Saturday, August 25, 2012

Butternut Panzanella Salad

Butternut Panzanella Salad
The last few weeks my garden has been abundant in cucumbers, and now tomatoes.  Having used cucumbers in just about every imaginable way that I know how, including just slicing and eating them with no embellishment, I gave a bag to one of my friends and neighbors.  Purely selfish…I just couldn’t look at another cucumber…and for this very selfish gesture I was rewarded with a most wonderful Panzanella salad! The next day I gave my friend a call to thank her for bringing me some of her delicious salad and asked if she would share the recipe.  I knew she would. We happen to share recipes all the time. She’s a very talented cook. On her way to work, the next morning, she dropped it in my mailbox. I made it the next day…Yum!

Panzanella (pahn-zah-NEHL-lah) is a rustic Italian bread salad.  It tastes like bruschetta in a bowl! I’m sure it was a salad of necessity. Italian cooks waste nothing and, this was a way to use up stale bread. It dates back to the 1500’s.  It always includes bread and tomatoes.  Other vegetables that may be included are peppers, cucumbers, and onions.  Also, lots of garlic, capers, black olives, and anchovies are usually included. The Panzanella salad I’m sharing with you today includes roasted butternut squash.  This is a fabulous salad! Thanks Diane for sharing it with me!

I used rosemary-sea salt focaccia 
Butternut squash ready for the oven
Roasted and ready to use
The veggies cut up for the salad…minus onions and anchovies 
This is an incredible salad…the flavor of the butternut squash melded so well with all the other ingredients.  
Delicious Butternut Panzanella Salad!

Butternut Panzanella Salad
This salad adapted from 

The Organic Seasonal Cookbook

serves 4-6

2 butternut squash
⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 stale ciabatta loaf
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
9 oz. halved baby plum tomatoes (I used red and yellow cherry tomatoes)
12 canned anchovy fillets in olive oil, rinsed and chopped (optional)
1 small cucumber
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed ( I used one)
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely torn
sea salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Peel the squash, then remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into ¾ inch chunks and spread out on a baking sheet.  Drizzle over a little of the extra virgin olive oil and add a light scattering of sea salt. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until soft and caramelized.

Meanwhile, cut the ciabatta into small chunks, then drizzle with some of the remaining oil and season to taste with sea salt.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crunchy.

Put the celery, onion, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and anchovies, if using, in a large bowl.  Halve the cucumber lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, then cut into thin slices and add to the bowl.  Add the roasted squash and seeds and the baked ciabatta. Mix the vinegar and garlic with the remaining oil and season to taste salt and pepper.  Pour over the salad, then add the basil and toss thoroughly, making sure that the ciabatta chunks get a good coating of the dressing.  If possible, let stand for an hour or so to enable the flavors to develop and the bread to soften very slightly.


  1. I have read through at least 11 different Panzanella salads in the past two weeks and, although each looks delicious, nothing has made me think, "I have to make this." You're hit the target - with the butternut squash - and I am going to try this. Now that I'm in Aspen, I'm having friends I really haven't seen for 8 years, over for lunch on a one-on-one basis. So now my menu is complete. I will rotate White Bean, Fresh Corn and Heirloom Tomatoes (Chris), this week's FFWD salad (Dorie) and your Panzanella via Diane over and over again. Please thank her for me.

  2. This looks delicious! Do you have any tips for cutting up the butternut (which always intimidates me...)?

  3. Kathy, your salad looks wonderfully delicious:) What a great way to use produce from your garden. I just need to get anchovies and I am set to make it. Thanks to you and Diane for sharing.

  4. spectacular, healthy and love the colorful dish!

  5. I love this panzanella... we make it all the time never thought about the butternut in it great idea!

  6. I love the intensity of your colors in your first and last photos. Very appetizing!

  7. gorgeous salad, Kathy. I love panzanella and your version makes me very hungry!xx

  8. I love Panzanella salad and make it often. However, I've never thought to add butternut squash to it though and it's one of my favorite veggies - next time I will.

  9. looks irresistably hearty & full of nice texture
    Tasty Appetite

  10. Kathy,
    I would never thought to add butternut squash to a panzanella salad...but what a great addition! I think the squash takes it to the net level. I'll be making this for dinner tonight!

  11. Wow, all those amazing garden vegetables, Kathy! Love your panzanella salad, so colorful, healthy, and delicious! I haven't made a panzanella salad in ages, so inspired to make one soon!

    I've been having problems with the Internet since the last couple days...storm after storm on our way, now the weather report has a hurricane warning in our area. One thing to have a tropical storm, but we did not have a serious hurricane since 2006 in S. Florida, with plenty of damage!

  12. What a beautiful salad, Kathy! I'm so used to having this with the usual line up of garden veggies....that I am glad to see that you made the butternut squash the star, here! It looks scrumptious! : )

  13. I adore Italian bread salad. Yours with roasted butternut squash looks fabulous!

  14. So full of colors and flavors this salad lifts my spirit only by looking at it!

  15. Looks delicious and perfect for summer!!!!

  16. What an interesting recipe for Panzanela Salad - I have never seen butternut squash in this Italian salad before but it sure sounds delicious and so healthy. I saw the first butternut squash in the market today, maybe I should give this recipe a try, I am sure that the kids would like this as they adore bruschetta and are always quite eager to try out new recipes.

    Have a wonderful Monday, Kathy!

  17. What a festive salad, Kathy. I love the story "dressing" too. Please thank you neighbor, Diane for us too. I don't have any Butternut yet but I'm thinking about swapping one of my many cantaloups for a few here and there, lol...

    Thanks for sharing...

  18. Dear Kathy, What a beautiful salad. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  19. what a wonderful salad!! just gorgeous and I love that you've added the anchovies - can't wait to try this
    Mary x

  20. Just beautiful, Kathy! I love all the colors, textures, and flavors!

  21. I've never heard of making panzanella with butternut squash, but the more I think about it, the better it sounds! It's also a perfect dish for late summer/early fall with those great flavors.

  22. Love the idea of using butternut squash in a panzanella salad. I only have one problem with a panzanella salad - I can't seem to resist eating the croutons first.

  23. Beautiful!!! Your veggies look fabulous...and all in one of my favorite salads! And I love that you selected a rosemary bread...yum!

  24. This is a fantastic salad, and the roasted squash is the perfect twist! How great that your garden is so proliferous, enjoy it!

  25. Panzanella is one of my favorite salads. I've never seen it with roasted squash before. Fall is in the air, so I will definitely bookmark your recipe for when I switch to an autumn frame of mind. It looks delicious. Don't you love when friends share recipes?

  26. Kathy, a special friend told me about a recipe of day old Italian salad of bread and tomatoes years ago. I
    loved it, Jim, not so much, but it was exactly as you described, Panzanella. I love your interpretation,
    will definitly try it. Just goes to show you how the old family recipes are handed down over the years.