendly brussels sprouts and butternut squash. Summer basil is replaced with thyme and sage, and parmesan stands in for the mozzarella.
This is an easy, colorful dish that has the added advantage of getting even more flavorful as it sits, so be sure to start this a few hours in advance of serving!
Fall Bread Salad:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- A handful of thyme sprigs
- 6 cups bread cubes
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- Small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the garlic, thyme sprigs and bread cubes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, stirring a few times, till golden brown. Discard the thyme and let cool. Do not turn off the oven.
Place the onion and vinegar in your salad bowl – toss to coat and let sit while you roast the vegetables (the vinegar will mellow the onion as it sits).
Place the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts on another baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Whisking constantly, add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil into the onion-vinegar mixture. Season with salt and pepper. About an hour before serving add the bread cubes, vegetables, chopped sage, parmesan and parsley– toss to coat. Garnish with sage leaves just before serving.