A warm panzanella salad recipe featuring fall and winter flavors like roasted butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms, whole-grain farro and cannellini beans tossed together with a fragrant vegan basil pesto and day old bread.
Add the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and nutritional yeast to to bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Adjust seasoning to your taste and If you need to stretch the same add a little splash of water or more lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat your oven to 400”F.
In a large mixing bowl toss together the butternut squash cubes with a drizzle of olive oil, a good pinch of sea salt and red pepper flakes. Spread them out on a large parchment paper lined baking dish without touching each other. Roast for about 45 minutes until softened and they start to caramelize at the edges.
Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with a good pinch of sea salt the add the farro. Simmer for about 20 minutes until al dente, a little bit chewy. Strain in a colander and rinse well with water. Set aside.
Meanwhile warm up a large skillet over medium flame. Add the diced onion with a pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil or about 1 tablespoon of water. Toss to coat well and sautéed for a few minutes until translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and hit it with the white wine. Add the fresh thyme and allow to simmer until the mushrooms have wilted and the liquid has reduced almost completely. Taste and adjust seasonings with some sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
In a large mixing bowl add 3/4 of the pesto sauce, cooked farro, cannellini beans, the cooked shiitake mushrooms, red onion and about 3/4 of the roasted squash (reserve some for garnish If you like). Slice or tear the bread into bite size pieces and using a spatula gently fold everything together to combine well.
Taste and adjust seasonings again then transfer to a serving platter. Top with the reserved squash and drizzle the remaining pesto on top.
Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, herbs and cranberries and serve warm.
If preparing this in advance make sure to keep all the ingredients separate until ready to toss together and serve. Also remember to warm up the squash, farro, beans and mushrooms before mixing.