Over the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to add more vegetables to our diet and reduce the amount of meat that we eat. More often than not, my attempts at meatless meals are greeted with this question.
“So where is the meat?”
Except when I made this Seared Panela Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette. I’d been playing with Cacique’s Panela cheese and loved how simply searing it in a pan brought out a wonderful nuttiness and thought the cheese would be a terrific addition to a Spanish influenced salad I’d been thinking about trying. After tinkering a bit with flavors and ingredients, I finally had a meatless main dish salad that I thought my husband would like. When I asked my husband how he liked the salad he said “I don’t know yet – I am still enjoying the cheese!”
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 1 package Cacique® Panela Cheese
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups cherry or pear shaped tomatoes
- 12 oz. (8 cups) red leaf or baby romaine lettuce, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- large pinch salt
- large pinch freshly ground pepper
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut Cacique® Panela cheese into 1/2 inch slices and place on a paper towel and set aside.
- Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the stem and core. Slice the bell peppers into 1/2 inch wide strips and place on the rimmed baking sheet.
- Peel and cut the onion in half. Slice the onion into 1/2 inch wide slices and place on the rimmed baking sheet. Toss the vegetables with 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk the Dijon mustard and smoked paprika together in a small bowl. Whisk in the sherry vinegar and drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- After 15 minutes, add the tomatoes to the bell peppers and onions, stirring the vegetables together. Return the pan to the oven and roast for an additional 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender and browned.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Spray lightly with olive oil. Add the Cacique® Panela cheese slices and cook about 1 minute – until cheese is golden brown. Flip the cheese over and cook for another minute, until brown. Remove cheese from pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Place the salad greens in a large bowl. Add the bell pepper and onion mixture. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss. Divide the salad among 4 dinner plates. Top each with 2 or 3 pieces of Cacique® Panela cheese. Sprinkle with the chopped smoked almonds and serve!