This bright and colorful Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing explodes with flavors and textures and can be made in under 20 minutes. With ripe fresh strawberries, creamy goat cheese, caramel-ly, and crunchy candied walnuts, crisp romaine lettuce, and the perfect tangy and creamy balsamic salad dressing this recipe is sure to be a summer fave.
Summer is the perfect time of year to incorporate more fresh berries, and this Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad is perfect for strawberry season! This is a great side salad and is perfect when the warm weather arrives and you just want something fresh and light with simple ingredients.
This recipe is made with a delicious creamy balsamic dressing. Is there anything better than homemade dressing? You can store it in a mason jar and it’s ready to go when you want to eat some of this leftover salad as well.
Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Easy To Prepare – This salad can be made in about 20 minutes for the perfect complement to any summer meal!
- Beautiful Salad – Add this strawberry goat cheese salad to an otherwise boring spread and the vibrant colors and presentation are sure to impress.
- Fun Flavors and Textures – This salad explodes with amazing flavors and interesting textures that will please almost any palate.
Ingredients Needed for Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
- Romaine lettuce – I like romaine in this salad because it is mild, fresh tasting and so crisp. You can also use a combination of other greens like spinach, arugula, or spring mix if you prefer. I love using a salad spinner to get my lettuce crisp and clean!
- Candied Walnuts – This refined sugar-free candied walnut recipe is a great addition to the salad, yielding the perfect sweet and crunchy walnuts that pair so well with the other sweet and tangy flavors. If you prefer a less sweet salad, you can use regular toasted walnuts, crunchy pecans, or slivered almonds.
- Strawberries – This salad will taste best when strawberries are at their peak of ripeness. The amount of strawberries you will need with vary based on the size. One rounded cup of strawberry slices is best!
- Goat Cheese – Soft goat cheese (or chevre) can be hard to crumble. For salads like this, I prefer to use goat cheese crumbles that you find at the grocery store instead of in a log. This is just a personal preference, and you can absolutely use the log varieties and crumble it yourself.
- Red Onion – Red onion tends to be sharper than other varieties making it an excellent choice for a salad because a little goes a long way. Other varieties of onions may be used or even a shallot. White onions are the only variety I wouldn’t recommend for this dish.
- Fresh Herbs – Fresh mint and basil add such a summery flavor to the salad. I am a huge fan of fresh herbs in salads. You can opt to use only fresh basil or mint, or omit these ingredients and replace them with a mild veggie like cucumbers or radishes. A super easy way to cut fresh herbs is with these awesome scissors.
Ingredients Needed for Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Olive Oil – I would not recommend using another type of oil for this dressing. A lot of the flavor comes from the oil, and while a neutral-flavored oil like avocado oil would work, it should only be used if you do not enjoy the taste of EVOO.
- Maple Syrup – Maple syrup and balsamic complement each other for the perfect sweet and tangy dressing. Honey can also be used but you may need to scrape the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula to ensure that it dissolves fully.
- Avocado Oil Mayonnaise – This ingredient is added to make the dressing creamier while still allowing it to be dairy-free. You can omit this ingredient for a regular balsamic vinaigrette.
- Dijon Mustard – Coarse, or whole grain, Dijon mustard may be used in a pinch, but smooth Dijon mustard works better in this creamy dressing.
This perfect summer salad is one of our favorite ways to incorporate more color and nutrition into our meals in minimal time. It’s an easy meal and that is my favorite part of it!
- If you do not prefer a sweet dressing, start out with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in the creamy balsamic dressing and adjust to taste.
- The dressing will start to separate after it is stored. Make sure the jar is sealed and shake vigorously (or stir) to combine the ingredients again before serving.
- If you don’t want to use a full cup of candied walnuts in the salad, store the rest on parchment paper in a separate airtight container or resealable zipper bag. They make such a tasty snack or treat!
- Try a flavored goat cheese for a fun variation. Honey, fig, or herb flavors will work nicely!
More Refreshing Summer Recipes
- Cucumber Mango Salad
- The Best California Chicken Salad with grapes
- Copycat Chick-fil-a Market Salad
- Honey Lime Fruit Salad
- Oven Roasted Garlic Parmesan Asparagus
How long can I store this Creamy Balsamic Dressing?
You will not likely need all the dressing to dress this salad. This dressing stores well when sealed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge. Consume within 2 weeks for best quality.
Note: It will begin to separate, and the olive oil may solidify. Simply pull the dressing from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before serving. Give it a good stir or shake and enjoy.
How can I make this salad into a meal?
This salad can be made easily into a full meal by topping it with sliced grilled chicken breast or a tender grilled piece of salmon.
Can I make this Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad ahead of time?
Yes! This salad can easily be prepped hours or even a day ahead of time. If you want to prepare the salad a few hours ahead of time, you can prepare the entire salad and store it covered in the fridge. Wait to dress the salad until right before serving.
If you want to prepare the salad the night before, prepare all the ingredients. You can assemble most of the salad but store the sliced strawberries separately so that they don’t cause the lettuce to wilt. Add the strawberries and dressing right before serving.
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp sea salt
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
- 8 cups romaine (about 2 large heads)
- ½ cup candied walnuts or more to taste
- 1 cup strawberries hulled and sliced
- 2 oz goat cheese crumbled
- ¼ red onion
- ¼ cup fresh mint
- ¼ cup fresh basil
Creamy Balsamic Dressing for homemade dressing
- Heat a skillet with 1 tsp of oil over low-medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the walnuts and toast until they start to smell lightly toasty, about 2-3 min (do not wait for color to change).
- Add the maple syrup and salt to the skillet and stir using a rubber spatula. Continue to cook until the syrup becomes bubbly and starts to thicken, stirring throughout. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Once the syrup begins sticking to the walnuts you can remove them from the heat, stirring once more while sugar is still liquid to help it coat the nuts.
- Transfer the walnuts to a piece of parchment paper in a single layer to cool. As the syrup cools it will harden on the nuts. Set aside.
Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor and blend until it is creamy and smooth.
- Place dressing in a jar with a lid or an airtight container and store in the fridge until use.
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
- Chop the romaine heads into bite size pieces, discarding the ends. Use a salad spinner to wash and dry the lettuce.
- Stack the basil and mint leaves on top of one and other in stacks of about 8 leaves. Starting at the base of the leaves, roll each stack of tightly and then thinly slice on the short end to shred the leaves (this is called chiffonade). Toss the shredded herbs with the romaine lettuce in a large serving bowl.
- Peel and thinly slice the quarter red onion. Hull the strawberries and slice. Add both to the bowl with the lettuce and toss.
- Add the cooled candied walnuts to the salad (you can use all of the candied walnuts for a sweet, crunchy and indulgent addition, or only ½ cup for a lighter salad) and top with goat cheese.
- Stir the creamy balsamic dressing and serve with the salad. You will not likely use all the dressing. Leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Each serving of this strawberry goat cheese salad is an excellent source of manganese (36%), copper (28%), vitamin K (78%), vitamin C (23%), and folate (26%).
- Each serving is also a good source of vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.
- Each salad contains 10% or more of your daily value for 9 vitamins and minerals, and 3 grams of fiber.
- Each serving of creamy balsamic dressing is a good source of manganese, vitamin B2, and vitamin E.