This arugula goat cheese salad is simple but a symphony of flavor! Apples, pecans and balsamic dressing make perfection on a plate.
I don’t know about you, but we’re always in search of the perfect back pocket salad. You know, the one that’s easy enough to whip up on moments notice? The one that takes little effort but delivers massive flavor? Here’s one that’s on our new favorite back pocket concept: the Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Apples! The crunch of the apples, creamy goat cheese, and fluffy arugula are the ideal pair for the tangy sweet dressing. It’s simple and comes together quickly, but my does it deliver on flavor.
Ingredients in this arugula goat cheese salad
Goat cheese is one of our favorite ingredients for a salad, because it adds a creamy richness to every bite! Here are the elements that come together to make this salad a symphony of flavor:
- Goat cheese: Soft goat cheese or chevre is best here, though you can use the pre-packaged crumbles as well
- Baby arugula: Make sure to get baby arugula; standard arugula is much too spicy
- Apple: A crisp red apple is best, though you can use a Granny Smith as well
- Shallot: A shallot is a milder version of a red onion, and completes the flavor
- Pecans: Substitute in any nut you’d like, or see below on how to step up the flavor
- Balsamic dressing: This creamy balsamic dressing is our go-to, but you can use others too (see below)
Best salad dressing, and a few alternatives
Our favorite vinaigrette for this goat cheese salad is our Creamy Balsamic Dressing. It’s got just the right sweet tart flavor and creamy, emulsified texture. All you need is balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and olive oil: and it comes together in a breeze! Memorize it and you’ll have a dressing for all of your future salads; it’s our best loved salad dressings in this house!
But looking to mix it up? There are a few other vinaigrettes we love that pair with a goat cheese salad. Here’s what we’d recommend:
- Citrus Salad Dressing Orange and lemon are an ideal combination with goat cheese.
- Dijon Mustard Dressing Another family favorite! This dressing gives every salad a pop of flavor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing Go big on the tangy flavor of ACV.
Step up the pecans: toast them or glaze them!
Want to make this salad really pop? When we’re making this goat cheese salad with arugula on a weeknight, we use plain nuts. But for entertaining, there are two ways to really make this salad sparkle:
- Toast the nuts. A quick toast in the oven or in a skillet makes a huge difference: it really brings out the nutty flavor. Try Toasted Pecans, Toasted Walnuts or Toasted Almonds.
- Glaze the nuts. Even better: make Glazed Pecans! Throw them in a pan with maple syrup and caramelize them: when they dry, they’ll be sweet and crunchy on the outside. Also try Glazed Walnuts.
Variations on this goat cheese salad
There are infinite variations on this goat cheese salad with arugula: just swap in different fruits, veggies, or nuts to make variations of all kinds! Here are a few options:
- Use different nuts, like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios
- Make a pear goat cheese salad with sliced pears
- Make a beet goat cheese salad with roasted beets (it’s easiest with pre-cooked packaged beets from the store, or roast your own)
- Use berries instead, like blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries
- Swap fruit for veggies, like carrots (raw or roasted) or roasted sweet potatoes
- Use different leafy greens, like baby mixed greens, spinach, or shaved Brussels sprouts
You readers always have the best ideas! So let us know the ways you’ve customized this salad.
Goat cheese vs cows cheese
Did you know goat cheese is slightly healthier than a standard cow’s cheese, like Parmesan or mozzarella? Here’s a little breakdown on how it compares (source: Prevention):
- More vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk. It has more vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
- Slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85 calories), Swiss (108 calories), and cheddar (115 calories).
- May be easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure, so people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese.
This goat cheese salad with arugula recipe is…
Vegetarian and gluten-free.
Through this article, we hope to help you understand Salad recipes with goat cheese