Seared Feta Salad with Beets, Hazelnuts & Oregano Vinaigrette

Seared Feta Salad with Beets, Hazelnuts & Oregano Vinaigrette
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TOTAL TIME :30minutes
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts (sub pecans, almonds or walnuts or 1/3 cup seeds)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 approx 15 oz block feta cheese, sliced in half (or 2 7-8 oz blocks)
  • 1/4 cup panko or rice 'bread' crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots (I prefer the 'unsulphured' ones) (sub dried cherries or cranberries)
  • 8 oz store-bought roasted beets
  • 4 ounces organic arugula (sub baby spinach or mixed greens)
  • 1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice. (2-4 lemons depending on size)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon mild/mellow white miso paste (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-4 drops food-grade oregano essential oil (optional but good for immunity)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and add hazelnuts to a baking sheet. Roast for 12 minutes, or until slightly darkened in color and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. Crack and whisk egg into one shallow bowl. Whisk bread crumbs, red pepper flakes and onion powder in another shallow bowl.
  3. Pat feta blocks dry, then dip each first in the egg, then in breadcrumb mixture. Place on a few folded paper towels (don’t discard).
  4. Heat a small (around 6”) skillet to medium-high head and add avocado oil. Turn on exhaust. When oil is shimmer and ‘popping’ slightly, add breaded feta pieces side by side.* Allow to sear 5-7 minutes, until golden-brown around the edges. Flip and sear another 3-4 minutes, then carefully place feta back on paper towels.
  5. *It’s KEY that you allow the pan to get hot enough so you get a good sizzle sound, if you want coloration; you can test with a small piece of feta. // While feta is searing, chop dried apricots and dice beets into ¾” pieces. Roughly chop cooled hazelnuts.
  6. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender, except essential oil if using, and puree until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, mince garlic and just whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Dice seared feta into approx 1 ½” chunks.
  7. Assemble Salad: Place all ingredients except dressing in a large salad bowl and toss to incorporate. Now you can add servings to each plate dry, then dress each one. Or if you’re planning to use all the salad at once, dress the whole salad to taste, then serve each plate. On each plate, assemble a few handfuls of arugula, then top with goodies for a prettier display. Drizzle with dressing to taste.
  8. Leftover salad, undressed and tightly sealed, will keep in the fridge up to 4 days.
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