This light and delicious pear and goat cheese salad features baked goat cheese balls over a bed of butter lettuce with sliced ripe pears drizzled with a champagne vinaigrette. Every bite of this salad is a delight!
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Baked Goat Cheese Ball and Pear Salad
This salad is light and delicious, and stars a recent favorite - perfect, delicious baked crunchy goat cheese balls.
This salad perfectly marries the warm and gooey crave-worthy saltiness of our goat cheese balls with the distinct sweetness of ripe and juicy pears. When served over crisp butter lettuce and drizzled with a homemade champagne vinaigrette the result is fabulous.
This is the perfect salad to share with a friend or serve at a nice lunch or brunch. The salad manages to be both light and flavorful. It’s sure to impress.
How to Make Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
I have a post just about the goat cheese balls I use to top this salad if you'd like more information.
- Goat cheese. Chevre, the most common kind of goat cheese, is rich, creamy and melts beautifully. Although it’s made all around the world in many different ways, the most common in the U.S. is soft and comes in a log.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is generally considered to be the highest quality olive oil option. It has a distinct and sometimes spicy finish, but is amazing for marinating and a perfect compliment to goat cheese.
- Cloves of Garlic. Garlic, part of the allium family, is a critical ingredient to many dishes. In this recipe it’s used both for marinating and to bake afterward. Yum.
- Lemon. Lemon adds both brightness and a little bit of acid to this recipe.
- Panko Breadcrumbs. The crispy crunchy coating on these balls is made of delicious panko.
- Italian Seasoning. Italian seasoning is usually a mix of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. Each brand has its own blend, so I like to try a lot of different types to find my preference.
- Celtic Sea Salt. I prefer Celtic Sea Salt to table salt because the flavor profile is richer and it has more minerals in it.
- Fresh Cracked Pepper. I prefer fresh cracked pepper in this recipe to ground black pepper, although it’s a fine substitution if you’re in a pinch. When pepper is first cracked it has the most flavor and bite.
For the salad:
- Butter Lettuce. Butter lettuce is the ideal green for this salad. It’s known for its soft and tender texture and mild flavor that serves as an ideal platform for the more flavorful parts of this salad. In addition to being the perfect salad base layer, it's also full of vitamins and minerals and is a healthy part of most diets.
- Sliced pear. Pears are known for being mild and sweet, with a sometimes satisfyingly granular texture. They pair particularly well with savory ingredients like meats and cheeses.
- Champagne vinaigrette. For this recipe you can either make your own dressing https://sweetcsdesigns.com/easy-champagne-vinaigrette/ or use store bought.
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, make this salad according to the following method:
Make baked goat cheese balls.
- Prep. Wash lettuce and tear into small to medium sized pieces. Select your pear and slice into thin pieces.
- Dress. Drizzle with champagne dressing and toss. Place your goat cheese balls on top of the salad when serving.
Tips and tricks to the perfect pear and goat cheese salad:
Serve with warm goat cheese balls. After baking your goat cheese balls allow them to cool long enough to move, but keep them warm enough so they are satisfyingly melty when topping your salad.
Serve on chilled plates. If you want to make this salad feel even fancier, chill your salad bowls or plates in the freezer before serving. The contrast of hot goat cheese and cold salad is delightful!
While this salad can be saved for up to two days, it really is best eaten fresh. We recommend saving leftover goat cheese balls that won't be eaten separately from dressed lettuce and pears so they don't get soggy. They can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
Apples, persimmons, and fresh figs are all a delicious swap for pears in this recipe.
If you don't have butter lettuce, use romaine, or another mild, broad leaf lettuce.
candied almonds or pecans are lovely on this salad, as are thinly sliced almonds, pine nuts, or other nuts!
We recommend a Champagne Vinaigrette or other light dressing for this salad. For our champagne vinaigrette recipe, click here.
Grilled or cooked chicken and fish are delicious over this salad, as they have a light, mild flavor and won't overpower the delicate balance.
What to Serve With Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
Since pears, butter lettuce, and goat cheese are all lighter flavors, I prefer going with lighter options like chicken or fish to pair with this salad - though it is lovely before eating a rich, hearty ribeye roast or even on Thanksgiving before you sit down to perfect, juicy brown bag turkey!
For an elegant dinner party, this salad is lovely with broiled lobster tails or a Langoustine Étouffée. It is light and versatile enough for an everyday dinner, and goes great alongside baked pork tenderloin. It's also delicious with crispy baked chicken drumsticks, as well.
For more of our chicken recipes, please visit some of our recent favorites below:
Pear & Goat Cheese Salad Recipe
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Light, delicious salad with butter lettuce, fresh pears, hot crispy goat cheese balls and a champagne vinaigrette.
- 8 oz goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4-8 cloves garlic
- ½ lemon, sliced
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon Italian Herbs seasoning
- 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1 head butter lettuce, washed, drained, and patted dry
- 1 pear, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinaigrette
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice goat cheese into 6 discs. Gently press into ball shape, including any cheese that may crumble off as it is sliced.
- Add to a small dish or plate and cover with olive oil, garlic cloves, and lemon slices. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at least 1 hour, up to overnight, in the refrigerator.
- In a plate or shallow bowl, mix panko, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Remove cheese from olive oil marinade and roll in panko, making sure to coat cheese well in breadcrumbs and seasoning.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake 15 minutes, flipping once if desired (carefully slide onto spatula to flip), until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let set at least 5 minutes before moving from baking pan.
- In a large bowl, toss butter lettuce, champagne vinaigrette, and pears.
- Place into 3 bowls and top each bowl with 2 goat cheese balls.
Amount Per Serving Calories 459Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 35mgSodium 1486mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 4gSugar 9gProtein 18g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.