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balsamic butternut kale and cranberry Panzanella

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Traditionally, panzenella is a Tuscan, summertime salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers and home made croutons.  A lovely way to use up stale, left over bread.  But the other day we had an interesting salad at a local cafe.  The Kale salad, had roasted pumpkin and Greek halumi cheese, all coated with a creamy mustard dressing.
And that was the inspiration for this kale and roast pumpkin salad….a recipe that shares key ingredients with the salad we ate at the cafe.  www.Cookieandkate.com is a vegetarian food blog with interesting, and easy to make salads…..and the Kale and roast butternut is a twist on traditional panzenella and we think its a winner.

SALAD INGREDIENTS
1/2 butternut pumpin, peeled and cubed
1 bunch Kale, remove ribs and chop into bit size pieces
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cranberries
2 or 3 shallots chopped
1/3 loaf of crusty multigrain sourdough, cubed (stale is ok)
5 tablespoons of seeds (I used pepitas and sunflower)

DRESSING INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup olive oil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Roasted butternut, tender throughout and caramelised on the outside 

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees and  line 2 trays with baking paper
  • Toss cubed butternut in olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a prepared  tray
  • Roast butternut for about 40 minutes, then allow to cool.
  • Place cubes of bread, seeds and pinch of salt in a little olive oil in a bowl and toss, then spread onto a prepared tray and roast for about 12 minutes.  (I put the croutons in the oven once the butternut had been roasting for about 25 minutes.  That way I can remove both trays from the hot oven at the same time).
  • Next, whisk the dressing ingredients together and put aside
  • While the butternut and croutons are cooling, Sprinkle a little pinch of salt onto the chopped Kale and massage for about 30 seconds till the leaves a darker in colour.  This sounds really silly, but gently squeezing handfuls of the kale, ensures the leaves are not tough to eat.
  • Now the last thing to do is assemble the salad.  Just add cheese, cranberries and shallots to the bowl of kale and mix the dressing through.  Finally add the butternut and croutons and gently mix.  
  • It’s recommended to let the salad sit for about 10 minutes before serving……but it was really difficult to keep my boys away…..I think the smells of roasting pumpkin and seeds was just too alluring.

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