Butternut Panzanella Salad

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So, did you gobble till you wobble’d?

I know I did.. between having a houseful of teenagers on Wednesday, Thanksgiving, and dinners out to celebrate a birthday, my pants are feeling a wee bit snugger than they did at the beginning of last week. It definitely “tis the season” – which for me means I need to lighten up between  between all the bouts of celebratory meals headed my way.  Is this sounding just a little familiar? Yeah, I thought so.

So, what do you do to lighten up your eating?

For me, I try to keep it simple…. and manageable.. and stuff that my family will not only eat, but actually enjoy.

Which means that I make more hearty salads and soups for dinner.  I love that I can prep everything ahead and put them together right before we eat – which is always a good thing but even better at this time of  year when it seems there simply aren’t enough hours in the day and  cooking  takes a back seat to other demands for my time. So, I am always  looking for new combinations and riffs on  the classics to keep it interesting… and nutritious!  This salad is a great example of what I’m talking about. It’s hearty enough  without meat but also pairs well with  a roasted chicken.. which is also a great thing to make during this time of the year …. but that’s another story!

Butternut Panzanella Salad
Prep time
Cook time
To make this even easier, use pre cut chunks of butternut squash. If you can't find marcona almonds, pecans would be delicious in the salad as well. I used arugula but you could also use watercress. Radicchio would also be a great addition to this salad. Adapted from Roasted Panzanella With Chili Croutons b y David Suarez
Serves: 4 servings
  • Croutons
  • 6 cups day old baguettes, cut into 1½ inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. chile powder
  • salt
  • Salad
  • 3 small shallots, peeled and sliced ⅛ inch thick
  • 4 cups peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1½ inch chunks
  • 1½ cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, shitake and or oyster)
  • ½ cup marcona almonds
  • 6 cups arugula, washed and dried
  • 6 Tbsp. crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. sherry wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  1. To make the croutons, pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Add the cut up baguette cubes and toss with 3 Tbsp. olive oil and season with chile powder and salt. Bake croutons until crisp and brown, about 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Spray a large sheet pan with cooking spray. Add the butternut squash and mushrooms. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is tender and the mushrooms are brown, about 25 minutes. While the squash is roasting, combine the shallots and sherry vinegar in a medium bowl. Add the remaining olive oil to the sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  3. To make the salad combine the arugula, butternut squash, mushrooms, arugula and croutons in large salad bowl. Drizzle with the sherry vinegar dressing and toss thoroughly to coat. Divide mixture among plates/shallow bowls. Garnish with the marcona almonds and the goat/feta cheese. Serve.



  1. says

    “Eat but actually enjoy” is something that I strive for daily not only at home, but also at work in recipe and meal recommendations for clients. This is a lovely salad. Beautiful to look at and undoubtedly delicious to eat. Last Autumn I used roasted butternut and garlic, caramelized red onions, basil and seeded bread cubes. I like this twist AND have all the ingredients at home… think I’ll sprinkle a few pomegranate arils over top!



    • says

      Hi Heather!! Love that motto!!! Butternut squash and caramelized red onions?? Now that is a fabulous combination!!! The pomegranate seeds would be delicious with this!!!

  2. says

    I am always searching for new ways to make healthy and enjoyable meals for my family. I LOVE this salad! I <3 butternut squash and cannot wait to make this. I hope your holiday was lovely, Nancy. xx

    • says

      Hi Lora!! I had an absolutely amazing Thanksgiving.. my oldest was home from college and we celebrated my other son’s birthday!! It isn’t always easy to make meals that are nutritious and enjoyed by everyone in the family is it??

    • says

      I hope you like it Lana!! I’ve always thought of panzanella as summer salad too but when I thought about it, this makes perfect sense. One of those “why didn’t I think of this” moments!

    • says

      Hi Julia!!

      Thank you for such a sweet comment!!! I am so glad that you enjoy it – it is such a pleasure for me to share my obsession with others who love food too!!!

  3. says

    I love a salad that is satisfying enough to be a meal – this looks like the perfect salad for me – although I would swap in some blue cheese instead of the goat cheese (not a fan!)

    • says

      Oooh… blue cheese would be awesome in this salad!!! My waistline wishes I did not love goat cheese… sadly, I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like….

  4. says

    Just the mention of butternut squash means I’m in! I have a large butternut squash on my counter waiting for another round of soup, but I will definitely save some of the roasted squash for a salad like this. Can’t wait to try it Nancy! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  5. says

    How interesting… I was searching for an autumn or winter panzanella last night. Too bad I didn’t check my RSS reader!

    I landed on a Food Network recipe made with roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts, red onion and parsley. I prepared some components last night, but I am serving it this evening. We shall see how it turns out :)

    • says

      Hi Emily!!
      It’s 4 Tbsp. – I went back and amended the recipe so if you print it out now, it will have the sherry vinegar included!! Thanks for catching that… can’t believe that I missed it!

  6. says

    Oh, this looks like a breath of fresh air after all of that Thanksgiving food! I love how you’ve used fall/winter flavors of butternut squash, yet it is still light and refreshing. I think I’ll make this for dinner tonight… with some roasted chicken on the side. :)

    • says

      Hi Emily!! That sounds like a fabulous idea!!! I truly love all the dishes associated with Thanksgiving but I definitely needed a break after all that indulgence!!

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