This Panzanella salad with roasted butternut squash, beautiful baby kale, and cornbread croutons is so good!
I enjoy salads, but there is something about a Panzanella salad that is so cozy and inviting, begging to be enjoyed.
What is Panzanella salad?
A classic Panzanella salad according to Wikipedia is described as, “a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions, and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar.”
Traditional or classic Italian Panzanella is a beautiful summer salad taking advantage of the fresh tomatoes and using up day-old bread to create a tasty chopped salad. Ina Garten’s recipe is the perfect example of the more classic Italian chopped salad.
Now, you can find so many variations of this salad to reflect the different seasons, such as in this recipe, where I’ve used roasted butternut squash, and a salad base of chopped kale. My other favorite additions are using up day-old cornbread and toasting it to make cornbread croutons.
What do you serve with Panzanella Salad?
This is a delicious salad on its own making it a great light dinner or lunch idea. This chopped salad is also happy served right along with chicken that’s been roasted, grilled, or baked. Other ideas include serving it with a nice steak dinner, along with a cozy bowl of chili, or seafood.
To add simple yet rich flavors, I’ve chosen use roast butternut squash, to bring out the sweetness and give it a caramelized texture on the outside. The dressing is one of my favorites, a balsamic vinaigrette that is rich and balances well with the kale and butternut. For crunch, you’ll find crispy eating apple slices and toasted pepitas.
Allow the flavors to meld together by tossing in the dressing and letting the cornbread croutons soak in the vinaigrette for 20 – 30 minutes before serving.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
- Apple butternut squash soup, a pressure cooker recipe.
- Grilled fig salad with a honey balsamic vinaigrette.
- Sage and butternut bruschetta appetizer recipe.
How to make chopped kale and butternut Panzanella salad
- 1 small butternut squash (about 4 cups), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups day-old cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup (green) raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 large bunch kale, ribs removed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 2 ounces gouda cheese, diced
Roasted butternut squash:
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the peeled, seeded, cubed butternut squash in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper if desired. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and roast in preheated 425°F oven for about 35 - 45 minutes or until tender and starting to caramelize.
- While roasting the butternut squash, toss the cubed day-old cornbread in the olive oil and season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer in a large dry skillet over medium heat. Allow to toast, turning to brown evenly, about 5 - 8 minutes. Set aside.
- Toss the pepitas in the olive oil. Cook in a dry skillet over medium heat stirring frequently until starting to turn golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup until emulsified.
Assemble the Salad:
- Place the chopped kale in a large salad bowl, top with the roasted butternut, apple slices, onion slices, and gouda cheese.
- Add the cornbread croutons, sprinkle with the toasted pepitas, and drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette. Toss to coat and allow to sit for up to 30 minutes to allow the croutons to absorb the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- The kale can be substituted for spinach if preferred.
- Toasted walnuts or pecans can be substituted in place of the pepitas.
- Dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds can be substituted for the apple slices.
- Acorn squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes can be substituted for the butternut squash.
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Lipper International 1188 Acacia Oblong Salad Servers, 12" Long, One Pair
Prep Series Nonslip Cutting Boards by Epicurean, 2 Piece, Natural
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife, 8-Inch Chef's
Wusthof 8944-1 CLASSIC Two Piece Prep Set, One Size, Black, Stainless Steel
La Tourangelle, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 25.4 Fl. Oz.
Colavita Balsamic Vinegar or Modena -- 17 fl oz - 2 pc
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 623Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 1023mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 13g
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.