The end of tomato season is bittersweet. Sure, we are saying goodbye to the sunny foods of summer, but we are also saying hello to the warming, heartier foods we crave in cooler months.
After the annual ritual of putting the summer clothes away, we ease into wearing bulky sweaters and boots, and eating steaming stews and hearty salads.
To ease the goodbye to tomatoes fresh off the vine, try this cool weather panzanella. Roasted Butternut Squash Panzanella is slightly irreverent, but completely delicious in its own right.
Those few extra slices of bread at the end of the loaf are inevitable. As long as there has been bread, there have been thrifty cooks making use of it in salads, soups and casseroles.
In a classic tomato panzanella, the bread is soaked with the combination of tomato juices and vinaigrette. In this winter-squash version, the bread will soak up the squash-infused oil from roasting in the oven, as well as a lemony vinaigrette.
As a whole-grain advocate, I urge you to use a 100% whole-grain bread for your panzanella. It will have more flavor and hold its shape longer in the tangy liquids. I use a multigrain loaf and make sure that the first ingredient is whole-wheat flour, because so many multigrain loaves are actually only white bread with a few chunky grains thrown in.
Many grocery stores now sell pre-cut squash cubes, so if you are short on time, that is an option. To break down a butternut squash, start by slicing off the stem. It will be easier to handle if you cut it in half, dividing the thick neck of the squash from the bulbous part.
Then you can use a peeler to strip the skin from each. Slice the peeled squash in half lengthwise, and scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
Then slice the flesh in long, 1-inch-wide planks and cut those into 1-inch-wide strips that you will cut into cubes. Roast the squash until tender, and make sure to scrape the flavorful oil from the pan into the salad.
I use arugula for the salad because it’s available all winter and adds a deep, nutty flavor.
With salads like this, we won’t miss summer at all.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of “Big Vegan” and “Plant-Based Meats.” Find her at robinasbell.com.