This salad features all of the delicious autumn fruits and vegetables everyone loves this time of year. The combination of roasted butternut squash, apple, sweet potato and cranberry make the perfect blend of fall flavors with warm toasty bread and crisp peppery arugula. I've made two other versions of Panzanella both with summer vegetables - Greek Panzanella Salad & Asparagus & Pea Panzanella. This version of Panzanella in my opinion is the best one yet. John was away for the weekend in Pennsylvania on his annual paint ball trip so I made this for myself while Owen was napping and ended up having it for both lunch and dinner.
1/2 Loaf (3-4 Thick Slices) Multigrain Bread - Cubed
2 Apples - Cored & Cubed
2 Sweet Potatoes - Peeled and Cubed
1/2 Large or 1 Small Butternut Squash - Peeled and Cubed
3-4 Cups Arugula
1/2 Cup Craisins
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Chili Powder
Ingredients for Cranberry Vinaigrette:
1/3 Cup Cranberry Juice
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp Honey
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
Dash of Nutmeg
Adapted from: www.howsweeteats.com
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a small bowl combine the spices together - salt, pepper, cinnamon & chili powder. Peel and cube your sweet potato and butternut squash, place them in a medium sized bowl. Pour most of the spice mixture over top of the veggies with a Tbsp of Olive Oil and toss to coat. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, giving them a shake or a flip about half way through.
While your veggies are roasting you can make the vinaigrette. Jess made a pomegranate vinaigrette and topped the salad with pomegranate seeds but I chose to go with Cranberry mostly because we keep craisins in the house and cranberry juice was cheaper and comes in a smaller container than pomegranate. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, nutmeg salt & pepper. Set aside.
When the vegetables have finished roasting, cube the apple and toss it in the remaining spices. Add the spiced apple to the pan with the sweet potato and butternut squash, making sure it still remains to be a single layer and all spread out. Roast everything another 25 minutes until all the fruit and vegetables are soft and cooked through.
Take the pan out of the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. If not they will wilt the arugula when you put the salad together. While the vegetables are cooling you can cube and toast the bread. I just put it in the oven for 10-12 minutes but you can also toast it in a pan if you choose.
Now it's time to put the panzanella together. In a large serving bowl put down your arugula, top it with the toasted bread cubes and then put the roasted fruit and vegetables on top. If you aren't serving and eating this all at once I would wait to dress and toss it together right before you eat it. You don't want the bread to get soggy, plus I liked having the fruit and vegetables still slightly warm. This is what about half of the salad looks like.
Pour a little bit of the dressing over the top and then give it a good toss. When dressing a salad it's always good to start with less and then add more if you need it you don't want it to be swimming in the dressing. Sprinkle the craisins over the top and give is another toss. Serve immediately. Just an FYI this portions out to be either two meals or 4 side salads.
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