Salad has a bad reputation. For the longest time, I accepted that salad was simply a necessary evil – the side of roughage you had to eat in order to get a second helping at dinner. It wasn’t until Sweetgreen that I realized I could crave a salad. Seriously, if you are new to salads and want to experiment, just copy any one of the salads from Sweetgreen and you are well on your way to enticing your whole family with your salad creations. 🥗😍
Sweetgreen also taught me that having a salad for a meal does not need to be an act of deprivation. In fact, a large salad with a handful of protein and healthy fats is closer to how humans should be eating than 99 percent of my meals.
I don’t think that is just wellness propaganda that I’m regurgitating, because I feel better when I eat that way. And when I follow a high-veggie plus protein diet for a few days, then eat sugar or carbs, my body shuts down. I get tired, nauseas, cranky, and I also get a headache. I’m 34 now, and just like alcohol, my body is not tolerating sugars and high-density carbs the way that it used to.
Thankfully, it is quite easy, at least where I live, to get an amazing salad on the go. But salads are also easy and inexpensive to make at home. This baked goat cheese salad, inspired by Alice Waters’s iconic salad by the same name, is incredible. I dress the greens with my favorite homemade soy vinaigrette, a knockoff from the house salad at my favorite restaurant, Le Fond. I also toast the leftover bread crumbs with garlic and toss those with the salad to add extra crunch. And I always thought goat cheese was overrated until I ate this dish. Do yourself a favor and make this salad for your next lunch. Just make sure, if you pack a lunch, to store all the components separately so everything stays crisp. 😉
Baked Goat Cheese Salad
2 1/2 inch slices of goat cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbs olive oil plus, plus 4 tbs for salad dressing
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 5 oz container of salad greens (spinach or arugula are my favorite)
Preheat oven to 375.
Using a shallow dish like a small plate, drizzle 2 tbs of olive oil over goat cheese. Turn the goat cheese to make sure it is completely coated with oil. Place panko bread crumbs in a small bowl. Coat goat cheese in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to coat completely. Place goat cheese on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
While the goat cheese bakes, mix the leftover bread crumbs and olive oil together, then toss with minced garlic. Set aside.
After ten minutes, flip the goat cheese and bake for five more minutes. Add bread crumbs to the baking dish spread out in a single layer and cook for five more minutes.
While toasting the bread crumbs, make the salad dressing by mixing the vinegar and soy sauce in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Slowely drizzle 4 tbs of olive oil into the bowl while whisking constantly until your salad dressing is completely incorporated, with the oil and vinegar mixture forming a smooth dressing. Add the salad greens to the bowl and toss.
When the bread crumbs and cheese are done, toss salad with bread crumbs. Serve with goat cheese.