Spring is in the air! The weather has been treating us well in Portland, with less rain and more of that much needed sunshine, and the excitement of summer produce and festivities is making my heart so full it could burst. In celebration of the warmer weather, I made this baked goat cheese and arugula salad with strawberries and pecans the other night. Although it took a little over an hour to put together, the salad was so refreshing and light, yet still filling and absolutely delicious. I typically test my cooking skills by how much hot sauce Nick uses, and he hardly used any on this dish! Score!
I served it with a side of pearled barley seasoned with thyme. Whole grain barley is a high-fiber, high-protein whole grain that boasts quite a list of health benefits. Pearled barley, unfortunately, has been through a process that removed its hull and nutritious bran layer. Barley groats are hulled but still have that bran layer. Pearled barley is the most commonly used form of barley and is easily added to soups or cooked on its own as a rice substitute. Some of barley’s health benefits include the following:
- Barley is has a low glycemic index (measures how foods that containing carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels)
- Good source of soluble fiber, which is effective at lowering cholesterol and is beneficial at slowing the absorption of sugar
- Barley is also a good source of insoluble fiber, which may be beneficial in helping the body to maintain regular bowel function
- Naturally cholesterol free and low in fat
- Barley contains Vitamin B3, Vitamin B1, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper.
- Barley also contains antioxidants and phytochemicals, which studies have indicated may decrease the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
I had some pearled barley in my pantry from a soup I made a while ago, so I decided to use it as our grain with the salad. Cooking it with thyme and onions made a tasty, yet mild, side to the flavor packed salad. We had quite a bit of barley left over and used it the next day with black beans, lime, cilantro and avocado to make a power bowl.
Pearled Barley Recipe
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup pearled barley
- 1 small onion
- Thyme (2 sprigs fresh or dried)
- 3 cups water
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the pearled barley and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the barley is lightly browned.
- Add the onion and thyme and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened.
- Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed and the grain is tender.
- Fluff the barley with a fork. If you used fresh thyme, remove the sprigs and serve.
Baked Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad Recipe
Original Recipe from Clean Eating Magazine.
- Olive Oil (in a spray bottle would be best or you can use cooking spray)
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 egg whites
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons chopped raw unsalted pecans
- Baby arugula
- Fresh Strawberries
- To caramelize the onions, lightly spray a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add the sliced onions and stir frequently for about 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, sticky and light caramel color (about 1 hour). Remove the skillet from heat and let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.
2. While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg whites and set aside. In a separate medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper. Using your hands, press the goat cheese into 4 balls and then flatten each into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Dip the patties in egg, turning to coat completely. Next, dip each patty into the panko mixture. Repeat the process twice with each patty. Transfer patties to a small plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and stick in the freezer for 20 minutes.
3. Line a medium baking sheet with foil and mist with olive oil. Arrange the cheese patties in a single layer and mist the tops with olive oil. Bake for 6 minutes, flip the patties and bake for another 6 minutes, until golden.
4. Turn the oven heat off, add the pecans to the baking sheet and leave in the oven for an additional 3 minutes.
5. For the dressing, whisk the lemon juice, dijon mustard, and some salt and pepper.
Plate the arugula with sliced strawberries, caramelized onions, pecans, dressing and two patties per person. And…devour 🙂