A bright and fresh Arugula Salad that is bursting with sweet berries and topped with an easy honey mustard salad dressing. Elevate your salad to restaurant level by topping it with warm and crispy air fryer fried goat cheese!
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Strawberry Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese
Summer is here, and that means it’s time to celebrate the return of warm weather by making yourself a bold, colorful Arugula Salad with Fried Goat Cheese! This arugula recipe has got a little of everything: crunchy pecans, fresh strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, you name it.
And the fried goat cheese? Unreal. You will be obsessed with this simple, fairly healthy topping. Goat cheese is breaded and then “fried” in either the air fryer or on the stovetop. No need for insane amounts of oil or a deep fryer today!
This simple arugula salad (also sometimes called ‘Rocket Salad’) is so versatile. You can make it as a light lunch, an appetizer, a quick dinner, etc. It doesn’t matter where in the meal plan you slot it in, just make sure you do – this goat cheese and arugula salad recipe is a can’t-miss combination!
Why You’ll Love This Goat Cheese Salad
This colorful goat cheese salad is a must-make recipe for so many reasons. Here are just a few for you to consider:
- Great Texture: The crispiness and creaminess of the fried goat cheese and the crunch of the pecans gives great contrast to the soft berries – every bite of this salad is dreamlike!
- Bold Flavors: From the mildly spicy arugula to the sweet, sugary berries to the buttery goat cheese, this salad has bold flavors down pat.
- Quick and Easy: You can have everything prepped and ready to be eaten in under 30 minutes. It definitely looks like this salad took a lot more effort to put together, though!
What is Arugula?
Leafy arugula (also known as rocket, hence the nickname rocket salad) may look like lettuce, but it’s actually a cruciferous veggie like broccoli or cabbage. It has a somewhat spicy, pepper-like flavor, which makes it the perfect choice for a flavorful salad like this one. Today we’ll be using baby arugula, though, which tends to have a milder spicy taste.
Let’s get into what you’ll need for this arugula salad with goat cheese. Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the exact portions.
For the Salad:
- Arugula: I like to use fresh baby arugula because, as mentioned above, it has a mild, peppery flavor.
- Berries: You can customize this salad according to your own preferences, but I like to throw in strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
- Pecans: Again, there are a number of nuts that would work here, but I love using roasted pecans. For a sweeter bite, you could use candied pecans instead.
- Salad Dressing: Honey Mustard Salad Dressing is my favorite, but feel free to try other kinds like this refreshing Orange Salad Dressing or my favorite Greek Salad Dressing.
For the Fried Goat Cheese:
- Goat Cheese: You’ll need a goat cheese log to make fried goat cheese, but if you would rather skip this part and just add crumbled goat cheese over the top of your salad, that works too!
- Egg: To ensure that the breadcrumbs stick to the cheese while it fries.
- Breadcrumbs: I like to use a mix of panko breadcrumbs and seasoned breadcrumbs (store brand is fine).
- Seasoning: A simple mix of salt and black pepper is all you need.
- Oil or Oil Spray: For frying the cheese in a pan, or for spraying in the air fryer so that the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom of the basket.
How to Make Arugula Salad with Fried Goat Cheese
So there are two parts to putting this strawberry goat cheese salad together: assembling and mixing the salad ingredients and frying the goat cheese. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to follow:
- Combine the Salad Ingredients: Add arugula, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and pecans to a large bowl and toss everything.
- Slice and Freeze the Goat Cheese: Cut the goat cheese into ½ inch circles, place them on a tray, and place the tray in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Set Up the Breading Process: Use a medium size bowl, add the egg, stir, and set aside. In a small, shallow bowl, mix to combine the panko and breadcrumbs with the salt and pepper.
- Bread the Cheese: Dip the goat cheese rounds, one at a time, into the egg wash and then press them into the breadcrumb mixture and set to the side. Repeat until all the goat cheese rounds are coated.
- If You are Using the Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F and spray it with non-stick spray. Place coated goat rounds in the air fryer basket. Cook on 375°F for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
- If You are Using the Stove Top: Heat about an inch of oil in a small skillet to 350°F. Fry the goat cheese rounds for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- Assemble and Enjoy: Place the fried goat cheese rounds on top of the arugula salad and serve with honey mustard salad dressing, to taste!
Tips for Success
There you have it! A vibrant spring or summer salad, done in just under half an hour. Check out the following tips for even more info on how to serve the best arugula salad:
- To Get a Deep-Fried Feel with Your Goat Cheese: Once the cheese is coated with the breadcrumbs, you can lightly mist them with olive or avocado oil for a more “fried” feel. I didn’t use oil and didn’t feel I needed it, but this is definitely an option.
- Warm Up Your Salad Dressing: If you like a warm salad, you can also heat the salad dressing before pouring it over your salad.
- Add Honey For Extra Sweetness: The honey mustard salad dressing is light and fresh and pairs great with this arugula salad. If you want a little more sweetness, a drizzle of honey over the crispy fried goat cheese is a nice touch.
Variations for Arugula Salad
I’m a big fan of this recipe as-is, but sometimes it’s good to switch things up. These are some suggestions for new add-ins:
- Cheese: If you’re not a big fan of goat cheese, you could use crumbled feta cheese or blue cheese instead.
- Fruit: Raspberries or apple slices could work well in this salad instead of the other berries if needed!
- Nuts: If you aren’t a fan of pecans, walnuts or almonds would also be great. You can also use candied nuts for an added sweetness.
- Onion: I skipped the onion this time, but some thinly sliced red onion is also a great addition.
- Protein: If you want this salad to be a little more filling, try adding chopped Grilled Chicken in, too!
Wondering what to serve your blueberry arugula salad with? The fast answer is anything, but here are a few specific ideas:
- Chicken: Any kind will do, but I would recommend trying it with these Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets! They pair perfectly with this salad and could even be served right on top!
- Burgers: Arugula salad is perfect for grilling season. It would also be great with this Crockpot Sloppy Joes recipe!
- Sandwiches: Salad and a sandwich (like this Air Fryer Grilled Cheese) is a pretty fantastic combo, don’t you think?
How to Store This Salad
Once assembled, this rocket salad is best served fresh. If you have leftovers, though, here’s how to store them:
- For the Salad: If stored separately, the dressing can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 7 days. Store the salad with fresh berries for up to 3 days in the fridge.
- For the Goat Cheese: The goat cheese rounds can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer for a minute or two until warmed through.
More Summer Salads to Try
If you’re big on light, easy-to-prep salads that are bursting with flavor, check out these recipes:
- Broccoli Salad
- Orzo Salad with Arugula
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Mexican Corn Salad
- Easy Chickpea Salad
- Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
Arugula Salad with Fried Goat Cheese
For the Salad:
- 5 oz fresh baby arugula
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 6 oz blueberries
- 6 oz blackberries
- ½ cup roasted pecans
- 1 batch Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
For the Fried Goat Cheese:
- 8 oz goat cheese log
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Oil or oil spray
- Salad: Add arugula, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and pecans in a large bowl and toss.
- Fried Goat Cheese: Cut the goat cheese into ½ inch circles, place on a tray and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Use a medium size bowl, add the egg, and stir and set aside. In a small, shallow bowl, mix to combine the panko and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.
- Dip the goat cheese rounds, one at a time, into the egg wash and then press into the breadcrumb mixture and set to the side. Repeat until all goat cheese rounds are coated.
- Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F and spray with non-stick spray. Place coated goat rounds in the air fryer basket. Cook on 375°F for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
- Stove Top: Heat about an inch of oil in a small skillet to 350°F. Fry goat cheese rounds for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- Place the fried goat cheese rounds on top of the arugula salad and serve with honey mustard salad dressing, to taste.
- To Store the Salad: If stored separately, the dressing can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 7 days. Store the salad with fresh berries for up to 3 days in the fridge.
- To Store the Goat Cheese: The goat cheese rounds can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer for a minute or two until warmed through.