Hearty and warm, but surprisingly light, Butternut Squash Panzanella is a perfect salad for the fall. Toss cozy autumn elements like roasted butternut squash, warm chunks of La Brea Sourdough Loaf and toasted pecans with fresh fall produce like crisp kale, piquant red onion, and tangy pomegranate seeds. Dress it all up with a homemade maple vinaigrette for a holiday dinner-worthy vegan side dish.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and salt. Arrange on the parchment lined baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Transfer to the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.
Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a second baking sheet.
When the timer goes off, remove the butternut squash, flip or stir the pieces, then return to the oven. Add the sourdough cubes to the oven on a separate rack. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
When the timer goes off, remove the bread cubes from the oven; they should be lightly golden brown and completely dry. Check the butternut squash - it should be tender and lightly caramelized; if not, return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Make the vinaigrette. Whisk the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and mustard in a 1-cup measuring cup. Add the olive oil in a steady stream and whisk until emulsified.
Combine the kale and red onion in a large salad bowl with half the vinaigrette. Toss until evenly coated, then set aside to macerate for 10 minutes.
Add the pomegranates, pecans, roasted squash, and toasted sourdough to the kale, as well as the remaining vinaigrette. Toss until well combined. Serve warm or room temperature.