This Caramelized Goat Cheese and Strawberry Spinach Salad is the perfect mix of sweet and savory. Full of fresh, bright flavors, this salad is the perfect light summer meal.
Happy Meatless Monday! As you know, I’m an official Meatless Monday Blogger and I truly love bringing you inspired, delicious, and easy vegetarian meals. (Want to learn more about the why and how behind Meatless Monday? You can check out this post I did for more information!)
So, this salad. A goat cheese and strawberry spinach salad… Classic. It’s a favorite, and for good reason. I don’t like to mess with classics too much. I believe in the simplicity of dishes and letting the produce shine through. And strawberries are so perfect right now. If you can get some beautiful local strawberries, even better. That’s really the star of the show here. Throw in some fresh spinach, watercress, torched honey goat cheese, crunchy almonds, and a super-simple balsamic vinaigrette? Pure gold.
What on earth made me think of caramelizing goat cheese? I LOVE my kitchen blowtorch, you guys. Using a blowtorch makes me feel empowered. Hahaha. I love caramelizing things, too, and watching as sugar slowly turns golden and liquid and beautifully burnt.
If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you need to get on that. Now. ASAP. I’ll link some that I recommend and use myself below. Get one now! Just think of all the possibilities. Crème brûlée. Caramelized cheese. S’Mores at the ready…whenever you want.
Whenever I use a blowtorch I’m instantly transported back to my years of working at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. We made crème brûlée daily, and sometimes by the thousand. There would be sheet pans upon sheet pans of ramekin-filled brûlées spread among our stainless steel tables. As an assembly line, we would torch them, plate them, and send them out. We did a lot of catering. And a lot of blow-torching. Pounds and pounds of sugar and burning through butane fuel cans. I miss my Hyatt days.
Oh okay, so back to the whole torching cheese thing. There’s a cheese place here in Portland called Cheese and Crack. They serve this caramelized brie as part of their cheese plate and it’s so, so, so good. It was my inspiration for deciding to torch goat cheese.
…Right?! Caramelized cheese, who knew?! (*said like Flynn Ryder a-la frying pans, who knew?!* …if you get this reference, let’s discuss in the comments about how much we love Tangled.)
For this salad, I used Laura Chenel’s Honey Goat Cheese. I love their cheeses so if you can use this cheese, please do. The honey is subtle and floral and pairs beautifully with the sweet strawberries.
To torch the cheese, just slice it, sprinkle it with raw Turbinado sugar, and brûlée it until caramel-y and delicious. It’ll form a crunchy shell and take on a deeper, caramelized flavor.
That’s the only “cooking” part you have to do with the salad, and it really isn’t even cooking. It’s totally fun. After that, everything comes together quickly, including the dressing. This dressing recipe will make much more than you need, but you will want extra of it. It’s a delicious, easy dressing that stores nicely.
Here are a few things you may need or want for this recipe:
This post includes affiliate links but are always products I love + recommend!
This Caramelized Goat Cheese and Strawberry Spinach Salad is fresh, easy, and the perfect light summer meal.
For the Dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Salad:
- One bunch watercress leaves, trimmed and washed
- 5 ounces baby spinach, washed
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted almonds
- 5 oz goat cheese log (Suggested: Laura Chenel Honey Goat Cheese)
Make the Dressing:
- Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigiriously until completely combined. You will not need all of this dressing. You can cut the recipe in half, or store the leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
Assemble the Salad:
- Combine the watercress leaves, spinach, sliced strawberries, and chopped almonds. Toss.
- Slice the goat cheese into thick slices. Freeze the goat cheese for 15 minutes if the goat cheese is too soft so that it doesn’t melt when it gets torched.
- Sprinkle each goat cheese slice with an even coat of raw sugar. Caramelize the sugar evenly with a kitchen blowtorch. Do this on a glass plate.
- Toss the salad with a few tablespoons of the dressing to taste. Carefully use a spatula to lift the pieces of goat cheese and place on top.