Winter Rainbow Panzanella

panzanela

Dear colour. I miss you. Please come back soon.
Your pal,
Sarah B

I’ve joked before about the oh-so dark, single-toned, and super grey city Copenhagen becomes in the winter. After months upon months of this, I feel as if my eyes have turned into little slits, and only capable of seeing in black and white. Needing some kind of sign that I wasn’t turning into a subterranean mammal, I cycled down to the central market of Copenhagen last week to find some inspiration in the form of light and colour. I was pretty shocked when I arrived to see a plethora of vibrant veggies, all lined up and waiting for me take them home. I guess I’d gotten into such a routine with my shopping that I had failed to remember that winter does in fact offer a lot of brightly hued food, and that I am, undoubtedly, a human.

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Excited and hungry, I hurried home with a whack-load of produce and a plan brewing in my brain. Oh the colours! Oh the possibilities! Oh what a nerd I am! With some stale sourdough rye sitting on the counter and a knob of ginger in the fridge, a hearty, satisfying salad began to take shape in my mind, a rainbow swathe of vegetables stretched out before me like a beacon in a stubborn steel grey sky.

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Super Cool Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is a mysterious and intimidating vegetable, don’t you agree? I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this prehistoric looking creature, as many of you out there seem to be quite scared of even taking it home!

Well fear not. Kohlrabi is not going to take off a finger or worse if you approach it with a knife. It is a rather gentle and yielding brassica, a cross between a cabbage and a turnip that can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Its pleasantly crisp texture is perfect julienned in salads, but it’s also a tender treat roasted in the oven in slices or batons. The flavour is somewhere near to broccoli but a tad milder and sweeter. I really like it in soups as well, blended up with white beans or chickpeas. The leaves are also edible and very delicious in salad or stir-fried with garlic like collards or Swiss chard.

Key nutrients in kohlrabi include vitamin C, for fighting infection, vitamin E for preventing arterial plaque build-up, and a range of B-vitamins for combating stress. The potassium in kohlrabi helps the body maintain proper fluid balance, while the calcium manages the acid/alkaline balance of our blood. Other minerals in kohlrabi include iron, magnesium and zinc.

When buying kohlrabi, look for bulbs that are firm, smooth and free of holes or cracks. Typically this part of the vegetable is pale green, but you can also find purple varieties like the one pictured above. The younger ones can be eaten with the skin on, but as their season (late fall to early spring) stretches, you’ll find peeling the more mature bulbs is a tastier choice. The leaves should be taut and unblemished. To prolong the kohlrabi’s shelf life, remove the leaves and wrap them in a damp towel, place them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up four days. The root bulb can be stored separately in the crisper as well, and will keep well for couple weeks.

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To the panzanella! Traditionally, this is a salad made with stale white bread and tomatoes, a popular dish in Tuscany. My version is a far, Nordic cry from the classic, but it’s a meal in itself and a very satisfying one at that, since there is just so. much. going. on.

The key to building this dish, or any dish for that matter is layers and balance; flavours, textures and of course, colours. Taking into consideration that the base of this dish would be hearty winter greens I knew that I needed something creamy and yielding, like roast veggies, and something dense and crusty, like the Garlic Sourdough Rye Bread Croutons to contrast and compliment. From a flavour perspective, especially in salads, balancing tastes is very important for success. Because the roast vegetables are so sweet, it’s important to have an acidic hit to add brightness. I made some very tasty Ginger-Pickled Carrots in advance, but capers would also be a nice touch if you are pressed for time. The point is to step back and look at your dish as a whole, then adjust all the levels of salt, sugar, and acid as needed tipping the scales until everything is just right.

And just a special note about these croutons, because they are so darn delish. I first came up with these in the good ol’ days when I was cooking at a very small café here in Copenhagen, inventing new dishes every day and being creative with what I had available. The odd time we had any leftover rye bread, I would make these garlic croutons, few of which actually made it onto any finished dishes because I would typically eat them all up before service with my kitchen mates. They are addictive. The kind of thing you wouldn’t necessarily think of as a terrific little snack, but wow, are they ever hard to stop eating! There is a high amount of garlic-to-bread ratio, but because Danish rye is so rich and flavourful, you’ll need that amount of garlic to be heard. If you’re using a lighter bread, a spelt loaf for instance, you can scale back just a touch unless you really love your garlic and/or not planning on making out with anyone for a couple days.

This dish may seem component-heavy, but most of these elements can be made in advance so the whole thing comes together when you’re ready. The only thing you need to do before serving in fact, is massaging the kale and kohlrabi leaves.

Now excuse me as I dive face first into this bowl of rainbow ecstasy! Okay, good-byyyyyyeeee!

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*   *   *   *   *   *

Hey guys! I have some very exciting news…I’m going on tour with my cookbook! Although we are still working out some of the hard details, I wanted to let you know when and where I’ll be so you can make a note of it. It would be so rad to meet you, and I hope that you can come out and celebrate! I will update this page and post the events on my Events page and Facebook as they are finalized. Looking forward to it, more than you know!

My New Roots - Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every SeasonTORONTO
April 9 – 14

VANCOUVER
April 15 – 17

LOS ANGELES
April 18 – 20

NEW YORK
April 22 + 23

I hope that everyone who has pre-ordered the book is enjoying the Bonus Pack of recipes! Thanks for all of your very positive feedback so far. There is still time to get yours if you’re interested…click here!

98 comments

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  3. Elena Shetty

    I love your dish so much. Colorful just like its name: Winter rainbow panzanella. I’m having so much fun reading your blog my dear. Can’t wait for new post!

  4. Felicity

    Thank you for yet another super delicious and healthy meal. It has already become a family favourite, even with the 6 and 3 year old! Love your work, thank you!!!!

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  6. Anna

    This is delicious! Oh my. I am not usually a salad fan but the combination of flavors, temps, and textures was out of this world. It also made a perfect happy desk lunch for my work week! YUM

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  9. Rachael

    Bloody hell, this looks amazing. My mouth is watering. I’ve just written a grocery list & I’m going to make this for dinner tonight. Thank you – love your site!

    Rachael
    xo
    (Brisbane)

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  11. Leo Sigh

    Thanks for the recipe. Will definitely be trying it. I’m in Bangkok, where most veggies are available all year round, so we get the ‘colors’ all the time.

  12. Robyn

    Made this salad for dinner tonight here in Providence, RI. Added some lime to the dressing and it felt like summer might come, “winter” salad or no. It was delicious and so satisfying. Thanks so much for the recipe and the photographic inspiration!

  13. Brittney

    This looks so colorful and refreshing. I think the butternut squash would be a great addition to this salad. The texture and flavor of it would really make the rest of the ingredients stand out. I am going to try this salad at my next gathering.

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  15. Anja

    This looks gorgeous! I found a purple sweet potato in the store the other day and it got me really excited. Now I understand why. It’s the lack of colour in the environment (I live in Sweden) that creates the need for colourful and exotic food.

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  17. AndreaG

    This was a wonderful combination of flavours and textures. I was surprised by how good Brussels sprouts are roasted. Previously they would only ever appear on my Xmas dinner plate but will be using them more often now.

  18. Emily

    Hi Sarah,
    This winter feels so long in Montréal; thank you for posting a salad I feel excited about that still makes use of wintry produce. I think I’ll make this tomorrow!

  19. chicinboots

    This winter salad looks A-freaking-mazing. Just perfect since spring is peeping around the corner! I just pre-ordered your book because (don’t laugh) I found your website from a pin on your Chlorella Dream Cream. When I saw that I was like HOKIE. CHICKENS. Seriously? This woman is some kind of genius, or food crazy! Went on a MNR binge and then had to have the book. The preorder pack of recipes is great! I never ever preorder books, so this was a first- but I know its gonna be good because your blog is so full of creativity and passion. MNR has inspired me to think outside the box, especially when it comes to food and cooking. Keep it up, maybe I’ll make it to one of your tour stops.

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  22. joanne

    I discovered your blog through my daughter – who’s 19 and seriously into your food!
    I spent all yesterday afternoon reading your recipes (after Wales beat Italy and Ireland beat Scotland – who watches England win Rugby when you’re Welsh??) and this morning pre-ordered your book!
    Thank you for the downloads – I’m on the hunt for spirulina straight after posting this :)

  23. Angela

    I am a first timer to your blog, on recommendation of the author of Sprouted Kitchen blog. I made this recipe tonight for my husband and another couple…it was wonderful! Thank you!

  24. Stephanie

    I adore your blog, and I just preordered your book! I am so excited to receive it in the mail in April. This salad is beautiful, and perfectly timed: I just found a market bursting with produce!
    xo

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  26. Besma

    Hi Sarah,

    What a great looking dish – and I love the part about the kohlrabi, I recently bought some but then didn’t know what to do with it! The deep colour of it really does cheer up a plateful of food.

    Besma (Curiously Conscious)

  27. Kristy @ She Eats

    Oh Sarah! I always find panzanella salads – while a little labour intensive to put all the elements together – are so worth it. Delicious, colourful, simple, amazing with a glass (or 6) of good wine. This dish is really so inspiring. Pinning for later :)

    PS. I just picked up the most beautiful Easter egg radishes from the market. Bring on the warm weather. Happy first day of Spring to you!!

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  29. Jules

    I write the weekly recipes for an organic CSA farm near us and, when researching recipes for kohlrabi, came upon it as being describes as Humpty Dumpty stuck in a hedge! I LOVED that and always have that image in my mind when I see this lovely vegetable.

  30. Sarah

    Sarah – this was just the punch of flavour and colour my family needed after yet another snowstorm on the East Coast of Canada. I didn’t make the overnight pickles, but the dish was incredible with the roasted veg, kale and bread croutons – and the mustard sauce. Loved watching my kids devour this!! I am trying to plan a trip to TO while you are there to come to an event or book signing! So glad there are Canadian dates.

  31. Teffy

    Oh my god this looks absolutely amazing!!! This has definitely got to be one of the best looking salads I’ve seen.

    Perfect timing, as I actually just passed kohlrabi yesterday in the shop, looked at it, and decided next time to grab some to try and make at home! Actually I don’t think I’ve ever tried panzanella, so it’ll be something new!

  32. Annie

    I made this and really enjoyed it!!! I was too impatient for the overnight pickled carrots, so I went ahead and made the pickles without including any water and let them sit on the counter while assembling all of the other ingredients. By the time I was putting the whole salad together, the carrots were tasting pretty pickled. I did purple sweet potatoes, which were really tasty with the kale. I did end up wishing I had more of the greens and less root vegetables, so I’ll have to adjust the ratios next time…

  33. Holly

    Looks amazing! I’m so excited to get your book! Have been looking forward to it for months. Hope you’ll be doing some events in London or Amsterdam soon!!

  34. Sonja

    It always makes my day when you post a new recipe. Love your writing, love the food you make, love your website and going to love your cookbook. Today, however, I was more excited to see that you will be coming to Vancouver. I have already written it on all my calendars and can hardly wait… Now I have to figure out just what veggies I will roast and what bread to use for the croutons.

  35. lynsey | lynseylovesfood

    Oh this looks like the right hit of colour – TO is pretty grey today too, so this was just the little hit of light my eyeballs needed. Congrats on the book tour and that you get to come home! Toronto will be amp’d to see you!! xo

  36. Lisa Schmitz

    Congratulations on your book and tour! I have pre-ordered the book and am hopeful that it will arrive soon!! I am in OH.

  37. Laurie Lawson

    Sarah, I had no idea that Copenhagen got so grey in the winter (and, as you’re likely aware, similar to Vancouver and Seattle in that way – trade off in some cases to being very close to ocean/sea?). I saw a show on Oprah a few years back – perhaps you saw it? – where their cameras toured Copenhagen, talking to people on the street – maybe you? – because it is said that the citizens of Denmark/Copenhagen are the happiest folks on Earth! How great that you live there, grey sky and all! (I read about the concept of “hygge” – the strong social connections and wonderful FOOD at gatherings that help everyone’s mood during the dreary winters).

    After watching that Oprah segment, I admit that I found myself wishing I had been born in Denmark. That’s how wonderful I found that way of life depicted through Oprah. One thing we saw, that would never happen anywhere else on the planet, were mothers leaving their babies lined up outside a cafe or shop in their strollers while moms were inside, not worried about their babes. Hence, crime would be very low on the list there, too. Awesome/beautiful/lucky ducks!

    Of course, Canada isn’t terrible, but we don’t trust people we don’t know, and we could definitely care about and treat each other better. Some do, but not nearly enough do, and your country’s example shows that it can be done, and everyone is happier for it. Some day I will visit there for vacation, and may “forget” to leave after two weeks, lol!! Eventually, I’ll be found working on the docks or a small fishing boat, and be all “No, sir, please! . . . I cannot go back to THAT country — I’m, err, flogged every day, and besides, I do NOT enjoy that hockey! Pleeaase, sirrr” . . . A gurrl can dream, no?

    Perhaps your happiness as a citizen of Copenhagen is what we see shining through in your meals and your writing – all part of the hygge concept/tradition, which you, in turn, are sharing with the world. I bet your cookbook is beautiful – the cover certainly is!

    Have a terrific time on your book tour, Miss Sarah! Hopefully, you will meet tons of great, interesting people (MAYBE you see fellow foodie + health junkie, Gwyneth Paltrow in L.A.? She’s like, uncoupled, so maybe she could show you ’round a bit?), and maybe the tour won’t even feel like work . . . plus, here’s hoping you will find excellent “three squares” in each of the places you’re touring. I’m sure you can have the waiter/chef make some meals in a manner that is up to par with your awesome, healthy diet. Be all, “do you know who I AM?” (Plus, you needn’t worry about that in L.A. – all those actresses have to keep their “instruments” in tip top shape for auditions, and in order to work, and I hear they have ridiculously healthy restaurants – not just a few entrees!) How weird will that be not to cook for almost a month? Should be great for about the first week or two, eh?

  38. Louise

    Sarah I’m still waiting to hear if it’s possible to pre-order the book in Australia and get the bonus’s? Does it have to be preordered from the specific websites you list or are smaller/independent websites ok? Sooooooooo excited to get your book in my hands….Can’t wait. Thanks for all that you do. xxx

    • Sarah Ch

      Hi, I’m a Melbourne resident and was able to get the bonus recipes with no problems, both Booktopia and Readings take preorders of the book online.
      All you need is the order number to enter into the website to get emailed a pdf of the extra recipes.

    • Jane

      hi there I am from Melbourne too and preordered the book through Amazon (UK, so paying exorbitant postage sadly) and got the bonus recipes no problem.

      Thanks Sarah for another beautiful dish. Love you heaps.

  39. Jodi

    Gorgeous, Sara! This salad has me drooling all over my computer this morning. I love a good panzanella, and those croutons! My husband + I will be doing a 4 month bike trip through scandinavia this summer, and boy oh boy I can not wait to fuel up on all the danish rye breads! Congratulations again on all your success + the release of your book, can’t wait to get my hands on it and wishing I was back home in Canada for your tour! Have fun! x

  40. Hilary

    So simple but so beautiful – I can just imagine the joy that would accompany this dish!

    Please consider Australia (especially Melbourne!!) on your next tour!!

  41. Elina

    Couldn’t agree more with the comments above!!!
    One question that’s been on my mind for a long time….: if you cook kohlrabi or other veggies with vitamin c, how to treat them without losing to much of it???

    Thanks for your time and great recipes

  42. kelley

    you are my favorite food blogger. but really, I follow a big bunch of food bloggers, and so many of them have beautiful, interesting recipes, and there are close seconds to yours. but yours is my favorite because your recipes are not only interesting and beautiful, but wholesome, generally simple (which is a huge determiner for whether or not I will actually make a recipe), and genuine. you are not pretentious. you write like a friend wanting to spread your delicious and nutritious fare out of love. thankful for your work.

  43. Olivia

    Woohoo! I can’t wait to meet you, Sarah! You’re a bona fide celebrity now; I actually feel kind of nervous!

  44. Cassandra Jones

    Hello Sarah,

    Congrats on the new book! Mine is preordered and I anxiously await the arrival. I am a New Yorker and would love to support your event. Where can we find event details?

    Very kindly,
    Cassandra

    • Tom @ Raise Your Garden

      Chicago? How about Buffalo, NY. We are finally above the negative 35 degree wind chill! I love the idea of biking around Copenhagen and stumbling upon some fresh and colorful veggies. Roasted veggies are the best, it’s the only way I get some of them down. I’m new to artichokes and leeks and might throw those in this. My wife gets really upset because I won’t eat Brussel Spouts any way she makes this, but I actually might eat them in this. You never know!!

      Congrats on the tour of your cookbook. Sound fun and adventurous. And as my 5 year old is always saying to me “You gotta live your life”

  45. victoria

    Ah, and when are you coming to New Zealand? We need your genius here – and you will be blown away with the foodie goodies already swinging! Come soon. And stay – we have a bed and a dog called Dishcloth who will clean up behind you!
    Victoria

  46. Rose Jimenez

    Oh, WOW! You’ve done it again. Yummylicious dish. Have to try this.
    You are a Food Goddess! Thank you so much for all your work and lovely recipes. Keep up the excellent work, my dear. I think of you always, since I’m living off your Life Changing Loaf of Bread! xo

  47. janna

    Hope not to sound like a huge groupie but LA. here I come! Please let me know if you will be teaching any cooking classes or anything else while your in LA so I can plan my trip accordingly. “I look forward to it” xx. Janna

  48. lynda

    What about Montreal?????
    I’m always watching for pictures of your little one.
    I show my daughter how beautiful these vegan babies are!

  49. Helen

    That’s funny – I just skyped with a friend of mine (he’s from the U.S.) while eating kohlrabi & carrots and he hadn’t heard of kohlrabi before! As a child, my father used to cook kohlrabi with bechamel sauce for me all the time :)

  50. Jeannette jespersen

    Hi Sarah…I love your blog and recipe suggestions. It is exciting indeed that you are coming to Canada. May I suggest that you incorporate “Chapters Indigo” and “Amazon.ca” into your distribution network. The distributors you have listed are American and that makes it more difficult for we Canadians to access it. Where will you be presenting in Toronto?
    Have a good tour!

  51. Rebeca

    This looks SO good. I got a ton of veggies today and I have some rye bread waiting to be used up – this is it! Happening tomorrow. Oh, and thank you too for the reminder about the pre-order! I managed to forget about it after seeing it on Facebook. Gonna do that now.

  52. Jo | The Nectar Cafe

    Geez this looks and sounds gorgeous! I love Panzanella, and mine are a far cry from the original too but really, veggies + loads of dressing + croutons = pure awesomness in a bowl. Genius. I’ll be making your version for sure along with some of the salt and pepper cookies from my new bonus recipes.. woo hoo! I really hope that you make it to the UK at some point too! Big love and happy touring Sarah! xxx

  53. catherine

    Oh Sarah B!!! I love your writing always, and your photos always, and your sense of humor, always! You are so completely inspiring and funny and knowledegable and inventive. And you NEVER just “phone it in”. You are one of the main reasons me and my BF just subscribed to our local CSA, “Farm Fresh to You”, in California, which we just love. I’ve been addicted to your blog for 3 years now. Keep it up Sarah B!!!!!! can’t wait to make my own crazy version of this panzanella!! ;))

    • catherine

      and omg you are coming to Los Angeles!!! Hope to come meet you and thank you in person. Keep us posted on the location etc!!

  54. Lana

    This is such a visually beautiful meal, and I bet it tastes amazing too. I loooove mustard vinaigrettes.

    I am so happy to see a Toronto book tour date! Although, I would give up living in Toronto anyday for Copenhagen, even if it is black and white during the winter.

  55. Maike

    Once again, Sarah, you amaze me. This salad sounds like true magic. I dearly love the combination of kale and roasted veggies but the sourdough croutons and the pickled carrots in combination with it sounds incredible! Thanks again for inspiration and I am so excited for you and your booktour! I loooove the bonus pack and have already demolished a batch of the Salt’n’Pepper Cookies, they’re outstanding! Lots of love

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