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Autumn Panzanella Salad

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Serves 4

  • by from Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family's Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking

Panzanella is mainly known as a summer salad, with juicy tomatoes and cucumbers, but this warm autumn version may just change your thinking. It’s filled with hearty seeded bread croutons, creamy roasted squash, golden and red beets, crunchy slices of apple, and pumpkin seeds, all dressed with pumpkin oil and apple cider vinaigrette.

For the salad
  • 6 (3/4-inch-thick) slices rustic seeded bread, cubed
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 5 red baby beets, peeled and quartered
  • 5 golden baby beets, peeled and quartered
  • 2 pinches fine sea salt
  • 1/2 medium kabocha, red kuri, or butternut squash, peeled, sliced, and seeds removed
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup beet greens or any other leafy green
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves
For the vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp. grainy Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
Make the salad

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Toss the cubed bread and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until dry.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Toss the beets with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and a pinch of salt on a deep baking pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until fork-tender.

Toss the sliced squash with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the red pepper flakes. Bake on the lower rack of the oven for 20 minutes or until fork-tender.

In a large bowl, toss together the croutons, roasted beets, roasted squash, sliced apple, beet greens, pumpkin seeds, sage, thyme, and oregano.

Make the vinaigrette

Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, pumpkin oil, olive oil, and salt. Pour the vinaigrette over the warm salad, toss, let sit for 10 minutes so the bread absorbs the juices, and serve.

Photo: Aran Goyaga

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