Roasted Strawberry Panzanella Salad with Honey Mustard Croutons

Roasted strawberries replace the traditional tomato and get paired with honey mustard croutons, asparagus, and lemon vinaigrette in this awesome strawberry panzanella salad perfect for spring

Spring is such a beautiful and inspiring time of year here in Michigan. The increase in daylight seems directly proportional to the surge in beautiful produce that starts piling up on the shelves at our grocer. This week we were blessed to find gorgeous, juicy organic strawberries and couldn’t be more pleased.

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When in comes to strawberries, my husband, Jay, is a purist. He only eats them raw, straight from the container. I like to experiment with them and try them in everything from oatmeal to sliced and on top of a bagel. Last year I tried roasting them for the first time and I cannot even tell you how good they were. The sugars in the berries do all sorts of wonderful things in the oven transforming them into such a sweet, decadent treat you wouldn’t believe me if I said there was no added sugar. Just natural strawberries enhanced by intense heat.

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I thought I’d try roasting them again this year and use them in place of tomatoes in a panzenella salad. If you’re favorite part of any salad is the crouton, then panzanella is for you. I make my croutons with day old sourdough, cover them with a honey mustard dressing, then pop them in the oven until they’re nice and crispy.

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A bed of frizzy baby arugula makes a nice base for my toppings. To the croutons and strawberries, I add salty goat cheese and blanched asparagus. I also roasted some chicken to serve with this salad since I’m making this a complete meal, but you could omit the chicken and serve this salad as a side dish and it would be just as amazing. A light lemon vinaigrette brings everything together and when those croutons begin to soak up the dressing, it’s magic.

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I find that my social calendar also starts to fill out in the spring with parties and events. This salad makes such an easy and beautiful dish to pass at any event and I absolutely plan on bringing it with me to a couple upcoming parties. There are a lot of components to this salad, but the croutons, strawberries, and chicken roast at the same time. While everything is in the oven, the asparagus can be blanched and the salad assembly can start.

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Have a favorite spring salad? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Roasted Strawberry Panzanella Salad with Honey Mustard Croutons

For the Salad

  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • 6 Cups Arugula
  • 2 Cooked Chicken Breasts (Optional, instructions below)
  • 10-12 Roasted Strawberries (Instructions below)
  • Honey Mustard Croutons (Instructions below)
  • 4 Oz. Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Lemon Vinaigrette (Instructions below)

Fill a large bowl with cold water and a handful of ice and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the asparagus. Allow the asparagus to cook for 2-3 minutes then drain and add to the large bowl to stop the cooking process. Assemble the salad by layering the arugula, asparagus, chicken (if using), strawberries, croutons, and goat cheese. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss a few minutes before serving to allow the croutons to soak up the dressing.

For the Chicken (Optional)

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Spread one tablespoon of whole grain mustard on each chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet and let cook for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160. Remove and allow to cool before slicing.

For the Strawberries

  • 10-12 Fresh Strawberries, tops removed and halved
  • Juice from half of a lemon

Preheat the oven to 425. Halve the strawberries and spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet. Squeeze the lemon over the berries and toss to coat. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the strawberries have wilted and start to caramelize.

For the Croutons

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tsp White White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Cups Bread Cubes (I used day old sourdough)

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, mustard, honey, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Quickly toss the bread in the dressing and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toss in the oven with the strawberries at 425 for about 10 minutes. Check on these every couple minutes and give them a stir with a spoon. The honey in these can cause these to burn quickly, so keep an eye on them. When they’re crispy and a little toasty on the outside, they’re done.

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Juice From 1 1/2 Lemons
  • 3 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil

Add all the ingredients to a jar and shake or whisk together in a large bowl.