Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Have you ever seen any of the “Eat This, Not That” books?  I love those books.  They really shed a lot of light on what’s in the food you will find on the shelves of your grocery store.  Some of it is very scary.  Very scary indeed.  The authors, Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, have done tons of research into food additives and ingredients and really spell it all out.  They also offer healthier alternatives to what you may be used to purchasing.  I’m all for healthy alternatives.  If it’s possible to cut out fat, sugar, and other scary things and still enjoy food, that sounds like a win-win situation to me.  One other area they cover is what to get when you go out to eat in your favorite chain restaurant.  You’d be surprised just how bad for you many of those dishes are!  But, everyone goes out to eat every now and then and, armed with knowledge, you can make smarter choices.  Your heart, waistline, and loved ones will thank you!

One of their other books is “Cook This, Not That.”  LOVE this book.  There are some really awesome recipes in there that are much healthier than if you were to get similar at a restaurant.  And, often, they’re more delicious and they don’t leave you feeling like you need to unbutton your pants, take heartburn medicine, or be rolled out to the car.  Oy.  Who hasn’t felt THAT way before?  Don’t get me wrong – sometimes it’s worth it!

Anyway, found this recipe in my “Cook This, Not That” cookbook and I’ve been just dying to try it.  Warm Goat Cheese Salad.  Oh my.  Warm goat cheese croutons, crisp pear, toasted walnuts…..this is healthy?!  Sign me up!  I personally skipped the Balsamic Vinaigrette – not because I don’t like it but because I topped my salad with some leftover blackened chicken that I had.  Didn’t think the balsamic and the spicy blackening seasoning would be friends.  🙂 Of course, you could add some slice grilled chicken or salmon or even steak and that would be a fantastic protein addition. Enjoy!

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Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1 log (4oz) fresh goat cheese
1 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1 tsp dried thyme or Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup walnuts
16 cups mixed greens or arugula (6-oz bag)
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 pear, peeled, cored, and sliced

1.  Slice the goat cheese into four 1/2-inch disks (a piece of unflavored dental floss makes this job easy). If the cheese crumbles, use your hands to form it back into disks. Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate and toss with the thyme and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

2.  Dip the goat cheese into the egg, then into the crumb mixture and turn to coat evenly.  Place the disks on a plate and into the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.

3.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the goat cheese on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese is soft and the crumbs are toasted.  Remove.  While the oven is still hot, toast the walnuts for 5 minutes.

4.  Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette and pear.  Divide among 4 cold plates.  Top with the walnuts and the goat cheese.

Calories 370; Fat 22g (6g saturated); Sodium 660mg

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

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