Thursday, October 27, 2011

Arugula with Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

Arugula has really been growing on me lately. I just love combining the bitter leaves with  a tangy cheese like goat cheese, and a lemony vinaigrette. The combination is delicious. 
I’m not a big fan of walnuts unless they are chopped up finely in something sweet such as a cookie or muffin. However, I do love adding seeds, almonds, or pine nuts to salads.  I decided to buy some organic raw walnuts, cut them up a little, and toast them on the stove. In this salad, they were actually pretty good. Walnuts compliment goat cheese very nicely.
A little trivia for you: Walnuts are revered since ancient times as a symbol of intellectuality since they resemble a brain!
Besides walnuts being high in protein as all nuts are, they are also high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Regular intake of walnuts will help keep the cholesterol in check and the heart healthy. No matter how fit you are and how much you run, you can still develop heart problems as a result of not eating healthy.
The ingredients in this salad are approximate depending on your preferences. Please fee free to change it up however you’d like. 
1 bag of pre-washed arugula
1 small package of goat cheese, crumbled or cut up
a few tomatoes, chopped 
1 cup of green onions, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3/4 cup of raw walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup of vinaigrette or to taste, *recipe follows
In a small skillet, toast the walnuts on medium to high heat.  Be careful to not let them burn and remove them from the skillet once they are browned/toasted. Toss all of the above ingredients with the vinaigrette.
Lemony Vinaigrette
When it comes to vinaigrettes, the magic ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. Keeping this in mind will help you develop your own vinaigrette recipes. Also, the best way to test the vinaigrette is to dip of piece of lettuce in it. Once I get it the way I want it, I place it in a recycled jar and shake it up really well. It usually can stay in the fridge for about a week.
the juice of one lemon
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of champayne vinegar 
salt and pepper to taste

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