Thanksgiving Panzanella Salad with Delicata Squash from "The First Mess Cookbook" by Laura Wright

Thanks to Anick from Le Verger de Hudson, we discovered this new, amazing vegan cookbook by Laura Wright, full of great recipes for the fall, and particularly for Thanksgiving! Check out her holiday recipes on her blog here, or pass by the studio and get your own hard copy of The First Mess Cookbook, now on sale in our boutique.



  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) balsamic vinegar

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced or grated with a Microplane grater

  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (50 mL + 15 mL) virgin olive oil


  • 1 standard delicata squash

  • 2 to 3 shallots, peeled

  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons (15 mL + 10 mL) virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced fresh rosemary (about 3 sprigs)

  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) minced fresh thyme leaves (about 4 sprigs)

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 4 cups (1 L) cubed whole-grain sourdough bread (stable bread is preferable)

  • 2 cups (500 mL) sliced lacinato kale

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) pomegranate seeds

  • 2 stalks celery, thinkly sliced

  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) leaves from the heart of a celery bunch OR flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. MAKE THE DRESSING: In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and olive oil. Set aside.

  3. MAKE THE SALAD: Cut the delicata squash down the middle lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Cut the squash halves into 1/4-inch (5 mm) slices, and then transfer those slices to one of the parchment-lined baking sheets.

  4. Cut the shallots into 1/2-inch (1 cm) wedges), trying to preserve the root end for intact pieces. Place them on the baking sheet with the delicata squash.

  5. Right on the baking sheet, toss the squash and shallots with the 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil and the minced rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Once the vegetables are evenly coated, slide the baking sheet into the oven. Roast the squash and shallots for approximately 45 minutes, stirring and flipping the vegetables a couple of times, or until all pieces are golden brown and soft. Let the vegetables cool completely.

  6. While the vegetables are roasting, transfer the bread cubes to the other parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss the bread cubes with the remaining 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of olive oil and the salt and pepper. Once the bread is evenly coated, slide the baking sheet into the oven. Bake the bread pieces, stirring and flipping a couple of times, until evenly golden brown on all sides, about 12 to 14 minutes.

  7. In a large serving bowl, combine the cooled roasted squash and shallots, the toasted bread pieces, and the sliced kale, pomegranate seeds, and chopped celery. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss evenly to combine. Let the salad sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving, so that some of the dressing can permeate the crisp pieces of bread. Roughly chop the celery leaves to garnish the top of the salad. Serve immediately.