Hello friend, popping in to say I think you’re awesome – so much so that I’ve made you a pizza undercover as a kale salad.
And of course, I use the word salad very loosely. This guy is roughly 30% bread and cheese after all.
With creamy goat cheese blobs, oven-crisped croutons, spicy roasted onions, and basil, it’s the kind of salad that makes salad-ing feel OK.
Even on the greyest of days when only your stretchiest jeans and highest-necked turtleneck will suffice.
WHAT’S A PANZANELLA?
My life changed when someone much cooler than me introduced me to the term Panzanella – which is a sexy Italian way of saying “salad with loads of crusty bread”. Typically Panzanella are enjoyed in the summer with juicy vine tomatoes and cheese, probably seated on the grass with the sun shining on your skin.
But it’s Fall now, so let’s use roasted sweet potatoes, silky massaged kale, a killer balsamic vinaigrette to make everything sing.
WHY IT’S DELICIOUS.
- You’ll use some of the balsamic dressing to massage into the kale leaves and soften them. The rest of the dressing can be used to coat the rest of the salad ingredients just before serving
- Unlike spinach or other delicate greens, kale is sturdy enough to hold onto all of the heavy, flavour-packed toppings without wilting.
- Roasted sweet potatoes taste great hot, warm or cold. Making this an easy make-ahead salad or work lunch or meal prep item.
- Bits of fresh basil are hidden, but bring hints of Italian flavour when combined with goats cheese and balsamic.
- It’s 100% success rate (3 out of 3 dinner parties to be exact) with distant relatives, future mother-in-laws, dads and friends make me super confident it will be a star at your next holiday-style food affair (or as tomorrow’s office lunch if you’re an over-achiever )
So let’s do this, shall we?
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups French baguette/ciabatta/focaccia/sour dough, cut into 1-inch pieces.
- 1/2 cup goats cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds or pepitas
- 1 medium bunch curly kale, ribs remove and thinly sliced
- handful fresh basil, roughly torn
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- pinch chili flakes
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup olive or grape seed oil
- splash water (if desired)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 F. On one side of a parchment lined baking sheet, add sweet potatoes and a drizzle of oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- On the other side, add red onions, maple syrup, a drizzle of oil and chili flakes to taste. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for 16-18 min, stirring halfway through, until veggies are tender.
- On a second parchment-lined baking sheet, add bread pieces and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 4-8 min, shaking half way through, until golden and crisp.
- Meanwhile, in a jar, add all dressing ingredients. Shake well to combine. Taste and add more salt or a bit of water to thin out.
- *When ready to prepare the salad, add kale to a large serving bowl. Drizzle about a tablespoon of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to massage the kale for about 15 seconds to soften.
- Top salad with roasted sweet potato and onions, torn goat cheese, almonds, basil, and croutons. Just before serving, drizzle over remaining balsamic dressing and toss to coat.
*Make Ahead Notes: All above steps can be prepared the day before. Simply store roasted veggies in the fridge and croutons in an air-sealed container.
**Vegan Notes: Omit goat cheese.