This Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad is the perfect mix of sweet and salty! It makes a great side or a light main. Dressed with simple balsamic vinaigrette and an extra drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Why This Recipe Works
- The perfect mix of salty and sweet - If you've never added berries to your salad, this one is a must-try! The strawberries go really well with the creamy goat cheese and all the other ingredients add a ton of flavor, crunch, and texture.
- Simple and easy - Most of the time, if I'm making a salad, I want it to be simple and easy to put together. This one doesn't require any cooking (unless you're toasting the pecans) and all you need to do is chop everything up. It comes together in less than 30 minutes and it's incredibly delicious.
- The easiest dressing - The salad is dressed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette that's made with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar (aged or regular), maple syrup, and salt and pepper. You can also add dijon mustard for even more flavor.
- Side or a main - This salad can be served both as a side or a light main. I like serving it with roasted salmon on the side or tossed with the salad. Chicken or even prosciutto would be delicious too!
- Arugula - Arugula has a sharper, spicier flavor than other greens which makes it perfect for this salad in combination with the strawberries. If you're not a fan of arugula, romaine lettuce is also a great choice. Sometimes I like to use a mix of both.
- Strawberries - The combination of tangy balsamic, salty goat cheese, and sweet strawberries works really well in this salad. Strawberries definitely taste the best when they're in season but you can make this salad all year round.
- Red onion - I'm adding red onion but shallots or spring onions can also be used. Red onion adds a nice color, and crunch, and has a stronger flavor which goes well with the strawberries.
- Cucumber - Cucumber adds additional crunch to the salad and its high water content makes it really refreshing.
- Avocado - Adding avocado is optional but highly recommended if you have one on hand. It adds lots of healthy fats, and protein, and will turn this into a more filling salad.
- Goat cheese - The recipe calls for soft goat cheese because it goes really well with the strawberries but any salty cheese works great here. Feta, harder goat cheese, shaved pecorino, or brie would also be great options. Especially if you're tossing the salad together instead of layering it. Soft goat cheese mixes into the dressing a little more than feta would.
- Pecans - You can toast these or keep them raw. I like to chop them up and sprinkle on the salad for added flavor and crunch. Walnuts, pistachios, or sliced almonds would also be great!
- Balsamic dressing - The dressing for this salad is super simple made with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and sea salt and pepper. Add chili flakes or hot sauce to make it spicy.
You can make this salad in two ways.
- Add everything to a large bowl and toss gently to coat everything well with the dressing.
- Layer all the ingredients on a large serving plate or low bowl and drizzle with the dressing and balsamic glaze.
Both versions are delicious and it's really up to you how you serve the salad. The layered version is just prettier for presentation. When you mix everything in a bowl, the creamy goat cheese mixes into the dressing more. If you layer it, it will stay intact in little pieces. You can also use harder goat cheese or feta instead to avoid losing the little delicious pieces of salty cheese in the dressing.
I usually serve the salad layered everything on a big plate or bowl and then store the leftovers all mixed up in an airtight container.
After you mix everything with the dressing, the arugula will inevitably wilt down more easily than it would with no dressing but I find it lasts for two days in the fridge just fine. I probably wouldn't recommend storing the salad for longer than that though. As with most salads, it's going to taste the best right after serving.
This salad is best made right before serving. You can prep all your ingredients a few hours in advance but I recommend adding the vinaigrette right before serving. You can store the finished salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
I like using creamy goat cheese but you can use any cheese you like or have on hand. Harder goat cheese, feta, shaved pecorino, or even brie would be great options.
Yes, this salad would also be delicious with blueberries. Raspberries might not be sweet enough but you could use a mix of blueberries and raspberries if you don't have strawberries on hand. Do not use frozen berries.
More Summer Salad Recipes
If you're craving more light summer salads, check out the four recipes linked below or head straight to the Salads category to see them all in one place!
This Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad is the perfect mix of sweet and salty! Dressed with balsamic dressing and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
- 150 g arugula (4-5 handfuls)
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced root to stem
- ½ large cucumber, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 100g soft goat cheese, crumbled
- Small handful fresh basil (chopped, optional)
- 1 cup pecans (raw or toasted, optional)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp chili flakes (or more to taste)
Optional for serving: Balsamic glaze, flaky sea salt
- Add all salad ingredients into a large bowl or layer on a large serving plate.
- To make the dressing, add everything to a bowl or a mason jar and whisk or shake until well mixed. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and enjoy!
- Toasted pecans: Dry roast pecans in a preheated oven at 350F (175C) for 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. You can also drizzle them with a little avocado oil and season with sea salt before roasting.
- Cheese: The goat cheese will mix into the dressing more if you toss everything together than it would if you serve the salad layered. If you want the cheese to keep its shape, you can use feta instead.
- Storing: The salad keeps well in the fridge for a maximum of 1-2 days. If possible, store the salad and the dressing separately. Ideally, I recommend making the salad right before eating.
Keywords: strawberry salad, goat cheese salad