Salad Series {Post #8} Winter Panzanella AKA Italian bread salad

Pottery handmade by Catalina Aguirre Hoffman

Winter Panzanella – well, my interpretation anyway…

French and sprouted green lentils, roasted butternut squash, dandelion greens, whole wheat raisin croutons with a lemon-thyme vinaigrette.
One of my favorite salads is a summer panzanella, super ripe tomatoes, basil, maybe a little mozzarella and day old bread to mop up all the tomato nectar – it doesn’t get better.  I guess the only traditional ingredients that overlap between the summer and my “winter” panzanella are the bread and onions. This is a great example taking a classic recipe and making it through the seasons, with what’s in season. Instead of the tomatoes and basil I used dandelion greens and squash. I used a whole wheat raisin loaf I didn’t get to finish before it staled. Because this is such a healthy salad I felt it justified to saute the croutons in a pan with a little butter and olive oil – my favorite way to enjoy croutons. Although I don’t think traditionally the bread is toasted, I like the extra crunch and it keeps the bread from getting too soggy (which is one of my least favorite things, ewww). This is also a very hearty salad, it’ll fill your belly and warm your soul in the cool of winter. Not that we see very cool weather here in South Florida, I guess that’s why I’m making salads, not stews!  I used Feta, which is what I had on hand, but I would love this salad with goat cheese. Use whatever leftover bread you have, though I really liked the sweetness the raisins added. If you don’t use raisin bread, I’d toss in a few raisins or dried fruit of some kind, soaked in warm water for a few minutes to soften them. Dandelion greens aren’t for everyone, especially when their more mature = pretty bitter, but they sure are good for you! The slight bitterness plays really well with the other ingredients in this salad. If they’re too earthy for you, arugula, spinach or frisse would be a great substitute. Just about any squash or root vegetable will work in this recipe – just don’t over cook them, you want them to have a slight bite and hold their shape. Using a few different types lentils made this salad extra interesting. This is the first time I’ve used sprouted lentils – if you can get your hands on some,  their wonderful.

6 Comments to “Salad Series {Post #8} Winter Panzanella AKA Italian bread salad”

  1. This one looks really good, I can’t wait to try it!

  2. I enjoyed the salad for 3 days, it held up so well and made my lunchtimes spectacular. My favorite element was the squash, surprising as that’s not usually my favorite thing, but perfectly cooked it lent such a beautiful color and sweetness to the finished salad.Thanks Kelly!

  3. What a delightful winter salad! I must admit to coveting the lovely ceramic bowl, it pairs perfectly with the scrumptious salad.

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