Panzanella is the Italian version of using up old bread in a salad and it usually uses spring or summer vegetables. I wanted to reinvent the salad using autumn produce because, well, tis the season.
I made use of cauliflower, carrots, chickpeas, whole grain bead (I'm working on a whole grain refrigerator dough, so I had a loaf hanging around), parsley and scallions.
You could, of course, use whatever vegetables you have lurking in the back of your fridge and no one would be the wiser. That's part of the beauty of panzanella salads.
Roast the cauliflower, chickpeas and bread in the oven and then throw it all into a large bowl. Toss with Italian dressing and you are in the money.
The question then becomes, which Italian dressing is the best for this salad? Mine, of course! Kittee Berns of Cake Maker to the Stars (with the cutest blog *ever* and the best Ethiopian cookbook *ever*) is sharing my recipe from Aquafaba [Amazon, B&N, Book Depository]. Go get it! I promise, it is worth it!
6 tablespoons Italian Dressing (this one from Aquafaba is amazing!), divided
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 cups cubed bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
Sea salt and black pepper
4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
2 medium carrots, julienned
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped fine
1. Add 1 tablespoon dressing to a small bowl and toss with the chickpeas. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Transfer the beans to a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, stirring often.
2. Move the beans to a quarter of the baking sheet and add the bread cubes to half of the sheet. Add the cauliflower to the remaining section and season with salt and black pepper. Continue to bake the beans and bread for another 25 minutes, until the beans are lightly crunchy, the cauliflower is golden and tender and the bread is dried out.
3. Transfer the bread to a small bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and set aside for 5 minutes.
4. Add the lettuce, carrots, scallions, parsley, chickpeas, bread, cauliflower and the rest of the dressing to a large bowl. Toss well, season with salt and black pepper and serve.
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