If you love strawberries and goat cheese, then you will absolutely love this Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad! We have tossed rocket, strawberries, avocado, goat cheese, and candied pecans with a homemade strawberry balsamic dressing that takes this salad to the next level.
This strawberry and goat cheese salad is the perfect combination of savoury and sweet. The rocket gives it a nice peppery bite, while the goat cheese adds a nice salty touch, and for some crunch, we have added the candied pecans.
The strawberries add sweetness, the avocado gives it a creamy texture, the pomegranate adds some jewelled colour, and the homemade dressing brings it all together with a hint of tartness - ahh, heaven on a plate!
I always look for an impressive FESTIVE salad for our Christmas table, and this is the one we made for our Christmas Celebrations in 2022 - what a great choice! For more salads that dazzle, try our Brie Salad with Cherries or our Radicchio and Pear Salad.
❤️ What I Love About This Salad ❤️
This beautiful salad looks AMAZING and tastes even better! It's sweet, tangy, creamy, crunchy, and so full of colour.
All these flavours come together in just 10 minutes, and the strawberry balsamic dressing? It's like you could drink it! This salad will definitely have your guests WOW-ing.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Fresh Strawberries - the star of the show, so choose wisely; if they smell sweet and strong, then into the shopping basket they go! You can certainly swap them for any berries you like, or even a mix of berries would be good. You can also make this salad with some sweet apples or pears during cooler months and use some frozen strawberries for the dressing.
- Rocket/Arugula - we used it to bulk up the salad, and to be honest, I had planned on using baby spinach, but because of the toxic baby spinach recall, I just didn't want to risk it. So go ahead and use some baby spinach or a bag of mixed lettuce instead.
- Avocado - added because I just love it and for some healthy fat creaminess as it really boosts the satiety of this salad. You can leave it out if you are not a fan.
- Pomegranate - used for a pop colour as I was making it for Christmas, and who doesn't love these gorgeous ruby red jewels with their sweet juicy tartness? But you can use blueberries here if you prefer.
- Goat Cheese - added for some tart buttery flavour and as a contrast to the green and red. Swap for some feta (yes, feta again - Greeks put it in everything!) or level up this salad even more by using a good quality blue cheese - such as a creamy gorgonzola.
- Candied Pecans - I usually make my own, but because things were a little hectic this year, I just bought some from our local nut shop, and you can easily pick these up from your supermarket as well. Swap for candied walnuts, candied macadamias or candied hazelnuts. Or just some roasted nuts like almonds work well also.
- Strawberry Dressing - for the few minutes that it takes to blitz up this dressing, it sure delivers a lot of flavour! I was literally drinking it; that's how good it was and how I left enough to dress that salad is a miracle. You can certainly use a simple homemade balsamic vinaigrette, but if you are, then I urge you to buy a good quality aged balsamic.
How to Make This Summer Salad
For such little prep time, this strawberry salad really packs a punch when it comes to flavour! All you need to do is wash the rocket, slice the strawberries, deseed the pomegranate, blitz the dressing and toss it all together - so easy and so delicious!
Step 1 - Remove the Pomegranate Arils
Roll your pomegranate around to loosen up the arils, then cut out the core and base and slice it in half.
Break apart each half then take each half and remove the arils from the membrane; the arils should easily fall into your hand.
Step 2 - Prepare Remaining Ingredients
Wash the rocket/arugula, remove any damaged or discoloured leaves and dry them, either by patting them dry or spinning them in a salad spinner.
Wash and hull the strawberries, then slice them and allow them to drain in a colander.
Note: It is important to wash your strawberries BEFORE hulling and slicing them otherwise they will become water-logged.
Wash, peel and de-pit the avocado, dice it up and squeeze some lemon juice on top to prevent it from browning.
Step 3 - Blitz the Dressing
Add all the ingredients for the strawberry balsamic dressing to a small food processor or blender, season and blitz until well combined.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Step 4 - Assemble Your Salad
Place the rocket in a large salad bowl, and add most of the sliced strawberries and half the pecans.
Drizzle the salad with enough dressing so that it all comes together.
Season with some sea solt and cracked black pepper and toss gently.
Arrange in a large salad platter, drizzle with a bit more dressing, and garnish with extra strawberries, pecans and the crumbled goat's cheese.
Serve the extra dressing on the side; it goes great with turkey. Enjoy, as I am sure it will become one of your favourite salad recipes!
Serving Suggestions 🍽
This impressive, delicious salad is the perfect accompaniment to any festive feast, we served ours at Christmas!
Whether you're hosting a fancy dinner party with a prime rib roast, a whole roast salmon, or crispy pork roast or simply enjoying a casual get-together with Texas barbecue brisket, grilled garlicky chicken breasts, or baked pork chops - this salad will be sure to please.
Just add some grilled chicken tenderloins, flaked salmon or slices of ham to make it a meal.
Don't want to cook at all? No problem - just buy a pre-cooked chicken, whip up the salad, and voila! Dinner is on the table!
How to Make Your Own Candied Pecans
Making your own candied pecans is easier than you think! All you need is two tablespoons of butter, three tablespoons of brown sugar, and one cup of pecans.
Start by melting the butter with the brown sugar in a saucepan over low heat, and stir until the brown sugar dissolves.
Add the pecans and stir until they are evenly coated. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once finished, transfer the pecans to a lined baking sheet. Let them cool and enjoy!
People Also Ask
How to Choose the Best Strawberries?
If you're looking for juicy. sweet strawberries, don't just rely on the colour! Get your nose involved – if the berries smell strong and sweet, they're ripe and ready to go. Look for a natural shine and fresh-looking green caps to ensure they're at their best.
Can I Use Frozen Strawberries?
- While frozen strawberries are good to use for the dressing (just make sure to defrost them first).
- I do not recommend using them inside the salad, as once they defrost, they turn to mush.
- Swap for any other berry that you can find, or use some peach, pear or apple slices
Can Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad Be Made Ahead?
- This salad is best enjoyed right away.
- If you're taking it on the go, you might want to wait and add the strawberry balsamic dressing just before serving – you'll get the most out of its beauty that way!
- To cut down on prep time on the day, you can make up the dressing 3-4 days before, keep it in a mason jar in the fridge, and bring it to room temperature before use.
- The strawberries can be sliced the day before, and the rocket/arugula can also be washed and dried really WELL the day before (if it isn't dried well you risk slimy rocket and contamination).
- If you don't mind soggy, limp salad leaves, store the leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge to eat the next day.
Are Feta and Goat Cheese the Same?
- What's the main difference between feta cheese and goat cheese? It's all in the milk!
- Feta is made mostly from sheep's milk, while goat cheese is made from goat's milk.
- Both are white in colour and have a creamy texture and both are great in this salad
- Sorry guys, this is an indulgent salad, so the calories and carbs are a bit on the high side.
- Each serving has 330 calories with a net carb count of 18 grams.
- It is NOT suitable for keto, paleo, whole30 or vegan dieters and contains both nuts and dairy 🤷🏼.
- Salad Spinner
- 180 grams arugula (6 cups loosely packed, 6.35 ounces)
- 500 grams strawberries (2 punnets, 17.64 ounces)
- 1 cup pomegranate arils (1 pomegranate)
- 300 grams avocado (1 medium avocado, 10.58 ounces)
- 1 cup candied pecans
- 150 grams goat cheese
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Wash, then hull the strawberries, slice and allow to drain in a colander.
- Wash the rocket/ arugula, remove any damaged or discoloured leaves, and either pay dry or spin dry in a salad spinner.
- Remove the pomegranate arils from the pomegranate.
- Wash the avocado, peel it, then remove the pit, dice it up and squeeze some lemon juice on top to prevent it from browning.
- Add all the strawberry balsamic ingredients to a small food processor or blender, season and blitz until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
- Place the rocket in a large mixing bowl, and add most of the sliced strawberries and half the pecans. Drizzle with enough dressing so that the salad comes together, season and toss.
- Arrange in a large salad platter, drizzle with a bit more dressing right before serving, and garnish with the extra strawberries, pecans and crumbled goat cheese.
- Place the extra dressing on the side and serve immedieately..