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This Winter Panzanella Salad recipe, made with homemade croutons, roasted winter vegetables and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette is a fancy, yet approachable side dish.
Grab the recipe below for this Winter Panzanella Salad or PIN IT for later!
Happy December, friends! I am so excited for all the festivities this month brings, but if I’m being honest, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed with all of the commitments already filling our calendar for this month. From several holiday parties and family gatherings (one we are even hosting!), to special holiday events like visiting the local trail of lights and a holiday program, to trying to pack in all kinds of special holiday traditions like decorating our tree and making cookies and gingerbread houses; this month is going to busy!
That’s not even including all the normal day to day stuff that we still have going on. Things like work, appointments, grocery shopping and trying to finally conquer the never-ending pile of laundry! If I could have one holiday wish, I wish we could take the entire month of December off to play and have fun, with all the work and chores magically being taken care of! A girl can dream, right!?!
But the fact of the matter is, that to squeeze in all the fun and not feel so overwhelmed, I have to take a few shortcuts here and there. Like right now I am loving shopping at Walmart because I can stock up on groceries, party supplies, holiday décor and gifts, all in one place; which is a HUGE time saver!
I’m also taking a few other shortcuts this holiday season. Like no way am I making a homemade gingerbread house, those store-bought kits are just fine! And I am totally not opposed to picking up a few frozen meals, like Michael Angelo’s Family Size Lasagna with Meat Sauce or Michael Angelo’s Family Size Baked Ziti with Meatballs, on my shopping runs to Walmart. Having meals like this on hand this month for quick and easy dinners, means there is more time for FUN, and less time in the kitchen having to prep dinner and doing all those dishes!
Michael Angelo’s authentic Italian meals are made with real ingredients you can pronounce and have no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. In addition to family size meals and meal starter kits, they also have single serve entrées available on the frozen food aisle of Walmart, which come in a variety of flavors, like Michael Angelo’s Chicken Parmigiana and Michael Angelo’s Vegetable Lasagna. These are great for lunches or if you have a small family and everyone wants something different for dinner. 😊 And even though I am taking a shortcut with our dinner entrée by picking up a Michael Angelo’s frozen meal, I will still make a fresh side salad, some roasted vegetables or pick up a loaf of garlic bread to go with it.
Today’s recipe for Winter Panzanella Salad is our latest side salad obsession and it goes so well with a Michael Angelo’s Family Size Lasagna with Meat Sauce. If you’ve never heard of a Panzanella salad, then you are in for a treat! It is the perfect side dish for a pasta dinner, as it combines the crusty French bread and the veggie packed side salad into one glorious side dish!
Traditionally Panzanella salad recipes consist of chunks of bread, fresh tomatoes, sometimes basil and red onion, and it always has an oil and vinegar dressing. Since it is winter and fresh tomatoes are lacking flavor, I decided to come up with a winter version of this favorite side salad. I replaced the tomatoes with roasted winter vegetables and added a touch of peppery arugula for a country, chic dinner side dish!
What are your tips and tricks for surviving dinner time during the holiday season? Please share in the comments below!
Helpful Tips and Information:
Winter Panzanella Salad Ingredients:
- French bread
- Italian seasoning
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- Sweet potato
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Red onion
- Dried cranberries
How to make a Panzanella salad:
- Toss bread cubes in butter, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and seasonings.
- Toast bread in oven for 10 minutes.
- Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast in oven for 30 minutes.
- Toss together roasted vegetables, croutons, arugula, red onions, dried cranberries and balsamic dressing. Serve.
Panzanella salad cooking tips:
A store bought balsamic vinaigrette can be substituted for the homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing recipe listed below.
For less dirty dishes, use the same bowl to make croutons, toss veggies in oil and assemble the salad!
Save time buy using pre-cut butternut squash, available in the frozen vegetable section of your local store.
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups French bread, torn or cubed in bite sized pieces
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon each Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
- 1 1/2 cups diced sweet potato
- 1 1/2 cups halved Brussels sprouts
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon each Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups arugula
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon each Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with aluminium foil. Spray foil with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and garlic. Melt butter in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, or until butter is fully melted and garlic is fragrant.
In a large bowl, toss together the melted butter, bread cubes, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper.
Transfer the seasoned bread cubes to one of the prepared baking sheets and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 8-12 minutes, or until toasted and golden brown.
Meanwhile, to prepare salad, in a large bowl toss together the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer on the second baking sheet. Roast vegetables in preheated 400 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and soft.
While the vegetables roast, prepare balsamic vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
To assemble salad, in a large bowl, toss together prepared croutons, roasted vegetables, red onion, dried cranberries, arugula and desired amount of balsamic vinaigrette (to start, about 4 tablespoons). Serve immediately.
Cooking Tip: For less dirty dishes, use the same bowl to make croutons, toss veggies in oil and assemble the salad!
Stock up on Michael Angelo’s family sized meals, meal starter kits, calzones and individual entrees on the frozen food aisle of your local Walmart. And for more quick and easy recipes and entertaining ideas, click here or follow Michael Angelo’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!