When I think back to all of the delicious food I ate this 2014 holiday season, one thing stands out in my mind. No, it’s not the Christmas turkey or ham, nor is it the sweet potatoes and stuffing.
It’s a salad!!!!
Okay, before you start making faces at me and turn your nose up in disgust, you’ve really got to take a look at this recipe. I liked it so much, I made it twice more after its original (and thankfully successful) attempt. When I made it for our second Christmas family dinner on the 27th of December, it was the only dish that was polished off! (And to put this in perspective, four days later, we are still working on the leftovers from the dinner). When a few relatives asked for the recipe, and my mom asked me to make it again a couple of nights ago, I knew I had to post the recipe for you all. So, what is this great salad I speak of?!?!?
Friends, I present you with… Warm Winter Squash Kale Panzanella.
Right now you’re probably thinking: what in the world is Panzanella? Well, I had no idea, but after having found this delicious recipe by Cookies and Kate on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a shot.
The most unique part about this recipe is the rosemary. Along with the goat cheese, it adds so much flavour to this salad dish! It honestly reminded me of a healthier version of stuffing.
I also loved how easy it was to substitute certain ingredients to make the dish customizable. For example, the first time I made it I used some type of winter squash, the next time a butternut squash, and the final time a sweet potato!
If you’re looking for a hearty, delicious winter salad, you’ve got to try this. My family and I loved it, and if you like kale and balsamic, I have a feeling you’ll love it too!
Warm Winter Kale Panzanella
Serves 2-4 people, depending on whether served as a side or a main dish, and on how hungry you are!
- 2 large bunches of kale, washed, and torn into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (add this on only at the very, very end)
Hot: Squash, seeds, and croutons
- ~3 cups winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc will all work), baked until slightly crunchy and cut into approx. 1 inch cubes
- 2 slices of bread, sliced into bite size pieces (should make about 50 pieces in total, if you slice 5 by 5)
- 1/2 white onion, chopped into long, thin, ~2 inch pieces (not chopped finely)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup dried rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste (a few shakes each)
Dressing (should make ~1/3 cup of dressing)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp maple syrup or honey (I used maple syrup the first time, and actually omitted it the next two times- it works fine without)
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Place mostly baked squash, bread, seeds, and onions on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated, and then sprinkle rosemary and salt/pepper.
- Bake for roughly 10 minutes, before removing from heat to flip ingredients, and baking for another 7-10 minutes or so, until bread is well toasted.
- When bread is toasted to your liking (and they resemble croutons), remove pan from oven.
- While the “hot” items are in the oven, massage kale in small batches. This will make the leaves much less “rough” and will also decrease their volume by a lot. If you need a tutorial on how and why you should massage kale, check out this article by the Huffington Post.
- Add dried cranberries to the kale. Do NOT add in goat cheese yet!
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. You may wish to taste the dressing to make any necessary adjustments to suit your liking. For example, I much prefer balsamic over mustard, so I tend to use more of it.
Assembly (right before serving)
- In a large salad bowl, combine cold and hot ingredients. Drizzle dressing over salad, and mix well until all leaves are well coated.
- In an oven or microwave (make sure the bowl is microwave-able safe!), heat salad until lukewarm. This should take about 5-7 minutes in the oven (watch it carefully), and 1-1.5 minutes in the microwave.
- Remove salad from heat, and crumble goat cheese on top immediately before serving.
- Serve salad immediately when warm. Enjoy!
Also, it is WEDNESDAY, which means I can also combine this recipe with some awesome What I Ate Wednesday eats! I’m liking up with Jenn for WIAW from Peas and Crayons! Be sure to check out her website for not only her WIAW eats, but also others’!
What I Ate Wednesday
Happy New Year!
And, last but not least, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! I hope you all have a fabulous time celebrating, whether you’re staying in, going out, or doing absolutely whatever 🙂 . Here’s to 2015!
Do you like kale? Do you cook with it much?
I love love love kale!!! I absolutely adore how robust it its, and how it can withstand dressing without wilting!
Do you know what “panzanella” is? Have you ever made it?