By the time Sunday night rolls around, I’m always craving something fresh and nutritious.  Friday and Saturdays I always splurge and eat heavier foods than I include in my diet during the week, so Sunday dinner is when I start getting back on track- this week featuring this Roasted Vegetable Panzanella!

One of my favorite ways to get inspired for new recipes is go to restaurants over the weekend, try their food, and then go home and try to make it healthier while also veganizing it.  I also do the same with some of my favorite chefs and bloggers- like Ina Garten- I’ve been working to veganize her Salted Caramel Pecan Brownies for months now…and I haven’t had any luck (yet!).

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So, the inspiration today for this Roasted Vegetable Panzanella is from my favorite food blogger, Gaby Dalkin, of What’s Gaby Cooking.  I am obsessed with Gaby.  You know those people that just brighten your day when they’re around? Yea, Gaby has the ability to do that THROUGH A PHONE SCREEN. (Trust me, I wish I lived close enough to *actually* run in to her).  I think I instantly felt connected with her because of:

  1. our mutual love of avocados (yes, they go on EVERYTHING)
  2. our mutual idolization of Ina Garten (the QUEEN of the kitchen, I’d die to be her apprentice)
  3. speaking of the Queen….our mutual obsession with Beyonce (bow down, snitches)
  4. finally, we’re both cat people.  Ok, crazy cat ladies have to stick together, ya know?

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What changes did I make? To start, I omitted the butter from the croutons.  I was going to replace it with additional olive oil, but then just thought I’d see what happened cutting back on the fat all together. Honestly, they were delicious.  I would never have known anything was missing!  Gaby’s recipe also called for purple sweet potatoes, which are hard for me to find on my usual grocery shopping trips, so I figured they’d be tough for you to find too.  So instead of just subbing regular sweet potato, since we have enough orange going on in this dish already (and in my opinion roasted butternut squash and sweet potato are similar in taste) I subbed a red onion. Can not go wrong with adding roasted onion to any savory dish!

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This photo has not been edited- I was actually trying to edit it and bring the vibrance down, but then I thought- WHY would I change how bright and beautiful the vegetables are naturally? Nature’s beauty really is amazing sometimes.

Maybe at this point you’re wondering what the heck is panzanella? For starters, it’s a fancy name for salad 😉 Further from that, it’s a “bread salad” that originated in Tuscany. Bread and salad? Ok, I’m sold. The bread in this Roasted Vegetable Panzanella comes from homemade garlic croutons that are life changing! (In the words of Gaby).  Even if you don’t follow the recipe for the entire salad, do yourself a favor and make this croutons-stat!

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While I’m ecstatic for Spring to get here, I’m hurrying to get my final few winter recipes in.  Specifically those with butternut squash because it is one of my favorite foods of all time. As the temperatures get warmer, I’m sad to see squash go, but can’t wait for my other favorites like asparagus and strawberries to come back in season.  So hop on this recipe quick, and get your last roasted winter veggie fix!


Roasted Vegetable Panzanella
Serves 4-6

For the Croutons:
1 loaf ciabatta bread (a few days old if possible but not necessary)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning

For the Salad:
  • 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, diced small
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped small
  • 1 large red onion, diced large
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • a couple pinches sea salt

For the Dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rip the bread into small-ish pieces. Transfer bread to a bowl. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle the bread with the olive oil and then toss with the garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning until fully coated. Transfer the croutons to a sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
  2. Turn the oven to 425F while you chop all the veggies. Transfer the prepped veggies onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden.
  3. While the veggies roast, massage the kale with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Transfer to a large bowl or serving platter. Remove veggies from oven, adjust salt and pepper as needed. Toss the roasted vegetables with the kale, croutons and drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve immediately.