Baked Goat Cheese Salad with Caramelized Onions, Strawberries & Pecans

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by Karen

in Salads

I was recently asked what my favorite go-to salad is and that’s a tough question to answer because I love so many… it kind of depends on what I’m in the mood for.

When I thought about it further I realized that when I volunteer to make a salad for a get-together, there’s one salad that is requested again and again … and it’s this one … so I decided to share the recipe with you.

What makes this salad so special?  Hmmm… it could be the bold-flavors, or the freshness, or maybe the ying and the yang of the strawberries and goat cheese! Or maybe it’s just that it looks so pretty and tastes so darn good!  Give it a try if you want to impress your family and friends!

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 chevre 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:

Step One:  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

Step Two:  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.

Step Three:  Meanwhile, prepare dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, Dijon and additional salt and pepper; set aside.

Step Four:  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.

Step Five:  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine arugula, strawberries and dressing.  Toss gently to cat and divide among serving plates.  Top with onions, pecans and cheese patties, dividing evenly.

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