Baby Arugula, Pumpkin Seed, and Aged Manchego Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

I used this salad recently as the first course in a dinner for two I enjoyed with my girl friend. It is a very simple but elegant salad and made a wonderful first course for a Spanish inspired meal using fall squashes.

The key to this salad is using great ingredients. What you will need is some baby arugula, one lime, roasted pumpkin seeds, a handful of cilantro, black pepper, honey, and an ounce or so of a good aged Manchego. (The aged Manchego I found had a great nutty flavor reminiscent of a good Parmesan).

I prepared my vinaigrette in a separate bowl prior to tossing it with my salad. it was inspired by more traditional South American dressings of lime juice and black pepper. To prepare the vinaigrette I whisked together the juice of one lime, about a quarter of a teaspoon of honey, and black pepper.

In a mixing bowl I assembled my salad with the baby arugula, and roasted pumpkin seeds, and roughly chopped cliantro. I used a potato peeler to shave the aged Manchego into the salad (I suspect Parmesan would work as well but I wanted to keep with the Spanish theme). I used my hands to toss the salad well with the vinaigrette just before serving.

Note: Julienned red onions make a great addition to this salad.

Note: This salad was the first course of a three course meal. I followed it with my spicy Butternut Squash Bisque, and Butternut Squash Enchiladas.

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