Arugula Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette, Brioche Croutons, and Hazelnuts

Arugula Salad
I will be the first to admit that I should likely ingest more leafy greens, unless arugula counts as a main source. I could easily down an entire package of it and still come back for more. In fact, at restaurants, more often than not, I end up choosing the dish with arugula in it, simply because I love it so much. I admittedly like my fair share of both sweet and salty foods, but I don’t frequently crave many things. Except arugula. And honey. And hazelnuts. At once.
Arugula Ingredients
Dan surprised me this week with a loaf of brioche so that we could try making fancy french toast for dinner (side note: breakfast for dinner might be one of the greatest inventions I have ever known). As you can see, though, french toast never happened. Instead, I sliced the loaf into hearty chunks, doused it in olive oil and seasoning, and toasted it to crouton perfection. Then, I began working on the makings of this salad, which, with exceptional diligence, I was able to perfect. Peppery arugula almost always begs for something tangy (like goat cheese) and something sweet (like honey). But for good measure, I figured it would be safe to also add lemon and toasted hazelnuts, just because.

Arugula Goat Cheese Salad, Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette, Brioche Croutons, and Hazelnuts
Serves 2

BRIOCHE CROUTONS:
2 large, half-inch thick slices brioche, cut into cubes or chunks
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
pinch garlic powder
desired amount of ground pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine brioche chunks with oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

LEMON-HONEY VINAIGRETTE:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp honey
juice of half a lemon
generous helping of sea salt and pepper

Whisk olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

ARUGULA SALAD:
3 cups fresh arugula
2-3 tbsp goat cheese crumbles
1/4 cup hazelnuts, crushed and toasted

Combine arugula, goat cheese, and toasted hazelnuts in a large bowl. Add croutons and lemon-honey vinaigrette and toss to incorporate.

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