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Leafy Green Salad with Lemon-Basil Goat Cheese

Ok…since you ask…If I were stranded on a desert island, what would I most want in the way of food? Salads! Well, of course.  They’re so versatile and wear so many hats, and in most cases, they’re still quite full of living foods. I like that about them! But even if you pleaded with me, I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite. You’ll see a lot of them appearing here. Naturally you can make all kinds of salads by instinct or whim, without any guidance at all, but every once in a while, we find ourselves in a rut, and at times like those we might even look for someone to just TELL us what to make. So here you go…make this…

(But only if you like the idea of creamy little rounds of goat cheese marinating in lemon zest, basil and olive oil.)

As part of last night’s dinner, we had lemon risotto. Lucky for me, there was a just enough left to put on a plate with a fresh green salad for lunch. I love days like these!

Leafy Green Salad with Lemon-Basil Goat Cheese

  • 6 to 8 ounces of your favorite goat cheese
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 to 8 cups arugula or mixed baby greens, washed and dried
  • 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves
  • optional: 1 baguette or loaf of country-style bread, sliced (to spread the cheese on)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 T. Balsamic vinegar
  • 5 to 6 T. olve oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Use either a mold or just your hands, and gently form the goat cheese into 4 disks of about 2-inch diameter (1/3 to 1/2-inch thick.) In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest, garlic, oil and a pinch of salt. Place the rounds of cheese on a plate, season with fresh ground pepper and evenly drizzle the mixture over them. Cover the plate and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the dressing: Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place arugula or greens in a bowl and add the desired amount of dressing. (Go light at first.) Divide the greens among the plates and top each with a little wheel of goat cheese, including the mixture it was marinating in. Sliver the basil with a sharp knife and sprinkle over the cheese. Place a couple slices of baguette on each plate if you choose.

When I’m looking for salad inspiration, I’ll often turn to a great little book, Raising the Salad Bar – Beyond Leafy Greens (Inventive Salads with Beans, Whole Grains, Pasta, Chicken and More.) You might want to check it out. The above recipe comes from this fine book by Catherine Walthers.

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(for printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.)

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