This seasonal Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad is a favorite in my family. The tangy, soft goat cheese pairs perfectly with fresh strawberries, and the peppery arugula that's a great compliment to the creamy avocado. It's a delicious salad that's perfect for spring and summer months.
Consider this another to salad to add to the list of 'salads that even salad haters will eat' along with my favorite salad recipe, the strawberry spinach salad.
Hi, it is I: your resident (former) salad hater!
As I've gotten older (I just celebrated my
30th 25th birthday, y'all!), I've started to appreciate the beauty of a good salad. And this strawberry goat cheese salad is just that - beautiful AND delicious.
Gone are the days of bland lettuce and overpowering dressings. This salad is all about balance and flavor. The sweetness of the ripe strawberries pairs perfectly with the tangy goat cheese, while the peppery baby arugula adds just the right amount of bite.
And don't even get me started on the crunch from the almonds and the creamy avocado.
But the real star of the show is the homemade dressing. I like to use leftover strawberries to make a fresh and fruity dressing with balsamic vinegar. It's the perfect complement to the other flavors in the salad and really ties everything together.
So whether you're a die-hard salad fan or a self-proclaimed salad hater, I promise you'll love this strawberry goat cheese salad. It's the perfect light lunch for Easter or a great addition to any al fresco meal this spring and summer.
Maybe this is the 'romanticizing your life' thing?
Because I can get into this.
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You don’t need much by way of tools to make this strawberry arugula salad. Here’s everything I used:
- Measuring Cups & Spoons - As a professionally-trained chef, I learned that the best way to achieve consistently delicious results was, well, being consistent! Using measuring cups and spoons will ensure you have the correct proportions so that every bite of your strawberry and goat cheese salad is on point.
- Immersion Blender - This nifty little wand is easily one of my favorite tools. I use it to blend everything from soups and smoothies to perfectly emulsified salad dressings like this strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.
- Mason Jar - If you use a wide-mouth mason jar (which doubles as a liquid measuring cup!), you can fit the immersion blender and mix directly in the container. Even better, when you’re done, you can pop a cap on it and toss it in the fridge for later in the week, all without dirtying an extra plate. 🙌🏾
- Large Mixing Bowl - Another little trick I learned from culinary school is to use a bigger bowl to toss your salads than you think you need. This ensures you can dig all the way down the bottom (gently! We don’t wanna bruise the produce) and make sure all the heavy goodies like cheese, berries, and nuts are evenly distributed.
- Salad Servers - Gently toss the greens and mix-ins with these. We don't want to bruise any produce!
- Large Salad Bowl - get yourself a big beautiful wooden serving bowl for a nice presentation, this make a lot o' salad!
Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
In total, you’ll only need 9 simple ingredients to make this bright and juicy strawberry goat cheese salad with strawberry balsamic dressing. Chances are, you already have at least a few of them on hand!
Strawberry Balsamic Dressing Ingredients
- Strawberries - You can use either fresh or defrosted frozen strawberries for this blended dressing. If possible, opt for organic — strawberries consistently make EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.
- Avocado Oil - Avocado oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats and has a light, neutral flavor. Feel free to swap in another neutral oil like light olive oil, grapeseed oil, or peanut oil.
- Balsamic Vinegar - There is a wide range of pricing for balsamic vinegars. Opt for a mid-level insalata or “salad” balsamic for a delicious flavor at a reasonable price.
- Honey - For a touch of floral sweetness. If possible, use local honey, which often has a more complex flavor profile than nationally distributed brands. As an added bonus, it can help tame your spring allergies!
- Kosher Salt - This is my go-to variety of salt. If you’re using something like sea salt or table salt, refer to this conversion chart for proper measurement.
- Baby Arugula - Baby arugula is more tender and less peppery than its grownup counterpart, definitely salad-newbie-friendly. Feel free to swap in adult arugula if you like your arugula salads with a little more oomph.
- Strawberries - For the salad portion, you’ll definitely want to opt for fresh, ripe, sweet strawberries. Aside from looking bright red, I also like to give them a whiff — if they smell ripe and delicious, they probably are. 😉
- Avocado - For an added layer of rich, creamy tastiness.
- Creamy Goat Cheese - Look for this tangy cheese as either plain, honeyed, or herbed goat cheese sold in logs. The 'pre' crumbled goat cheese just isn't as delicious, in my opinion.
- Sliced Almonds - For crunch and added flavor. If you prefer extra crunchy bits, try slivered almonds instead.
This yummy, springy arugula strawberry goat cheese salad comes together in just a few minutes. Here’s how:
Make the Dressing
Step 1: Blend the strawberries down into a puree using an immersion blender in a medium bowl or in a food processor.
Step 2: Emulsify. Add the oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and kosher salt. Blend again until smooth. Set aside.
Make the Salad.
Step 3: Toss the baby arugula, strawberry slices, and almonds together first in a large bowl. Then add the diced avocado and goat cheese crumbles and gently toss them into the salad.
Step 4: Serve with the salad dressing on the side.
Variations and Substitutions
As much as we love this strawberry salad with goat cheese, taste is subjective. Make any of the following swaps and substitutions to create the perfect salad for YOUR fam!
- Swap Your Greens. Can’t find arugula? A baby spinach strawberry salad is equally delicious, albeit a little less peppery.
- Add Ins - Toss in grilled chicken breast or crispy chicken thigh for a full meal, slice some red onion and add it right in, swap the balsamic vinegar for red wine vinegar (less of it!), blend a little fresh basil into your dressing
- Try Different Cheese - I love the soft, silky tang of goat milk cheese against sweet juicy berries, but there are lots of cheeses to choose from. Try swapping in blue cheese for a funkier take, sheep’s milk feta cheese, or queso fresco for a milder, slightly saltier option.
- Make It Vegan - Use maple syrup or agave nectar in place of honey, and either omit the goat cheese or swap in your favorite plant-based alternative cheese.
- Play With Mix-Ins - Not a fan of almonds? Try crunchy pecans, walnuts, or pistachios instead. Want extra sweetness? Use sugared nuts. Fresh strawberries weren’t looking great at the store? Use other fresh berries in the salad and frozen strawberries for the dressing.The great thing about salads is they’re easily customizable to whatever you have on hand!
- In my opinion, the easiest way to hull strawberries is by using a paring knife. If you’re not up to the task, or want to have your little ones help you in the kitchen, opt for this safe and easy straw method or use a cute strawberry huller.
- Once you’ve blended up your salad dressing, the easiest way to clean an immersion blender is by blending up a glass of warm water and dish soap.
- Toast your nuts! No matter what kind of nuts you’re using, make sure to toast them in a dry pan over medium heat or in the oven before adding them to the salad for the best flavor.
- Crumble your own goat cheese. Not only will it taste fresher, but it’ll also save you some hard-earned cash. Open the goat cheese log and use a fork to lightly scrape against the surface — crumbles should automatically form to get dusted over your salad greens!
- If you prefer a tossed salad, drizzle a bit of salad dressing around the inside of the mixing bowl before adding the greens and mix-ins. This helps to ensure all that strawberry goodness gets on every last bite!
Strawberry balsamic salad dressing will keep in a airtight container with a tight-fitting lid in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to a month. To use, allow to defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then shake vigorously to reincorporate.
Hulled strawberries will keep in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Toasted almonds will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.
If possible, keep all elements in their own separate airtight container, or, at the very least, don’t dress the leftover salad greens or add the avocado until you’re ready to serve. The arugula will wilt if kept in the dressing too long, and the avocado will oxidize and turn brown.
More Spring and Summer Strawberry Recipes:
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Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
- 6 cups fresh baby arugula
- 1 pint ripe fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
- 1 cup ripe fresh strawberries, hulled
- ⅓ cup avocado oil or light olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Make the Dressing
- Blend the strawberries down into a puree using an immersion blender in a medium bowl or in a food processor.
- Add the oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and kosher salt. Blend again until smooth. Set aside.
Make the Salad.
- Toss the baby arugula, strawberries, and almonds together first in a large bowl. Then add the diced avocado and goat cheese crumbles and gently toss them into the salad.
- Serve with the salad dressing on the side.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 151mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 13gProtein: 7g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.