Sometimes (like, days ending in “y”), I get these inexplainable random food cravings that I just cannot ignore. If you’ve spent any time around me, ever, you know this to be true. I’m obsessed with food and I tend to hang out with people who are equally obsessed, thus enabling my habit. It’s problematic, for sure.
Take Saturday, for instance. I ran a 9 mile trail race (and didn’t do half bad for my first one), and in my mind, official race = excuse to eat anything I want. I give myself full permission to crave and eat something bad for me. While I was sitting outside in the freezing cold, waiting on the race to start, all I could think about (besides, “what the hell was I thinking signing up for this?”) was this plain, thin crust, olive oil & garlic base topped with a mountain of arugula, a squeeze of lemon juice, drizzle of olive oil & smothering of parmesan cheese. Arugula? Salad pizza? What’s wrong with me? Why wasn’t I craving a pizza drenched in cheesy goodness? I have no idea. Now, I was also looking forward to some icy cold SweetWaters in a frosty mug and a low-key celebratory pizza party at my house with my teammates, but I was most excited about my arugula pizza.
Yay, teammates! Sporty friends: you should join us. See, we have fun! And do pizza parties after races. I was so tired and hungry on Saturday night, though, I didn’t get any pictures of our pizza before destroying it. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
This means I had a whole bunch of leftover arugula in my fridge to get creative with last night for dinner. I had leftover pizza for lunch, and – shocker – I just didn’t want any more carbs for the day. I started scheming about what I’d make while I was in my last office hours, and I could barely wait to get home to create this salad, hopeful it would be amazing.
Y’all. This is an epic, delicious salad that you just HAVE to make sometime. If you’re not familiar with arugula, it’s a very dark green that has a peppery, crisp bite to it. Some people don’t prefer it, but I happen to love it. I found out that with the right combination of toppings, an arugula based salad has the potential to be the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, tangy and salty – like this salad was last night. I promise this one will fill you up and make you feel super healthy. It’s a perfect spring salad!
Arugula & Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese
Start out with about 2 cups of arugula. Rinse it well and rip into shreds (who has time for chopping lettuce when you’re starving? Not I.). (Oh, and if you don’t like arugula? Use any dark greens. Spinach would work, but it just won’t be as complex & flavorful, in my opinion.) While you’re preparing other ingredients, toast a tablespoon of pine nuts. How do you toast nuts? Place them in a nonstick pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (No pine nuts? Sad panda. They’re divine in this salad. But, you can use walnuts or almonds, or even sunflower seeds.) Go back to your salad and top it with orange or tangerine supremes. Since I have a 5 pound box of tangerines to get through this week, I used tangerines. They also tend to be a little sweeter than oranges, which I needed in this salad. Add some crumbled goat cheese. Mmm. Goat cheese. Then add about a tablespoon of craisins. Why? Because craisins make me happy. Little sweet, tart, chewy rubies of happiness and joy. Top with the toasted pine nuts. At this point, you’ll need to dress your salad. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the greens, then drizzle about a half tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with a good dash of kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper. Toss with your hands. If you’ve played your cards right, the leftover heat from the toasted pine nuts will slightly melt the goat cheese, making your dressing creamy. Mmm. Goat cheese. For the finishing touch, take some fresh parmigiano regianno (please, please use THIS, not this. Despite what the Kraft marketers are telling you, what comes in that little green plastic container is NOT the kind of parm you want on this salad) and with a sharp knife, slice off thin shavings on top of the finished salad.