If you are like me, and according to Instagram a lot of people are, you've turned all this uncertainty and extra time into loaves and loaves of bread. I've always been a bread baker, but in a more functional than fancy way, I have a basic whole wheat sandwich bread recipe that I developed years ago and make every week or two and if I want good pizza or pita, I'll make it. This, however, is different, though I love yeast, and everything made from it - cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, buttery holiday rolls, etc. - it requires planning and patience; is not a weekday (or night) endeavor and makes so many dirty dishes. That being said, with days to plan meals and no real rush on anything there have been a lot of carby, fresh loaves of bread passing through my oven and into our mouths. For the most part we finish them before they start going stale, but sometimes they get to a point where they are best used for breadcrumbs and croutons. This recipe for Panzanella, a Tuscan bread salad, is a perfect use for those starting to dry up loaves, or if you have bread that isn't stale and you want to make it, the recipe still holds because you crisp it up in the oven anyway. Also, the veggies in this recipe are endlessly swappable. I think we are all learning, or relearning, how to use what we have on hand and spinach and butternut squash where what I had that needed used. You could easily use spring mix with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers or kale with roasted asparagus, or really any kind of green and any kind of fresh or roasted veggie. Enjoy!
Makes 3 main dish / 6 side dish
Prep time: 45 minutes, mostly hands off
For the Salad:
3 cups stale or fresh bread, cut into 1 - 2 inch cubes
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, large dice
1 small red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
4 cups fresh spinach or any hearty greens, rough chopped
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine or your favorite vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl toss bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and garlic. Spread on baking sheet and set aside.
3. In the same bowl, toss together butternut squash, onion, and remaining olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and roast in pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Remove, flip and roast for additional 20 - 25 minutes or until squash is tender and turning brown.
4. Toast oiled bread in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, flip and continue cooking for 5 - 10 minutes more or until crisp on outside and soft in the middle.
5. In same bowl from before, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add toasted bread, cooked squash, and greens. Toss well making sure everything is coated well. Divide among plates and top with grated parmesan cheese.