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Dig into this comforting winter salad loaded with escarole, pomegranate, French goat cheese and warm lentils, that will refresh you, but also keep things cozy.
After an incredibly indulgent couple of weeks with back-to-back holiday celebrations, festive outings and everything that comes along with it, we were antsy to make a winter salad that would feel comforting but light. No small feat when it’s chilly and all you want to do is curl up with a bowl of pasta.
We partnered with Goat Cheeses of France to dive deep into the vast world of goat cheese for this dish, and it wasn’t difficult to find meal inspiration once we nailed down the star of the meal, a popular French favorite, the very creamy and flavorful goat cheese Chèvre D’or. So-called “fancy” cheese is something we usually save for gatherings with friends or when I’m putting together an elaborate cheese board, but we wanted to showcase how to use something that’s usually reserved for a special occasion into a simple but elevated everyday meal. Literally translated to “Golden Goat Cheese” it is small, but mighty in its flavor profile. The creaminess was balanced by a nutty and earthy flavor that was perfect when we paired it with french lentils, pomegranate seeds and escarole. Creating a salad like this looks much more complex than it is, with the longest time commitment being the cooking of the lentils. Perfect for a night in when you’re trying to up your greens between holiday gatherings, without sacrificing the need for comfort food.
- 1 cup dried french lentils, rinsed
- 12 oz fresh escarole, chopped
- ½ wedge Chèvre d'or cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed
- 1 tbs honey lemon vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 tbs champagne vinegar
- ½ tbs honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a small, non reactive bowl combine lemon juice, champagne vinegar and honey. Whisk until honey is fully incorporated.
- Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking to combine until dressing emulsifies.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a large saucepan, combine lentils and 2 cups water. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are cooked and barely tender. When fully cooked, drain and return to pot. Season with salt, cover and set aside to keep warm.
- In a sauté pan over medium high heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil until shimmering. When oil is heated, add escarole and season with salt and pepper. Cook, taking care to stir constantly until greens wilt. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
- When escarole is tender, combine with lentils and season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary.
- To serve, plate escarole and lentil mixture in center of dish. Top with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle crushed hazelnuts and drizzle with honey lemon vinaigrette.