This Summer Berry Salad is like summer in a salad bowl! Fresh baby greens, juicy ripe berries, avocado, and cucumber are tossed with a homemade vinaigrette, then topped with sesame crusted baked goat's cheese rounds to take things to the next level. This is your summer salad, elevated.
You know when you go to a restaurant and they've got a big summer berry salad on the menu, topped with goat's cheese and candied nuts and stuff like that? Those salads are damn delicious, but it always peeves me that they're essentially the same price as ordering a steak.
I'll let you in on a little secret, though: it's super easy to make a damn delicious summer berry salad of your own! And since it's your salad, you get to make the rules.
Want to make it a spinach and strawberry salad? You can!
How about blueberry and arugula? Sure thing!
Baby kale and raspberry? Why the heck not?!
This precise summer berry salad that I'm sharing with you today gets taken to the next level with warm, crispy rounds of sesame baked goat's cheese. Don't let that put you off making this - it's easier than it looks and everything comes together super fast, I promise!
What ingredients are in this summer berry salad?
Alright, get your pen and paper... just kidding, there's a printable check list in the recipe card below! You're going to need some:
- Berries! --> I'm using fresh ripe strawberries today, but you can change them up or use a mix as you see fit.
- Greens --> I used a blend of baby spinach and peppery arugula.
- Cucumber --> I'm using long English.
- Avocado --> One big ripe guy will do.
- Goat's cheese --> A nice soft log of chevre.
- Egg --> That's gonna be the glue.
- Sesame seeds --> I used a mix of black and white.
- Red wine vinaigrette --> More details on that below.
How do you make sesame baked goat's cheese?
It's really very simple to make this baked goat's cheese recipe, but it does dirty up a few dishes and for that I am sorry.
What you're going to want to do is set up an assembly line. Start by slicing the goat's cheese into 6-8 rounds.
Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk vigorously.
Combine the sesame seeds with some salt and pepper in another bowl.
Set up a parchment-lined baking sheet to receive the goat's cheese.
Then, you'll use one hand to dunk goat's cheese rounds into the egg mixture and transfer it to the sesame seed bowl, where you'll use your other hand to scatter sesame seeds over the top and press them into the goat's cheese.
Keeping a wet hand and a dry hand isn't essential, but it will make the job less messy. In any case, it'll be over with in a matter of minutes, and then you can wash your hands, so no biggie.
Arrange the crusted goat's cheese rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and then pop them into the oven to bake for about 8-10 minutes.
NOTE: Your goat's cheese can go from perfectly baked to exploding out of the confines of the sesame seed boarder in a matter of just a couple of minutes, so keep a very close eye on them towards the end of the baking time.
While the goat's cheese is baking you can whip up your vinaigrette. Here's what's going in this one:
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Smooth Dijon mustard
- Dried oregano
- Crushed garlic
- A touch of honey
- Salt and pepper
The easiest way to make this vinaigrette is to combine all of the ingredients into a small glass jar, screw a lid on, and shake the heck out of it. Taste it, adjust the seasonings if necessary, and you're done!
Now you're ready to assemble your summer berry salad!
In a wide-rimmed shallow salad bowl, combine the greens, cucumber, berries, and avocado. Toss with some vinaigrette, then top with warm goat's cheese rounds to finish.
Can this salad be made in advance?
Given the highly perishable nature of fresh berries and avocado, this salad is best served immediately.
However, you can make the vinaigrette in advance, and the goat's cheese rounds can be pre-crusted and kept in the fridge until just before baking, which will eliminate most of the prep work.
Can this salad be made vegan?
Hey Nutrition Lady, what's good about this salad?
Glad you asked!
Spinach is an excellent source vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and calcium (good for your bones), folate, potassium, and vitamin B6 (good for your heart), iron, vitamin B2, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. And, spinach is a great source of dietary fiber.
Strawberries are packed full of antioxidant and anti inflammatory nutrients. They are a great source of lycopene, vitamin C and manganese. Strawberries are also a very good source of folate, iodine, and dietary fiber.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Summer Berry Salad with Sesame Baked Goat's Cheese
For the Baked Goat's Cheese
- 8 oz soft goat cheese sliced into 6-8 rounds
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup sesame seeds black, white, or a mix
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the dressing
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Summer Berry Salad
- 6 cups seasonal baby greens washed and dried (I used spinach and arugula)
- 1 cup seasonal berries washed and sliced (depending on their size)
- ½ medium long English cucumber diced
- 1 large avocado quartered and sliced
To make the Baked Goat's Cheese
- Pre-heat your oven to 400°C / 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Crack the egg into a medium bowl and whisk well.
- Place ½ cup sesame seeds into another bowl with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Dunk a round of goat's cheese into the egg and turn it over to ensure it's well coated.
- Transfer to the bowl with the sesame seeds, and use your dry hand to scatter seeds over the top. Press the seeds into the goat's cheese.
- Transfer the crusted goat's cheese to the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with remaining cheese rounds.
- Place the goat's cheese into the pre-heated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, watching carefully towards the end to ensure the seeds are not burning and the cheese is not expanding beyond the seeds.
- Remove the goat's cheese rounds from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Make the dressing
- While the goat's cheese is baking, make the red wine vinaigrette.
- Combine 4 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon honey, ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt, and ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a small jar. Shake well to combine.
- Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.
Make the salad
- In a shallow wide-rimmed salad bowl, combine the greens, cucumber, avocado, and berries.
- Toss with a bit of vinaigrette.
- Top with baked goat's cheese rounds, and serve immediately.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
This recipe was originally published July 5, 2012. It was re-tested, re-photographed, and updated June 20, 2019.
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