Pear – goat cheese – walnut – avocado salad with croutons

Before I start, can I just say: I HATE boring salad. When I see people pretending to thoroughly enjoy their bowl of iceberg lettuce with tomatoes and no dressing, then it honestly makes me cringe. I think it’s stuff like that that’s making many people assume that a vegetarian diet has to be boring and sad. And yet I do believe that some of the most delicious and satisfying meals I’ve ever cooked were actually, well, salads.

I don’t want to sound big-headed, but I’m sort of always disappointed when I order a salad when eating out, because I always think I could have made it so much better myself at home. And it’s sooo easy too. Not sure why this whole salad-struggle is actually a real thing!

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So, please see this recipe as proof that salad can be exciting, and that it deserves a bit more love in everyone’s kitchen. Just to paint the picture a bit more: My boyfriend loves meat and usually needs something very ‘substantial’ to be happy with his meal – and he licked the plate after eating this. Enough said, let’s get cooking!

This recipe is vegetarian and can easily be made gluten-free.

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Serves 2 as a main or 4-5 as a starter

The essentials:

  • 1 small bag of mixed salad – I used spinach and beetroot leaves
  • ½ pear
  • 3-5 radishes
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, or 1/3 continental cucumber
  • A good handful of raw walnuts
  • Decent sized piece of goat cheese – I used firm goat cheese as I can’t have the soft variety at the moment but if you prefer soft cheese it will work just as well

 

You might have this at home:

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Mustard – I like wholegrain the best
  • 2 slices of bread – I used wholegrain toast but you could use sourdough etc.; use gf bread if desired
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Honey (or maple syrup or brown rice syrup)

 

Now here’s how to throw it all together:

  1. Chop ‘til you drop. Chop the pear, radishes, cucumber and goat cheese into as thin slices as you can manage. I actually think that the size does matter here a bit, as it will give you a better mix of ingredients with every bite.
  2. Roughly chop walnuts and avocado and throw everything you chopped into a big bowl together with the leaves.
  3. Heat a pan with olive oil on medium heat; be quite generous with the oil, otherwise the croutons will burn. Chop the bread into decent sized chunks – if you chop it too small, it will fall apart. Add to the pan.
  4. Flip the croutons regularly and cook until they are nice and brown. You might need to add a bit more oil after a while. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, add 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of honey (or other sweetener), 1 tsp mustard, salt and pepper to a little cup/bowl and mix well.
  6. Pour vinaigrette over salad and mix well. Serve salad on a plate or in a bowl and garnish with croutons.

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Too easy? I told you so.

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