Like something you might find in a small bistro, this strawberry goat cheese salad is light, sweet, and beautiful. Fresh plump strawberries sit on top of a bed of arugula and are sprinkled with candied walnuts and sharp goat cheese.
Finished with a balsamic vinaigrette, this is a dish you’ll definitely want to share with your family on its own or as a side dish at a springtime brunch.
This strawberry goat cheese salad can be paired with so many things! A few pieces of toast and over-easy eggs would be delicious. Or, if you’re serving it on its own, try pairing a sweet drink. A strawberry mimosa for the adults and a glass of strawberry milk for the kids comes to mind, but you could also have green tea or other lemony tea to bring out the tang of the goat cheese flavors even more.
I recommend making your own salad dressing—it’s easy! You will need a jar with a tight-fitting lid or a bowl and whisk to do this. You’ll need these items to emulsify the dressing by very rapidly agitating the oil and vinegar to get them to come together.
I like to serve this dish in a big bowl, but you can also style individual plates. If you style individual plates, you’ll still want to toss the salad before you plate it. Reserve roughly 1/3 of the salad toppings before tossing the salad. Then, use the reserved toppings to finish each plate
What You Need To Make Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
Strawberry goat cheese salad requires fresh strawberries, goat cheese, candied walnuts, fresh arugula, cane sugar, salt, ground pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. If you want, you can use a premade dressing—I recommend a balsamic vinaigrette for this salad.
If you can’t find candied walnuts, you can use regular walnuts. I recommend toasting them lightly in a skillet or in the oven to get the most flavor from them.
I used a log of goat cheese in this recipe and crumbled the cheese myself. You can also use goat cheese crumbles.
I love arugula in this dish. The arugula has a light peppery flavor, stiff texture, and bitterness that balances the sweetness of the fruit and nuts and complements the goat cheese. You could also use spinach here if you prefer something a little more hearty.
- Goat cheese
- Candied walnuts
- Cane sugar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
To make this recipe, you need a cutting board, a knife, a fork, two small bowls, a salad bowl, and salad tongs.
How To Make Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
Prepare the strawberries: Wash and dry your strawberries. Cut off the tops and cut them into quarters. Put them in a small bowl and toss them with cane sugar. Set these aside for a few minutes to allow the strawberries to absorb the sugar.
Prepare the goat cheese: Place the goat cheese in a bowl. Using a fork, crumble the goat cheese until it is in small crumbles. Set this aside.
Prepare the dressing: Place the oil, vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and a pinch of salt in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until the two liquids emulsify, or come together into one opaque liquid. Set aside.
Prepare the salad: Wash and dry the arugula. Place in a salad bowl. Add the strawberries, candied walnuts, goat cheese, salt, pepper, and salad dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss until well coated in the dressing.
What other salad dressings can I use?
I like to use an oil-based salad dressing with a slightly fruity flavor, so I recommend a balsamic vinaigrette here. This produces a really clean, fresh taste. Avoid creamy dressings that will overpower the ingredients or are overly sweet.
For example, I would recommend a lemon-olive oil dressing over a raspberry vinaigrette if you are making choices at the grocery store. You can add a squeezed half of a lemon into the jar or bowl before you emulsify it to incorporate the flavor.
What other toppings do you recommend?
To stay true to the name of the salad, I would avoid adding other berries or fruits. The strawberries add sweetness and texture, the goat cheese adds tanginess and softness, and the nuts add sweetness and crunch. If you make any adjustments or substitutions, keep those three flavor and texture profiles in mind and balanced.
Why do you add sugar to the strawberries?
Have you ever had macerated berries? That lightly sweet jammy flavor and texture are delicious. Although we are not letting the strawberries get to that stage, adding just a hint of sugar helps soften the strawberries and brings out a little brightness from their flavor. If you don’t want to have the added sugar, you can skip this step.
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
- 12 oz fresh strawberries
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 2/3 cup candied walnuts
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 tbsp + a pinch cane sugar
- A pinch of salt more to taste
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Wash and dry 12 ounces of fresh strawberries.
- Take off the tops of the strawberries and quarter them.
- Place the strawberries in a small bowl and toss them with 1 tablespoon of cane sugar. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
- Place 4 oz goat cheese in a bowl and crumble it with a fork. Set aside.
- Place ½ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and a pinch of salt in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Shake vigorously until the two liquids emulsify, or come together into one opaque liquid. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the arugula and place it in a salad bowl.
- Add the strawberries, ⅔ cup candied walnuts, goat cheese, salt, pepper, and salad dressing.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss until well coated in the dressing.
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