roasted red onions and goats cheese salad

One of the main challenges I have with leftovers is procrastination. I might have the best intentions to use up something in my fridge or larder, but I am always tempted by something new. So I get all Scarlet O’Hara by putting it off for another day. Oftentimes I end up discarding something that I have cooked many times in my head in numerous variations.

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The other day when I was about to leave the house and thought what to have for dinner, I saw this packet of four red onions sitting on my kitchen counter. It had been there for weeks and I knew I had to do something about it. One was growing a green stem and another looked kind of saggy and sad. The latter I had to throw because the inside has turned all slimy and had traces of mould. The other ones were still good to use. I decided to make a simple salad of roast onions, goats cheese and balsamic vinegar. I have several bottles of good quality balsamic which were given to me over the years as gifts, so I am on a mission now to use them all up and eat more salad.

I was thinking of using walnuts and lambs lettuce for the salad and maybe parsley to scatter on top, but I wanted to keep the shopping list minimal. Pecans don’t have the bitter flavour of walnuts that I would have liked to have added here, but they were good enough for this salad. I also had hazelnuts, so that would have worked, too. Parsley wasn’t at hand, but I had some spring onions at home and thought that the green parts will be good for a garnish. After all the sharp taste of the red onions mellow in the roasting process. So the only thing I had to buy was goats cheese. I decided to get some soft goats cheese rounds, but the harder variety would have also been good. If you have Parmesan, that would also be a possibility.

I have to say, that I was thrilled that I was able to reduce my shopping and improvise with only a few things that I had at home. It was so much more fun to keep it simple, improvise and be creative with what I have rather than going on a shopping odyssey that clearly would have left me with another whole lot of leftover ingredients.

Here is what I used. Of course you can adjust the quantities depending on how much you have left at home. Red onions look more beautiful than white or brown onions, but if that’s all you have at home, don’t hesitate to try making this dish. It will be just fine.

  • 3 red onions, peeled and halved

  • 100 g soft goats cheese rounds

  • handful of pecans, roughly chopped (or use walnuts, hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds)

  • balsamic vinegar

  • olive oil

  • salt and pepper

  • spring onions, the green parts, thinly sliced at a diagonal (or substitute with parsley, thyme or chives)

Preheat the oven to 240 degrees C /fan: 230 degrees C (445 F/fan: 465 F). Layer the onion halves cutside up in a greased oven-proof dish and drizzle over some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes until caramelized and the edges are a slightly charred. When ready arrange the onion halves with the goats cheese on two plates, drizzle with about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar per plate. Drizzle with some more olive oil and scatter over the chopped pecans and garnish with the spring onion greens. Season with a little bit more salt and pepper and serve.