Fresh strawberries are pureed into a delicious sweet and tangy strawberry vinaigrette. It is paired with more fresh strawberries, tangy goat cheese, rich, earthy hazelnuts and peppery arugula (or spinach) for a salad my family just can't get enough of. I'm willing to bet strawberry goat cheese salad will be your next family favorite too!
Jump to the recipe or read along for quick and easy tips and tricks.
Why I love this recipe
I love growing strawberries in my garden, they are so versatile. I don't usually get enough at once to make big quantities of jam but I love to use them fresh in so many recipes. Just a cup or two will make an easy salad, a quick muffin recipe like Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins (of my most popular recipes), or a fabulous dessert like Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake. For a quick and easy breakfast or snack, strawberries join blackberries and banana in this delicious smoothie.
Here are the simple ingredients to make this wonderful strawberry and goat cheese salad.
- Strawberries - fresh or frozen strawberries work equally well for the dressing but for the sliced berries in the salad, they should be fresh.
- Hazelnuts - fresh fall hazelnuts are delicious raw but if yours are older, try toasting them briefly in a frying pan to freshen them up.
- Goat cheese - fresh, plain, soft goat cheese is what I've used in this salad.
See recipe card for quantities.
Step by step instructions
This is a fast and easy salad! First add your strawberries, olive oil, vinegar, herbs and seasoning into a samll food processor or blender and puree. Season to taste and the strawberry vinaigrette is done.
Next, layer arugula (or other greens) into bowls, top with goat cheese and strawberries. Drizzle with the strawberry salad dressing and top with coarsely chopped hazelnuts and enjoy.
If you are making this during strawberry season, you likely have lots of little edible flowers in your garden. Pick a few to garnish this salad and impress your guests.
My favorite common edible flowers are borage and kale flowers (shown here) along with petals from dandelion and chive flowers, nasturtiums and my very favorite are squash blossoms that show up mid to late summer. For more information, see the article I wrote for Edible Communities here.
- Arugula - this salad can be made with a wide variety of greens. Try spinach, kale, butter lettuce or baby spring green mix.
- Goat cheese - I used fresh soft plain goat cheese but goat or cow feta work well for a salty foil or try ricotta if you like a milder flavor.
- Hazelnuts - almost any nut could be substituted to taste. My top choices for other nuts are pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds.
- Strawberry Spinach Salad - always a classic, simply swap spinach for the arugula.
- Strawberry Shrimp Salad - Omit the hazelnuts and add pre cooked shrimp.
- Vegan Spring Strawberry Salad - Simply omit the cheese or substitute some vegan cheese for a wonderful vegan version.
Strawberry vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days before and stored covered in the refrigerator.
Once dressed and assembled, any leftovers should be stored in the fridge and consumed in 1-2 days while still fresh tasting.
Light vinaigrette dressings work best for strawberry and other fruit salads. Macerating or pureeing fruit, adding fruit based vinegar and using a light flavored oil (olive or nut oils) are always best.
Popular add-ins are poppy seeds (like the famous Panera strawberry salad poppy seed dressing), mild herbs like thyme or parsley and adding in other fruits like raspberries, blueberries or grapes.
This light versatile salad lends itself well to pairing with risotto, simple pork, chicken or fish and pasta. Recipes that I think go especially well with this are simple pan fried Halibut Cheeks, Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin , Asparagus Risotto or Mushroom Risotto.
The difference between arugula and rocket is...nothing. They are the same and the terms can be used interchangeably. In English speaking Europe and Australia, the term rocket is favored. In North America, we tend to call it arugula.
Arugula likely originated in the Mediterranean. The arugula or rocket that I grow is an heirloom Italian variety that self seeds easily and is wonderfully piquant. I have enjoyed growing it for years now. I often grow a milder, annual arugula that is much milder in flavor but the Italian arugula has the longest growing season and can be enjoyed raw or in cooked dishes.
Thanks for reading along, as always, I look forward to your feedback. Did you try it? Did you like it? Wondering how to grow your own arugula? For fast support with recipe questions, follow me on Instagram or Facebook and message me there. I try to reply quickly with any urgent cooking q's 😉
PS. Don't forget to check out my home and kitchen shop at www.westcoastkitchengarden.com
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
- 1 c Whole Strawberries Hulled
- 2-3 sprigs Lemon Thyme Leaves only, woody stem discarded
- 2 teaspoon Sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Champagne Vinegar Or other wine vinegar
- 6 c Arugula
- ½ c Goat Cheese Crumbled, or ricotta if you prefer milder flavor
- ½ c Hazelnuts (Filberts) Coarsely chopped
- 12 Strawberries For Garnish
- Put all ingredients except oil and vinegar into mini food processor or blender (or cup with immersion blender) and blend until smooth, then add in the oil and vinegar and blend again until frothy and emulsified.
- Divide arugula between 4 bowls. Top each bowl with ¼ of the cheese and hazelnuts, and then pour dressing over and garnish with the strawberries.
I found this fun article on little known strawberry facts on Food Republic, check it out!