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Author Notes: While nothing like its tomato-laden summer counterpart, this Fall-inspired panzanella showcases all of the best flavors of Fall. Roasted butternut squash and crusty sourdough are the star of this dish, brightened by an herbed brown butter balsamic dressing.
This bread salad is infinitely adaptable to the ingredients that you have on hand or prefer. I used a seedy whole grain sourdough, but any stale bread would work. Any nut could be substituted for the pecans, or they can be omitted entirely to make it nut-free. Likewise for the navy beans, which can be omitted or replaced with another bean. For the greens I used slivered savoy cabbage leaves which stood up well to this hearty salad, but any salad greens would work well. Arugula, spinach, or kale would all be delicious in this salad as well. —kangarhubarb
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 small onions, sliced into wedges
- 1/2 head of garlic, cloves peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- pinch salt and pepper
- 4 cups cubed stale bread, preferrably sourdough
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon each fresh thyme, rosemary, and saje, chopped
- 2-4 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup cooked navy beans
- 1/4 grated parmesan
- 8 cups fresh salad greens of choice
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Toss butternut squash, onions, and garlic in 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 1 hour or until squash is golden with crisp edges. Stir every 15-20 minutes.
- Toss bread cubes with remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Spread on a second parchment lined baking sheet and add to oven. Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden and crispy, stirring halfway through baking time.
- To make dressing, begin by browning butter in a small saucepan. Melt butter over medium-high heat and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until butter turns a nut-brown color and gives off a nutty fragrance. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Once cool, add chopped fresh herbs, balsamic, and lemon juice. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Fry chopped bacon until crispy, drain off excess fat, and set aside.
- About 5-10 minutes before squash, onions, and garlic are finished roasting, add cranberries to pan and return to oven.
- Once vegetable are finished roasting, toss vegetables and cranberries, bread cubes, pecans, bacon, and navy beans in a large bowl with brown butter and balsamic dressing. Let sit 10 minutes to allow dressing to soak in.
- Divide salad greens between six bowls. Divide panzanella between bowls and top with grated parmesan. Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Lettuce-Free Salad
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Beans
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Stale Bread
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Savory (Winter) Squash Recipe