A warm goat cheese salad is one of my favorite things to order for lunch in a restaurant. There is something so satisfying about the crunchy, yet soft, warm goat cheese, paired with the freshness of a salad. It is also a great source of protein and fat to keep you full!
Instead of waiting to order it in a restaurant, I thought, why not make it at home! This recipe is perfect for lunch or a light dinner! To give you a few options I've included a savory and a sweet version. This salad is so versatile and delicious, you're gonna love it!
How To Make This Warm Goat Cheese Salad
The Purist Version
In this recipe, the warm goat cheese croutons are the main focal point. They are substantial enough on their own to pair perfectly with a basic bed of mixed greens topped with a light drizzle of good olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. They provide just enough warmth and crunch to elevate this otherwise everyday combination to a special treat.
If you're a purist, I recommend choosing an interesting mix of greens. A combination of spice, bitter, butter, and fresh leaves is always a nice mix!
To make this salad a bit more savory, try adding in some salted pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Then toss in a few halved tomatoes for some freshness. If you want to make it extra rich and savory try adding some fresh cooked bacon, cut into small pieces.
How To Make Fried Goat Cheese
This fried goat cheese is panko crusted. It has the most delicate crunch and is so delicious. If you are gluten free or prefer not to use bread crumbs, try substituting coconut flakes or crushed nuts like pistachios or almonds! First, divide the goat cheese into four 2-oz. portions.
Press each 2-oz piece of goat cheese between 2 sheets of wax paper until they are about ½” thick. Remove the top layer of wax to finish shaping the cheese into uniform round disks with your hands. Replace wax paper and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the disks are firm.
Then, create a “breading station” by adding whisked egg white to a shallow dish, and the Panko breadcrumbs to another. Once firm, dip each goat cheese round into the egg whites until coated on both sides. Then dip the coated goat cheese rounds into the Panko breadcrumbs. Make sure each goat cheese round is thoroughly covered in breadcrumbs on both sides.
In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat until it starts to “dance.” Carefully add each coated goat cheese disk to the pan with a slotted spatula and turn as soon as the first side becomes golden brown. Remove from oil as soon as second side is equally browned and set on a wire rack. Don’t allow croutons to stay in hot oil too long or the goat cheese will become too melted to hold its shape.
Assembling The Salad
If you are making the warm goat cheese salad as individual plates for your guests, divide salad greens among 4 plates. Alternatively, arrange the greens on a large platter and drizzle with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Add any of your desired savory toppings, or leave it plain. Then, top each plate with the fried goat cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To garnish the salad, with the hulls intact, slice each whole strawberry into several equal-sized segments, starting from the bottom and working toward the green part. Don’t cut all the way through the strawberry in the process, however. Gently spread the individual segments into a fan shape and place on top of each goat cheese crouton and serve!
A Sweet Warm Goat Cheese Salad
For the sweet version of this warm goat cheese salad, you'll need walnuts, dried figs, and honey. Begin by chopping your walnuts so that you get a little taste in every bite. Then slice your figs into halves or quarters, as well. Using fresh figs works well too, however the salad will be less sweet. Follow the same process for frying your goat cheese as in the previous version of the salad.
Grab a beautiful plate, lay down a few handfuls of arugula and massage in a few drizzles of high quality olive oil! Next, toss in your walnuts and figs and place your fried goat cheese on top. For the final touch, drizzle your honey over the entire salad and the balsamic glaze in the opposite direction to make a beautiful pattern.
Tools You Need To Make This Warm Goat Cheese Salad
- Bowl. You'll need a couple bowls for your breading station when you are making the fried goat cheese disks.
- Saucepan. Grab a good saucepan to fry up the goat cheese for this salad! Stainless steel pans always work well.
- Sharp Knife. Use a sharp knife for all your cutting and chopping needs!
- Cutting Board. This bamboo cutting board is a great one for cooking and is easy to clean.
Goat Cheese Croutons:
- 8 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup coconut oil
Savory Goat Cheese Salad:
- 4 cups of mixed greens of your choice
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. aged balsamic vinegar
- salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- 4 whole fresh strawberries, for garnish (optional)
- handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds (optional)
- 3 strips of freshly cooked bacon, chopped (optional)
Sweet Goat Cheese Salad
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
- drizzle of honey
- 4 cups of arugula
To Make Fried Goat Cheese
- Divide goat cheese into four 2-oz. portions.
- Press each 2-oz piece of goat cheese between 2 sheets of wax paper until they are about ½” thick.
- Remove the top layer of wax to finish shaping the cheese into uniform round disks with your hands.
- Replace wax paper and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the disks are firm.
- Create a “breading station” by adding whisked egg white to a shallow dish, and the Panko breadcrumbs to another.
- Once firm, dip each goat cheese round into the egg whites until coated on both sides.
- Then dip the coated goat cheese rounds into the Panko breadcrumbs.
- Make sure each goat cheese round is thoroughly covered in breadcrumbs on both sides.
- In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat until it starts to “dance.”
- Carefully add each coated crouton to the pan with a slotted spatula and turn as soon as the first side becomes golden brown.
- Remove from oil as soon as second side is equally browned and set on a wire rack.
- Don’t allow croutons to stay in hot oil too long or the goat cheese will become too melted to hold its shape.
The Savory Version
- Divide salad greens among 4 plates and drizzle with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
- Add any of the savory topping you wish
- Top each plate with a warm goat cheese crouton and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Garnish with a sliced strawberry if you wish!
The Sweet Version
- Divide the arugula among 4 plate or lay on a large platter.
- Add your dried figs, and chopped walnuts.
- Top with your fried goat cheese.
- Drizzle honey over the entire salad and then drizzle the aged balsamic vinegar.
A Great Salad for Lunch or Dinner
This warm goat cheese salad is such a treat every time I make it! I like to surprise my guests with variety on the dinner table, so I offer both the sweet and the savory version. This salad is always a hit, I haven't come across anyone yet who doesn't love the fried goat cheese!
Which version of the warm goat cheese salad would you make? The sweet or the savory? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!