February 21, 2010

Lentil and Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese

Sorry that it's been a while, but I have a lot of catching up to do on what I've been making. First off, is one of my new favorite salads.

I'm always looking for a new way to enjoy salads, because truthfully I most often prefer vegetables in another form. I've found that I like lentils and onion on salads because they bring a lot of flavor and extra texture to the salad without packing on too much additional fat and calories. I tried this combo on a previous version but I'm still experimenting on what I like.

So what's been missing? The right dressing. I've recently discovered that I would prefer a homemade vinaigrette over a bottled dressing, any day. In particular, Ive been taking some white balsamic vinegar and whisking it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Making it myself allows me to get the right level of tangy sweetness without being overpowering. In particular, some of the low fat dressings seem to rely too much on sweeteners to compensate for flavor, and end up turning me off of the salad altogether.

So - here's what's in the salad I've been loving lately:

  • Arugula
  • Goat cheese (or feta)
  • Toasted pine nuts (or sliced almonds)
  • Sauteed red onion
  • Steamed lentils (precooked from Trader Joe's)
  • White balsamic dressing

The goat cheese here was a little melted from the onions and pine nuts, which I had just taken from their respective pans on the stove, but it was still good!

I've also added chicken occasionally to make it an entree salad. Ben really like this salad, too so we've recreated it several times. I've tried using a regular spring mix of greens or spinach but looking back I think it was best with the arugula.

Please share any other salad recipes you have; I'm always looking for more!


  1. This sounds great - I've never tried white balsamic vinegar before - I'm guessing it's just more tart than the regular kind?
    Lately I've been using umeboshi vinegar for my salad dressings and sprinked over steam veggies. It's quite tart and definitely an acquired taste but mixed with a little bit of olive oil it's fantastic and it also has lots of supposed health benefits. :)

  2. Hi Julia! White balsamic vinegar is actually more mild and a little less sweet, which is probably why I like it.

    This umeboshi vinegar sounds interesting! I'm looking it up as we speak...

    PS I also just heard about a salad with spinach, blue cheese and blueberries - yum!

  3. This looks soooo good, we love white balsamic! I can't wait to try this.

  4. Ashley, this looks sooo yummy. I bought, like, 5 pounds of lettuce from the farmer's market this weekend and am looking for some good salad ideas. Done and done.

  5. Hey Ash,
    There is a really good salad that you would probably enjoy at a local microbrewery here. It has blue cheese crumbles, very thinly sliced roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, and a mild balsamic dressing. I can't really remember what type of greens this was served on, but something about the creamy, tangy, sweet, and salty combo is amazing!
    Your sis,

  6. Just added you to my blogroll. Hope you don't mind :)

  7. Hey! Um, of course I don't mind! I'm flattered :)

    And I just added you to mine too!

  8. Hey Ashley! Found you. What a cute blog this is. You're much healthier than I am, lol! This is pretty much my dream salad w/ the goat cheese, pine nuts and white balsamic. I like how the white balsamic doesn't dirty up the salad. I've never thought to add lentils to salad but what a good idea :)

  9. Hiii! I just discovered your site today and am sooo excited! I made your banana muffins with my 2 little girls this morning and they are heaven. And pretty guilt free! Nice one. Annyways, one of my fav salads is rocket ( I'm Australian, think you call it arugula), pieces of orange, roasted beetroot and goats cheese. The colours look gorgeous and it's super yum with the juicy oranges and earthy beetroot and divine goats cheese! Cheers, Bec.