This Is Not Your Typical Panzanella Salad—It’s a Punchy, Winterized Version

A recipe for winter panzanella salad, excerpted from the cookbook A Generous Meal by Christine Flynn

A classic panzanella salad is made with ripe tomatoes and stale bread, and this is by no means a classic version. This delicious winter panzanella has all the good stale bread energy you’re used to in a panzanella but also slightly charred and caramelized pumpkin and squash, tons of sage, and nutty hazelnuts. A hit of red wine vinegar and a little Hot Honey (recipe below) carry this panzanella over the finish line.

Winter Panzanella Salad

Serves 4 to 6


For the honey (makes 1 cup)

  • 1 cup (250 mL) pure liquid honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) white vinegar
  • 2 to 3 long red chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Aleppo pepper
  • Pinch of salt

For the salad

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
  • 1 delicata squash, halved, seeded, and sliced 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • 2 to 3 shallots, halved
  • ½ loaf stale bread, torn into bite-size chunks
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, stems removed and discarded and leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt, divided Pinch of ground red chilies
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Hot Honey
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) hazelnut oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) red wine vinegar 8 ounces (225 g) bocconcini cheese
  • ½ cup (125 mL) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped


For the honey

Hot honey is one of those things I can’t believe I ever lived without. It’s such an easy thing to put together, and it adds so much to any dish. Drizzle it over Baked Cheese (page 45) or Fried Cabbage with Halloumi and Jalapenos (page 151), or level up your takeout fried chicken (heck, it’s pretty great on a McNugget!), a buttered biscuit, or even a simple platter of roast veggies.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove the saucepan from the heat. Let cool to room temperature.

If you prefer a smooth hot honey, use a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the solids as you transfer the honey to a 16-ounce (500 mL) jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

If you use a clean spoon when dipping into the hot honey, it will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.

For the salad

Preheat the oven to 475°F (240°C). Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, place the pumpkin, squash, shallots, bread, sage, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the chilies. Toss to combine.

Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bread is slightly toasted and the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the hot honey. Stir briefly and set aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

In the same large bowl you used to combine the vegetables and bread, place the kale. Add the hazelnut oil, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Massage the ingredients until the kale is evenly coated.

Check to make sure the vegetable and bread mixture is not hot; it should be warm or room temperature before you add it or the kale will wilt. Add the roasted vegetable and bread mixture and half of the cheese and hazelnuts to the kale. Toss to combine. Top the salad with the remaining cheese and hazelnuts and a drizzle of hazelnut oil.

This salad keeps relatively well. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

A Generous Meal Hero

Excerpted from A Generous Meal by Christine Flynn. Copyright © 2023 Christine Flynn. Photographs by Suech and Beck. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Next: This Recipe for Spice Roasted Root Veggies Is Our New Favourite Winter Dish

Originally Published in Best Health Canada