While everyone is getting excited about Pumpkin Spiced lattes with pumpkin bread, we’re over here drooling over this hearty and delectable Fall Panzanella Salad ♡
This ultimate Fall salad is made with crispy olive oil soaked French bread, sweet butternut squash, apples, and dried cranberries, balanced with fresh arugula, kale, and pecans.
You’ll be sure to love this plant-powered salad and how simple it is to make.
What is Panzanella?
Panzanella salads may be thought of as a summer staple and not much as a fall favorite.
Traditionally, Panzanella is an Italian bread salad made with onions, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar and seasonings and chunks of bread.
The magic of the salad is really in the bread because it soaks up all dressing and juices from the vegetables, and turns into this incredible crunchy yet soft goodness.
But who said we can’t eat Panzanella salads in the fall?!
I really enjoy making and eating this salad because it’s hassle-free, easy to make and proof that salads aren’t boring!
The roasted butternut squash and dried cranberries add sweetness yet & leafy greens and tangy cheese (goat or feta) add a touch of savory… best of both worlds!
The dressing ties the whole salad together with its to.die.for taste – it has a little sweetness from the honey and brightness from the lemon. Get ready for a new fall favorite!
This Panzanella salad is:
- Better than summer salads because apples 🙂
- Full of fresh and vibrant fall flavors
- Healthy and nutritious, packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- An easy salad to liven up your weeknight dinner
- Perfect for lunch, dinner, side dish or a snack!
Fall Panzanella Ingredients
For the salad:
- Day old French bread (bite sized cubes)
- Butternut Squash ( 1-1/2 inch cubes)
- Olive oil
- Honeycrisp or Fuji Apple
- Roasted Almonds, pecans or Pepitas
- Goat cheese or Feta
- Dried Cranberries
For the dressing
- Olive oil
- Lemon Juice
- Sherry Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
How to Make Panzanella Bread Salad
- Toast the bread. This only takes ~15 minutes, we don’t want to make croutons!
- Roast the butternut squash.
- Massage the kale. Let rest.
- Make the dressing.
- Toss the arugula, kale, apples, pecans, feta, dried cranberries, butternut squash and bread together in a large bowl.
- Serve with dressing on the side or toss dressing in the salad if serving immediately.
How Long Does Panzanella Salad Last?
After a few hours, the bread will get soggy and mushy. I recommend to consume within a few hours, or leave bread on the side if you plan on having leftovers.
Can I Prep Panzanella in Advance?
Yes! You can toast the bread and butternut squash in advance to speed up the salad making process when you’re ready to make it.
Also, make the dressing ahead of time if you’d like too! I wouldn’t pour the dressing over the salad because it may get soggy.
What to serve with Panzanella?
Tips for Making Italian Bread Salad
- Toast the bread in the oven for ~10 minutes. We want it toasted, and not hard like croutons.
- Let the Panzanella salad sit for a bit (15-20 minutes) before serving so that the flavors meld and for the bread to soak up a good bit of the dressing before completely melting into the salad.
- Use FRESH leafy greens, apples and squash for a fresh taste.
- Using at-least day-old bread or stale bread is the best bread. It’s key for Panzanella salads.
- Remember that it’s all about textures. Don’t let the bread soak too long that it disintegrates.
Fall Panzanella Salad
For the salad
- 1 loaf French bread*
- 20 oz. butternut squash, pre cut
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 large apple, cut into cubes (we like Honey crisp or Fuji)
- 1 cup pecans* (or walnuts or peptias)
- 1 cup feta cheese (or goat cheese)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Toast the bread: preheat the oven to 300°F. Cube the bread into ~1 inch bite sized cubes. Place on a baking sheet, toss with 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil and toast for 15-20 minutes.
- Roast the butternut squash: Increase the oven temperature to 375°F. Place cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet. Toss with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil. Spread evenly on pan. Bake until fork tender, ~35 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Massage the kale: Pull the kale leaves off from the stems and discard the stems. Use a chef’s knife to chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the kale to a big bowl. Drizzle olive oil generously over the kale and use your hands to massage the kale leaves (lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color). About 2 minutes.
- Make the dressing: In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, kale, apples, pecans, feta, dried cranberries, butternut squash and bread together. Serve with dressing on the side or toss dressing in the salad if serving immediately.
Hi, I’m Tawnie!
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.More about Tawnie