Arugula, Chickpea, Walnut, Fig, Goat Cheese Salad

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This gorgeous and flavorful salad is packed with nutrition!

Arugula is a low-calorie, nutrient dense leafy green. A full cup of arugula contains just five calories, contains vitamin A which helps maintain eye health, and it provides 21.7 milligrams of brain-boosting, bone-building vitamin K. Vitamin C and several of the B vitamins can also be found in arugula, giving it even more nutritional benefits. Arugula is also high in antioxidant phytochemicals that boost health.

Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are an excellent source of prebiotics that feed the “good” probiotics in your gut, keeping them alive and thriving. Chickpeas are a powerful source of protein, vitamins and minerals, which is why they are often included in many vegan, vegetarian and Mediterranean diet meals. One cup chickpeas contain 269 calories, 45 grams healthy carbohydrates, 14.5 grams protein, only 4.2 grams fat and a whopping 12.5 grams fiber

Figs are rich in polyphenols. (A micronutrient that contain health-promoting properties found in plant foods. Plant polyphenols are rich in antioxidants, which help decrease oxidative stress). And figs are high in fiber. Just a half-cup of dried figs packs in more than 7 grams of dietary fiber. Here is a recipe for a delicious sauce made with figs.

Goat Cheese is a hypoallergenic alternative for those allergic to cheese made from cow’s milk. Goat cheese is a low-fat alternative to regular cheese. Has lower sodium levels than other types of cheese.

Walnuts are rich in antioxidants. Super plant source of omega-3s. May decrease inflammation. Promotes a healthy gut. May reduce risk of some cancers. Supports weight control. May help manage type 2 diabetes and lower your risk. May help lower blood pressure.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, both of which are thought to protective cardiovascular health partly because of its well-documented anti-inflammatory properties.

Arugula, Chickpea, Walnut, Fig, Goat Cheese Salad

There is plenty of protein in this salad to make it a hearty meatless main and interesting enough to dress up a simple grilled fish or chicken entrée.

Toasted Spiced Walnuts (Make extra spiced walnuts and add to dishes such as this one)

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, lightly chopped
  • 1 tablespoons canola or avocado oil (not extra virgin because it has a lower smoke point)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt

Salad

  • 5 ounces fresh arugula, lightly chopped
  • 1 (15-oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, quartered
  • 1 medium carrot, shaved
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup) (Put in freezer for 5 minutes, using a fork, pull the cheese apart into crumbles.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss together walnuts, oil, cayenne, and salt on a small baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Check on them every couple minutes to make sure they do not burn. Remove from oven, and set aside.

Whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

In a large salad bowl, place arugula, chickpeas, figs, and carrot. Top with dressing and toss to evenly coat vegetables. To serve, divide salad on each of 4 bowls; top with goat cheese and walnuts.

 

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