When salads are as delicious as this Autumn Butternut Squash Panzanella, I could eat a salad every day! This panzanella is filled with roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts, red onion, cranberries, blue cheese, and pumpkin seeds, and tossed with a maple vinaigrette.
Last week we went out to Marc's hometown for, what's becoming, our annual apple picking and pizza making night. We were originally planning to go the week before, but it was forecasted to be 39 degrees and cloudy.
Since Marc's parents were prepping all of the ingredients for the pizza, I offered to bring a salad. I wanted something that screamed "AUTUMN!!" and man, if I didn't nail it with this Autumn Butternut Squash Panzanella Salad. Not only does everything about it taste like fall but it even has the fall colors.
So let's break this Autumn Butternut Squash Panzanella Salad down. First, there's buttered bread cubes in it. While I usually toss bread cubes in olive oil and bake them, I saw another panzanella recipe that called for sautéing the bread cubes in butter. Hell to the yes. I'm not sure I can make panzanella any other way again because the buttery chunks of bread were pure heaven.
Along with the buttered bread, I roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts in a EVOO/maple syrup/balsamic vinegar mixture. I made the mistake of roasting my first batch of butternut squash too long. I always like to push the limits of roasting vegetables, but with the squash it became too mushy. It wouldn't have stood up to the bread. So I put my pouty pants on, cut up ANOTHER butternut squash, and roasted it to perfection. Just 30 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
To pull it all together, I threw in some cranberries, red onion, crumbled blue cheese, and pumpkin seeds. So. Much. Delicious. Flavor!
The dressing for this panzanella is also definitely worth talking about. It's sort of an apple cider vinaigrette, with the addition of some maple syrup and dried herbs. I chose rosemary and thyme and I love how their flavors came through.
We had a bunch of this leftover after our pizza night, and Marc and I happily ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. While the bread did get a little soggy on day 2, it was still just as crave-worthy.
This is a perfect fall side dish, but it's even hearty enough to be a a vegetarian main dish!