Arugula and Apple Goat Cheese Salad

Not sure about you, but we’re always on the lookout for the best portable salad to keep in our pockets. You know, the one you can throw together in a pinch? The one that requires minimal work yet yields most flavor? The Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Apple Salad is a new go-to in our mental recipe bank. Apples, goat cheese, and arugula are a great match for the tangy sweetness of the dressing because of their crispness and creaminess, respectively. It’s quick to make and requires few ingredients, but boy, does it pack a flavorful punch.

Recipe for arugula and goat cheese salad

One of our favorite ways to enhance the flavor of a salad is by adding goat cheese. The following ingredients create a flavorful symphony in this salad:

  • Goat cheese: soft goat cheese (also known as chevre) works best here, though pre-packaged crumbles would do in a pinch.
  • Seedling arugula: Baby arugula is the way to go, as regular arugula packs way too much heat.
  • Apple: A red, crisp apple is ideal, but a Granny Smith can do in a pinch.
  • A shallot, a milder form of the red onion, adds the finishing touch to any dish.
  • Pecans: You can use any kind of nut you choose, or follow the instructions for enhancing the flavor below.
  • Balsamic vinaigrette: While we prefer this creamy balsamic dressing, there are plenty of alternative options (listed below).

Favorite salad dressing and some substitutes

For this goat cheese salad, our Creamy Balsamic Dressing is the go-to vinaigrette. It’s got the appropriate amount of sour sweetness and a smooth, emulsified consistency. Easy to throw together with just balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Learn it by heart and you’ll always have a go-to salad dressing in your back pocket; it’s our family’s favorite!

But you want some variety? A goat cheese salad is delicious with a variety of vinaigrettes, not just the ones we listed. What we suggest is as follows:

  • Dressing for a Citrus Salad Goat cheese goes wonderfully with citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.
  • Salsa with Mustarda de Dijon Another crowd-pleaser! Add a zing of flavor to your salad with this zesty dressing.
  • Dressing Made With Apple Cider Vinegar Get the most out of the vinegar’s sour taste.

Make the pecans more interesting by toasting or glazing them.

What would make this salad stand out? On weeknights we make this goat cheese and arugula salad with no frills, opting instead for basic almonds. But there are two ways to make this salad shine for guests:

  • Brown the nut butter. The nutty flavor is greatly enhanced by a quick toast in the oven or a skillet. Try some toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
  • Coat the nuts in a glaze. To top it all off, bake some Glazed Pecans! Caramelizing them in a pan with maple syrup will leave them sweet and crispy on the outside once they dry. Try some Glazed Walnuts, too.

There are many goat cheese salad variations.

Changing around the fruits, vegetables, and nuts in this goat cheese and arugula salad yields countless permutations. We can go a few ways:

  • Swap out the walnuts for some almonds or pistachios.
  • Prepare a salad of sliced pears and goat cheese.
  • Toss goat cheese with roasted beets (either store-bought pre-cooked beets or beets you’ve roasted yourself) for a delicious salad.
  • Instead, reach for some strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
  • Instead of eating fruit, try raw or roasted vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes.
  • Substitute baby mixed greens, spinach, or shaved Brussels sprouts for the conventional lettuce.

Comparing Goat Cheese to Cow’s Cheese

Did you know goat cheese is a more nutritious option than other types of cheese made from cow’s milk? A brief comparison is as follows (from the website Prevention):

  • Superior nutritional value than that of cow’s cheese. The nutritional value of goat’s milk exceeds that of cow’s milk. More calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium as well as vitamins A and B are found in it.
  • Low in fat and calories compared to regular cow’s cheese. Compared to popular cow cheeses like mozzarella (85 calories per ounce), Swiss (108 calories per ounce), and cheddar (115 calories per ounce), goat cheese has only 75 calories per ounce.
  • It might be simpler to process. Many people who are lactose intolerant are able to eat goat cheese since it has a lower lactose content and a little different protein structure than cow’s milk.

Quick Glances


  • 1 batch of your favorite dressing—Balsamic, Citrus Salad, or Dijon.
  • One juicy apple
  • Shallot, One
  • Baby arugula (not regular arugula*): 5 ounces (8 cups).
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (toasted or glazed, if you like)
  • Two ounces of crumbled soft goat cheese (chevre)
  • “sea salt”


  • The dressing can be made in a medium bowl.
  • Cut the apple and shallot into very thin slices.
  • Arrange the lettuce on a serving dish. Finish with crumbled soft goat cheese, sliced shallots, apples, pecans, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Dressing and a pinch of salt can be drizzled on top.