Berry Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

You GUYS!!

I’m very excited to share this recipe because it contains two of my favorite foods in the entire world: berries and goat cheese!!!

Yes, you heard me correctly. Goat cheese haters are not welcome here! (just kidding except not really)

Last weekend in Rhode Island, Maju and I went to one of my favorite places ever, Sweet Berry Farm, to pick strawberries.

My grandparents lived in Portsmouth, Rhode Island so growing up we would go to Sweet Berry Farm every summer to pick strawberries. They are truly the best strawberries that I have ever tasted. Also just ask my Mom about previous strawberry picking adventures..Let’s just say I would always eat way more than I put in the basket lol.. but not this time! We were on a mission. See evidence below.

I MEAN!!!

Is there anything better than summer berries? They are like candy. So sweet and flavorful. Fresh picked berries really don’t even compare to store bought. They are a totally different species.

At first when Maju suggested getting the large bin I was like, are you crazy?! What are we going to do with all those strawberries?! But he was right, 15 pounds of strawberries was totally necessary 😉

The dessert of my dreams!!! Maju saw a method where you mixed fresh strawberries with sugar and place them in a bowl over a double boiler. You cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let them do their thing for about 20 minutes. THEY WERE INSANE!! I made some fresh whipped vanilla cream to go with them.

We also (we lol, Maju) made strawberry sorbet. He followed this recipe and it was amazing. It’s already gone.

I knew I wanted to make a summer berry salad similar to one I had a few weeks back from a cafe in Poughkeepsie, NY (Where Maju is from)

It had berries, goat cheese, savory granola, and the most delicious raspberry vinaigrette. So I made my own version using our picked strawberries!

Summer Berry Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Just look at that beauty! In the bowl went baby kale, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese, avocado, fresh basil, scallions, and toasted sliced almonds

Topped with the most delicious homemade strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. In the food processor went fresh strawberries and shallot. Followed by dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

You don’t really taste the mustard or shallot. They both just help to add a savory component to the dressing and the mustard acts as the emulsifier. Emulsifying essentially just means that the oil and vinegar are able to become one solidified unit. There’s more science behind why mustard and egg yolks for example are emulsifiers but we don’t need to get into that (nor do I remember what they told me in culinary school..)

Wow, end rant. Back to the salad!

This salad is so fun and flavorful. I love the crunch from the almonds and the savory element from the avocado and scallions. This should 100% be on your next summer menu. This salad would also go great with some grilled chicken alongside to round out the meal.

Also, now what to get me for my birthday: Goat cheese and fresh picked berries 🙂

Summer Berry Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Salad
  • 6 cups baby kale (or baby spinach) 
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almonds 
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped 
  • 2 avocados, chopped 
  • 3 cups berries of choice (I did a mix of strawberries and blueberries)
  • Salt and pepper 
For the Dressing:
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries (about 6 large strawberries)
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot 
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard 
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 
  • Apx ½ cup olive oil 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ¼ tsp black pepper 

Instructions:

  1. Make the dressing: In a food processor blend together the strawberries and the shallot until finely chopped and blended together. Add in the dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. With the food processor running, drizzle in about ¼ cup olive oil until the dressing becomes emulsified. Drizzle in a bit more olive oil until the dressing is the taste and consistency that you prefer. You most likely won’t use a full ½ cup of the olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In the bottom of a large serving bowl add the baby kale. Arrange the rest of the ingredients in the bowl in separate piles to make for a pretty presentation. Season with salt and pepper over the top. Toss with the dressing right before serving. You will most likely have extra dressing leftover so start with about ¼ cup of dressing and add more if needed. Serve cold or at room temperature. 

Notes:

  • If your strawberries are not the most fresh/sweet, I would recommend adding about 1 teaspoon of honey to the dressing to help balance out the acidity.  
  • This salad is best served right after being tossed but the dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance.

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Have a great day everyone!

xx Chelcie