Baked Goat Cheese Summer Salad

It has been so hot this week and I hate it. I absolutely loathe heat, I admit it. I am not a summer person. I like Fall/Winter and wearing chunky cable-knit sweaters and drinking tea from my gigantic Anthropologie mug collection. 

But I digress. Tonight I changed my plans at the last minute and whipped up this fresh little summer salad. I used all "Clean Eating" ingredients, nothing processed or refined. 

What you'll need:

  • Olive oil 
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs 
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 4 egg whites 
  • 4 oz spreadable goat cheese 
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard 
  • 3 tbsp chopped raw unsalted pecans 
  • 12 cups baby arugula 
  • 2 cups thinly sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, combine panko, thyme, salt and pepper. 

In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat egg whites; set aside.

With your hands, gently press goat cheese into 4 1-oz balls and flatten each into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Dip patties in egg, turning to coat, then gently press both sides into panko mixture; repeat process to coat each patty twice. Transfer to a small tray, cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.

Line a medium baking sheet with foil and brush with olive oil. Arrange cheese patties in a single layer on 1 half of sheet and lightly brush the tops with olive oil. Bake for 6 minutes. Flip patties and bake for 6 more minutes, until golden.

Turn oven heat off and remove sheet from oven. Add pecans to remaining half of sheet. Return to oven until pecans are warm, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine arugula, strawberries and dressing. Toss gently to coat and divide among serving plates. Top with pecans and cheese patties.

A nice, clean, delicious summer salad!
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