Roasted Veggie Salad {Panzanella}

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Roasted Veggie Salad (or fall panzanella salad) is full of homemade Italian croutons, roasted squash, sweet potatoes and red onions. It’s drizzled with your choice of an irresistible lemon-honey vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette.

This salad is hearty enough to stand on its own or pair with one of these comforting soups: zuppa toscana soup, broccoli cheddar soup, or this creamy vegetable soup

Overhead image of Roasted Veggie Salad in a giant bowl, ready to be served

This panzanella salad is one of my all-time favorites, so I thought I’d put a fall spin on it and add all kinds of delicious roasted veggies. With homemade croutons (that are unbelievably good) and the best lemon dressing, this salad is the ultimate fall recipe.

What’s more, this salad is very easy to customize; you can add your favorite root veggies (think carrots, potatoes and parsnips), switch up the dressing (a good balsamic dressing would be delish!), and even swap the spinach for kale. All good things going on here!

Let’s start by talking about how to roast the veggies for this salad.

Overhead image of the veggies in Roasted Veggie Salad on a sheet pan, ready to be roasted.

How to roast the veggies

It’s no secret we’re obsessed with roasted vegetables at my home. Over the years, I’ve shared lots of roasted veggie recipes (these roasted sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and roasted broccoli are all reader favorites!) Today, we’re combining three veggies that roast beautifully together: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and red onion. And here are a few quick roasting tips:

  • Use a LARGE sheet pan. The more space the veggies have, the better they’ll roast. When vegetables are overlapping on a sheet pan, they end up steaming instead of roasting. This makes them soggy rather than deliciously caramelized. I recommend using this 15×21 inch sheet pan  for Roasted Veggie Salad. I also recommend using a dark sheet pan.
  • Cut the veggies into even sizes. The more evenly they’re cut, the more evenly they’ll roast. We want a small dice on the squash and sweet potatoes so they’ll roast quicker and be more pleasant to eat in this roasted veggie salad. Slice the red onion thinly (1/4 inch thick).
  • Make sure to flip the veggies throughout the roasting time to ensure even cooking and caramelization. 
  • Don’t forget the importance of seasoning. If the veggies taste bland or unexciting, it’s often a simple fix: add some more salt and/or pepper. It’s amazing what these unassuming seasonings can do for roasted vegetables.

Overhead image of the homemade croutons being made that will go on this Roasted Veggie Salad.

 

How to make croutons

  • Start by ripping the bread into small-ish pieces. Bite-sized is perfect!
  • Drizzle those ripped bread pieces with olive oil, seasonings and butter. Gently toss so each piece of bread is well coated.
  • And then, it’s ready to bake. For firm but not overly crunchy croutons, allow 15 minutes. For crunchy and hard croutons, keep ’em in for 20 minutes.
  • Once the croutons finish baking, the veggies go in the oven; this gives the croutons some time to cool down and continue to crisp up a bit.

Overhead images of the roasted butternut squash and onions before being baked; fresh out of the oven image.

Lemon-honey vinaigrette

After this sweet potato quinoa salad was such a smash hit, I knew I had to pair a lemon dressing with this sweet potato salad. The dressing needed a few tweaks to complement all the flavors in the salad, and after those tweaks, I’m happy to report it’s the perfect dressing. The good news is that it couldn’t be easier to make! Simply combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake to combine.

If you’re not a fan of lemon dressing, or just want to switch things up, a great alternative is to use a balsamic dressing. Here’s my favorite balsamic dressing: 

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the vinaigrette, add all the ingredients together in a mason jar. Add salt and pepper to taste; I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but add to your preference. Shake the dressing right before pouring over the salad.

Image of the lemon-honey vinaigrette being poured on Roasted Veggie Salad.

Roasted Veggie Salad tips

  • The optimal ratio for a perfect panzanella salad is 1/3 bread and 2/3 other good stuff! 
  • You can use whatever bread you have as long as it’s not a crustless bread (and no brioche or challah). Roasted Veggie Salad tastes best with bread that has a crunchy exterior and soft interior. We generally use French bread.
  • The best panzanella is made by tearing (not cutting) the bread into small chunks. That way, the dressing can soak into all the uneven edges of the bread. 

Up-close image of Roasted Veggie Salad, dressed and ready to be served.

How to make Roasted Veggie Salad ahead of time

If you’re planning on making this salad ahead of time (or maybe, it’s part of your Thanksgiving menu) I have a few tips for prepping ahead of time.

  • The dressing can be made 2-3 days in advance. Simply store in the mason jar in the fridge. When ready to dress, give the dressing a few good shakes and it’s ready to add. If the dressing hardens or separates, don’t worry; that’s normal. Let it stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes and then give it a good shake.
  • The croutons can be made ahead of time; up to one day in advance. Just make sure to store them in an airtight bag or container until ready to add to the salad.
  • The veggies can be made in advance, but they will soften a bit. If you want them to be crisp, I recommend cutting them all up and storing them in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to two days in advance. Bake the pre-chopped veggies fresh and add to the salad.

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Roasted Veggie Salad

5 from 2 votes
The best ever Roasted Veggie Salad (or fall panzanella salad) is filled with homemade Italian croutons, roasted squash, sweet potatoes, and red onions. It's drizzled with an irresistible lemon-honey vinaigrette.
Print Recipe

Roasted Veggie Salad

5 from 2 votes
The best ever Roasted Veggie Salad (or fall panzanella salad) is filled with homemade Italian croutons, roasted squash, sweet potatoes, and red onions. It's drizzled with an irresistible lemon-honey vinaigrette.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword fall panzanella salad, roasted veggie salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 294kcal
Cost $6.50

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 cups (~1 large sweet potato) peeled and diced sweet potato
  • 2 cups (~1/2 of 1 squash) peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 2 cups (~1 large) thinly sliced red onion
  • fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 ounces baby spinach

Croutons

  • 1/2 loaf day-old French bread
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons mined garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Dressing (this lemon one or see the notes for a balsamic dressing)

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: Italian seasoning, minced garlic

Instructions

  • ROASTED VEGGIES: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prep all the veggies: peel sweet potatoes and squash; cut into a small dice. Remove outer peel and thinly slice the red onion. Add all the prepped veggies to a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Toss to combine. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden and crisp-tender. Flip once, halfway through the baking time. Remove veggies from oven, let cool slightly and then adjust salt and pepper as needed. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  • CROUTONS: While the veggies are cooking, tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. Transfer bread to a bowl and add the olive oil, butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper). Using your hands, gently toss the croutons until well coated. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes (at 350 degrees F) until they are golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly .
  • DRESSING: Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I use 1/2 teaspoon of each). Shake to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve. (You may not use all the dressing; add to personal preference. Leftover dressing lasts up to 5 days in the fridge.)
  • ASSEMBLY: Add spinach to a large bowl. Toss in the roasted veggies and croutons. Toss with vinaigrette and enjoy immediately. Do not dress more salad than you'll use; this salad doesn't sit well with dressing and is best enjoyed right after dressed. To use leftovers, dress separately and store all ingredients separately.

Video

Recipe Notes

Balsamic Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For the vinaigrette, add all the ingredients together in a mason jar. Add salt and pepper to taste; I use 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but add to your preference. Shake the dressing well right before pouring over the salad.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6servings | Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.9g | Protein: 2.5g | Fat: 24.9g | Cholesterol: 15.3mg | Sodium: 86.6mg | Fiber: 2.8g | Sugar: 9.9g

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