Arugula w/ Caramelized Onions + Walnuts

salad

We enjoyed this hearty salad for dinner tonight!  It was soooooo tasty!  There’s a little bit of prep involved, but the best part is that you can do all of it in advance! I worked on the onions, croutons & nuts late this morning so we could have it for dinner at 6pm. It was my first time making caramelized onions and it definitely won’t be my last. You will be delighted at how easy each step of this salad is!

Let’s talk about the taste! Oh boy! The sweetness of the onions & candied walnuts pairs nicely with the tangy goat cheese and the peppery arugula. The croutons were pretty darn good, and I don’t really need to get into how much I love croutons.  It’s just obscene and we will leave it at that.  Look at that glazed walnut teasing my fork. Sexy huh?

This recipe makes a lot of salad.  Now that you have all of your prep done, you can easily make something else with the candied walnuts or caramelized onions!  I plan on making more salad tomorrow night with the leftovers and will add some roasted beets to the mix!  I am unfortunately out of croutons… Can you guess why?  By the way, those onions would be great on a burger!

So this is what you are going to work on:

ingredients party!

Let’s get started!

Melt some butter and brown sugar in a pan with water.

water butter brown sugar

After a minute of boiling, stir in the nuts.

the magic happens here

Spread them out on foil and let them dry a bit.

glazey

Cut up bread, toss with olive oil and spread out the bread on a baking sheet. Bake. Croutons! Done!

making croutons

Now slice up the red onions! I used a mandoline. It is equally terrifying and amazing!  Watch those digits!

mandoline

Toss them into an oiled/heated pan and cook for 18 minutes.

18 mins away

At the very end, add some balsamic vinegar. I used a reduced vinegar so it was extra gooey!

balsamic enters the picture

All that and now you have this little bowl of wonder!!! Fancy huh?

carmelized onions

Crumble some goat cheese with a fork. Set aside.

crumbling feta

Make your dressing.  It’s just olive oil and balsamic. Easy peasy!

dressing

Take all of your ingredients and toss it in a huge bowl. Add the dressing.

tossing

Tada!  Look what you have! A wonderful salad.  Your mouth will thank you.

dinner

Arugula Salad w/ Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese & Candied Walnuts

(recipe Bon Bon Appétit)

Caramelized onions:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used a reduction)

Candied walnuts:

  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut halves

Croutons:

  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes crustless country bread (I left the crust on mine!)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 5-ounce packages baby arugula
  • 2 5-ounce packages soft goat cheese, broken into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled

For caramelized onions:
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions. Sauté until golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with vinegar; stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

For candied walnuts:
Combine first 4 ingredients in another heavy large skillet. Bring to boil, whisking. Boil 1 minute. Add walnuts; stir. Toss until syrup forms glaze on nuts, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuts to sheet of foil and quickly separate nuts with forks. Cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

For croutons:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Drizzle with oil, tossing constantly to coat evenly. Scatter cubes in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake croutons until crisp, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand on sheet at room temperature.

For salad:
Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Place arugula in very large bowl. Drop in onions, tossing to distribute evenly. Add nuts, croutons, and goat cheese. Toss with enough dressing to coat lightly.

**this recipe says you can do everything 2 hours in advance. 7 hours in advance was just fine here!***

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14 Comments

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  • March 13, 2010

    I love every single one of those ingredients, right down to the arugula. Whenever I make croutons, I always make extra thinking I will use them to top a soup or something, and then I proceed to eat just about all of them in one day.

    • March 14, 2010

      yes! i think you would TOTALLY love this one Dana. Right up your alley! I bet your clients would love it too! We should watch a movie one night and have a bowl of croutons between the two of us! xo

  • March 13, 2010

    i am a crouton whore as well. i make my own, and proceed to eat them allllllllll. love. them.

    • March 14, 2010

      hehehe!! the worst part is that they are sooo simple to make. God i love them…

  • April 19, 2010

    Hi !! I first wanted to say that I love your blog! My friend came across it and passed it along. I have a list going of at least 10 recipes that I want to make :)

    I made this salad over the weekend for a dinner party I hosted, but used spinach instead because the market didn’t have arugula. It was so good! I also used your pesto recipe and made a pesto with roasted tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus and whole wheat linguine pasta. It was a huge hit! I promise to credit your blog when I make a post to mine :)
    Thanks for the recipes and keep them coming!

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