As I mentioned in our roundup of mind-blowing vegan pasta recipes, I am a total carb queen. When you’re vegan, it’s so easy to rely on brown rice, quinoa, or pasta to bulk up a plate of veggies. I’m trying to get better at incorporating more protein and fat into my diet to balance things out a bit. These are all valuable things I’m learning at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Oh, have I told you I’m studying to become a holistic nutrition health coach? I am! I look forward to sharing more fun nutrition knowledge in the coming months.
Anyhow, like I said, I love carbs. I also really enjoy a big salad stuffed with colorful veggies. In fact, I can’t imagine eating one without the other.
Naturally, panzanella and I are soul mates. Or would it be soul salads? Salad mates? Either way, I’m in love. Traditional panzanella is made with chunks of stale bread soaked in olive oil and vinegar and tossed with tomatoes, vegetables, and fresh basil. It’s pretty heavenly. I decided to give this Tuscan salad an autumn makeover with roasted root veggies, diced apple, pumpkin seeds, and a few other bits and pieces. Of course, the bread is the star of the show. It’s really important to use thick, crusty bread in a panzanella. Toasting the bread in the oven dries it out just enough so it doesn’t get soggy when soaked in the dressing.
This fall panzanella salad is brimming with seasonal produce and goodies. Golden beets, Brussels sprouts, diced apple, and dried cranberries add stunning autumnal color to a bed of chopped kale for a hearty lunch or light dinner.Print
This fall panzanella salad is brimming with seasonal produce and goodies. Golden beets, Brussels sprouts, diced apple, and dried cranberries add stunning autumnal color to a bed of chopped kale for a hearty lunch or light dinner.
- 2 cups golden beets, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 ½ cups fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve 1 Tbsp. fennel fronds)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 3 cups crusty Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 bunch lacinto (dinosaur) kale, stems removed
- 1 gala apple, cored and diced
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
For the dressing
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, or coconut nectar)
- Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Transfer the beets, Brussels sprouts, and fennel to a baking sheet. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. On a separate baking sheet, spread the bread cubes in an even layer. Roast the veggies on the top rack for 25 to 30 minutes, until the beets are fork tender and the Brussels sprouts are slightly caramelized.
- Pop the bread in the oven for the last 5 to 7 minutes of roasting. When done, the cubes should be dry and crunchy on the outside and slightly soft in the middle.
- While the veggies are roasting, slice the kale into thin, 1-inch long pieces and add them to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle the kale with a pinch of sea salt and massage the leaves until soft and bright green. Core and dice the apple and toss it in the bowl with the kale.
- To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- When the veggies and bread are done roasting, remove them from the oven. Transfer the bread to the bowl with the kale and apples and drizzle with about half of the dressing. Toss to coat. Stir in the roasted veggies and top with the pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and reserved fennel fronds. Serve immediately with remaining dressing, if desired.