Baked Goat Cheese Salad

Impress your guests with Jo’s bold-flavored, restaurant-style salad. The caramelized onions and strawberries add sweetness and depth to the tangy goat cheese and sharp citrusy dressing.
Baked Goat Cheese Salad

Photo: Maya Visnyei

By Joanne Lusted

Serves: 4
Hands-on time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

 INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 oz chèvre or spreadable goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp chopped raw unsalted pecans
  • 12 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups thinly sliced strawberries

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Caramelize onions: Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high and lightly mist with cooking spray. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. (NOTE: Skillet will be quite full to start, but onions shrink as they cook.) Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, sticky and light caramel in color, about 1 hour. Remove from heat, transfer to a large plate and let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, combine panko, thyme, salt and pepper. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat egg whites; set aside. With your hands, gently press goat cheese into 4 1-oz balls and flatten each into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Dip patties in egg, turning to coat, then gently press both sides into panko mixture; repeat process to coat each patty twice. Transfer to a small tray, cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare dressing: In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, Dijon and additional salt and pepper; set aside.
  4. Line a medium baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray. Arrange cheese patties in a single layer on 1 half of sheet and mist tops with cooking spray. Bake for 6 minutes. Flip patties and bake for 6 more minutes, until golden. Turn oven heat off and remove sheet from oven. Add pecans to remaining half of sheet. Return to oven until pecans are warm, about 3 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine arugula, strawberries and dressing. Toss gently to coat and divide among serving plates. Top with onions, pecans and cheese patties, dividing evenly.

Nutrients per serving (3 cups arugula-onion mixture and 1 cheese patty): Calories: 252, Total Fat: 11 g, Sat. Fat: 5 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Omega-3s: 210 mg, Omega-6s: 1,460 mg, Carbs: 27 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 9 g, Protein: 14 g, Sodium: 284 mg, Cholesterol: 13 mg

Nutritional Bonus: Goat cheese is naturally lower in fat than many other cheeses, such as full-fat cheddar, and makes this salad satisfying and elegant. It contains 6 grams of fat per 1-ounce serving while cheddar contains 9 grams. Goat cheese also has less saturated fat than cheddar with 4 grams compared to 6 grams.

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