I didn’t even know I could love a salad like I do a soft pretzel panzanella!
Yes. Hot pretzels in our salad. This might just be the best day ever!
Remember a few weeks ago when I shared my favorite autumn beers and a hot pretzel bar?
This is what you do when you have lots of soft pretzels left over! Use them as bread chunks to make a panzanella salad.
With a mustard vinaigrette of course!
And apples. Some brussels. Then bacon. And caramelized onions.
Basically a bunch of my favorite fall things, throw together in a “salad.”
Ridiculous flavor bomb, right here.
What I like to do with all the components is cook them in one skillet. Do the bacon first, then caramelize the onions, then finish with the brussels. While that is all happening you can make your dressing and chop your apples. It’s a little high-maintence because onions take a while to caramelize, but you can always throw a touch of honey or maple syrup in there to speed things up.
The great part about this salad, however, is that it can be composed of leftovers! You could have leftover brussels or bacon and use them as the base with your pretzels, The onions cook quickly with the added sugar and while the entire depth of flavor may not be there, this could still be on your table in 20ish minutes if you’re using leftovers.
I LOVE that.
So yes, October is looking AMAZING so far. If we can eat a soft pretzel salad, everyone wins.
Hot Pretzel Panzanella with Mustard Vinaigrette
This soft pretzel panzanella with mustard vinaigrette is the best flavor combination for a fall salad there is! Crispy bacon, brussels sprouts, caramelized onion and chopped apple comes together to make for a satisfying delicious autumn salad.
- 2 to 3 cups leftover soft pretzels
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 sweet onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, stems removed and chopped
- 1 cup chopped honeycrisp apple
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
It’s up to you if you want to toast your soft pretzels! With some soft pretzels, it can make them super hard. You want the pretzels to be almost crouton like, but you don’t want them to break your teeth. And the idea with a panzanella is that you let the bread cubes soak up the dressing.
If you wish to toast your pretzel cubes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil on and toast, tossing once or twice, for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely before making the salad.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is crispy and all the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain excess grease.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from the skillet and add the onion. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to toss. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the onion begins to caramelize. This can take 30 to 40 minutes, but if you’re in a rush, you can speed up the process by adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar, honey or maple syrup. I like my onions to be super dark and caramely and delicious! Stir in the garlic about 5 minutes before finishing the onions. Once the onions are finished, transfer them to a bowl.
Add 1 more tablespoon of the bacon grease back to the skillet and add the brussels sprouts. Add another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until they become golden and slightly charred in spots, about 6 to 8 minutes. Everything should be ready to go at this point!
To assemble the salad, place the pretzel croutons in a large bowl. Drizzle about three quarters of the dressing on the cubes, tossing well. Let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients – your brussels sprouts, apples, caramelized onions and bacon and toss well. Drizzle on the remaining dressing if you wish. Taste and season additionally if needed!
Serve immediately and go to heaven.
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. This dressing stays great in the fridge in a sealed container for about a week.
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Big pumpkin beer on the side please!