Roasted sausages, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, tossed with spinach, basil, and hearty chunks of croutons & goat cheese. This Roasted Panzanella Salad with Balsamic Honey Mustard Dressing is ridiculously tasty. Warm, comforting, healthy and delicious all at the same time, it’s almost too good to be true. Almost.
I have never turned down dessert. EVER. That might be an odd way to start off a post about a salad, but the fact is, whether it’s January or July, my sweet tooth is just as sharp and dessert is just as tempting. My abs don’t poke through my skin, and that’s okay. I’d rather die not wondering what that baked Alaska tastes like.
Having said that, you can’t subsist on dessert alone. I mean that would be ideal, but apparently life just doesn’t work that way. You still gotta get that 5+ a day fruit and veggies, so that you don’t feel too bad about that sweet tooth. It’s not like you can go to your dentist and have them take it out, after all.
On days like that, I love me some of this Roasted Panzanella Salad! I love panzanella in any form, especially the traditional version with nothing but juicy tomatoes, bread, onions and basil. Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad, starring tomatoes and chunks of soaked stale bread, that’s typically enjoyed in the summer. Except it’s January and it’s winter where I live now, so cold greens, cold cheese, cold veggies, cold dressing… it all seemed a little too frosty and unwelcoming. Solution? Roasted Panzanella Salad – hearty, healthy, packed with flavour, yet warm and cozy like anything that’s worth keeping. But if you’re the chill sort of fellow, don’t worry, you can have it cold too. Or at room temperature.
And the best part is that this is super easy to make. I deviated just a little from the traditional for this recipe and included roasted sausages (mainly for Mr K’s benefit), sweet potatoes, and roma tomatoes, tossed with spinach, basil, garlic and big chunks of croutons and little chunks of delicious goat cheese for richness. Topped with a drizzle of balsamic & honey mustard dressing. And a glass of homemade mango cordial. Does that sound irresistibly delicious? Well, it should. Because this tastes nothing short of phenomenal!
So get into your PJs, put on your favourite episode of Parks and Rec on Netflix, and sit back with a plateful of this roasted panzanella salad, because hearty, healthy and cozy don’t come much better than this and I bet even those Pawneeans would love this salad! 🙂
If you want to upgrade your croutons from the recipe below – You can check out this amazing Brown Butter Croutons recipe from Mid-life Croissant that will make this Panzanella Salad EVEN better!
- 28 oz / 800g sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 28 oz / 800g roma tomatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 4 - 8 pork or beef sausages (enough for 3 - 4 servings)
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Generous pinch of salt
- Black pepper to taste
- ½ loaf of bread, cut into 1 inch slices, and again into 1 inch pieces
- ¼ cup Parmesan, finely grated
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tbsp thyme leaves
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp stone ground mustard
- 2 tbsp balsamic Vinegar
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water (Optional)
- Salt to taste
- 20 basil leaves, chiffonade (cut into fine strips)
- Goat cheese crumbles
- 4 cups of spinach
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Toss the bread cubes, olive oil, pepper and parmesan cheese together and spread it out on a tray and roast in the oven until toasted on the outside - 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven). Remove from oven and set aside. Croutons should not be completely dry.
- Place all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Taste and season to your taste. Keep it in the fridge until required.
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Lightly oil or line a roasting pan. Place the cut sweet potatoes on the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle some salt, olive oil, black pepper and mix well.
- Place the tomatoes and chopped garlic in a bowl and drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and black pepper and toss to mix. Place the tomatoes on top of the sweet potatoes and place the pan in the preheated oven. Roast for about 40 minutes. Check halfway through to make sure the sweet potatoes and tomatoes aren't burnt.
- Take the roasting pan briefly out of the oven and place the sausages on top of the tomatoes. Return it to the oven and roast for another 20 - 30 minutes or until the sausages have browned on top.
- Remove the pan from the oven then remove the browned and cooked sausages.
- Add the croutons, spinach and basil to the roasted vegetables and toss to combine.
- Serve with cooked sausages, some goat cheese on top and a drizzle of balsamic dressing.
What I love about this recipe is that you can roast the sweet potatoes, tomatoes and sausages together in the same pan with garlic. Then toss it all together with the croutons that will soak up all the wonderful juices from the tomatoes, spinach, basil and then finally, that glorious balsamic dressing. You can make this ahead of time too, because it actually tastes even better after a while because it lets all those flavours mingle and the croutons to soak up all the juices. Which is why it’s important to dry out the bread in the oven (hence croutons) so that they don’t become soggy.
This is truly a restaurant-quality meal, bursting with flavour and made with basic ingredients. You can of course leave out the sausages, if you’d like to keep the dish vegetarian, there’s so much goodness in this dish regardless. When it’s cold outside and you’re still coming around from that end of year food coma, there’s nothing better than a roasted panzanella salad that’s healthy and satisfying at the same time. Seriously try this, your family will love you for it. 🙂
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