A light and refreshing salad made with mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese and toasted pecans. It’s then topped with a simple homemade strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.
I have to admit, I’m so excited for the 4th of July this year! Not just because I get to celebrate with our friends and family at our annual bbq get-together, BUT because this year our host actually asked me to bring a side dish to the party! *Does a little happy dance* (This is a BIG deal you guys!) Usually whenever we’re invited over there’s a strict, “GUESTS DO NOT BRING ANYTHING” policy, which being a foodie – drives me completely insane! But not this year, oh no, not this year loves. This year I’m planning to knock the socks off our beloved hosts with this strawberry goat cheese salad and homemade strawberry balsamic vinaigrette! (And in typical Caitlin fashion, it’s red, white and blue too! 😉 )
This type of salad is always my go-to during summer because it’s filled with all the goods. It’s sweet, salty and crunchy, yet light and refreshing enough for those insanely hot days we get here in San Diego. Plus it’s easy to customize too!
- Mixed greens: You can replace this with spinach or any other type of greens you want.
- Strawberries & blueberries: You can always use blackberries or raspberries instead.
- Goat cheese: Replace this with feta or even a flavored goat cheese.
- Toasted pecans: Try candied pecans instead or nix them altogether and replace them with walnuts or almonds.
To Toast or Not to Toast the Pecans
Ahh the age old question. I used to think that it didn’t matter if I toasted the nuts I used in my salads. I mean, they’re just nuts right? WRONG! So so wrong! Toasting the nuts definitely kicks this salad up a notch. Not only does it add a little “smokiness” to the salad’s flavor but it also allows the pecans to remain crunchy after being tossed in the dressing.
(Quick side note, vinaigrette and dressing basically mean the same thing. I just like saying vinaigrette because it sounds fancy….”vinaigrette.” 😉 ) I usually prefer making my own vinaigrette because then I’m able to control the amount of sugar and oil that goes into it. But that being said, you can definitely use a store bought dressing too. I would suggest using either balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette for this salad. But if you want a super easy and delicious homemade recipe, here’s the one I used:
- 1 cup strawberries
- 2 Tbps balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- To make: Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Oil: I don’t like a lot of oil in my dressings and personally think that this didn’t need any. However, if you prefer it then you can add 1 Tbsp of olive to the dressing before blending it.
- Sweetener: If you want a sweeter dressing, just add one more teaspoon of honey before blending. You can also replace the honey with 1-2 tsps of maple syrup if you prefer.
I hope you all enjoy this strawberry goat cheese salad just as much as I do! Have a great 4th of July babes! 🙂
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I’d love to see what you create!]
Check out even more summer salads here:
- Citrus and Pomegranate Kale Salad – by Kalefornia Kravings
- Roasted Chickpea, Avocado & Kale Salad – by Kalefornia Kravings
- Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad – by Give Me Some Oven
- Berry Orange Spinach Salad – by Yay for Food
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 4 cups mixed greens or spinach
- 1½ cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ cup goat cheese (can replace with feta)
- ¼ cup pecans, toasted (can replace with walnuts or almonds)
For the Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)*
- 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey**
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
To toast the pecans:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lay the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes. (Pecans should just start to turn a dark brown color.)
To make the vinaigrette:
- Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a blender/food processor and blend until smooth. Store in an air tight container in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
To make the salad:
- Add the mixed greens, strawberries and blueberries to a bowl. Pour just enough vinaigrette over the salad to give it a nice coating. Toss the salad and top it with your goat cheese and toasted pecans.