Apple and Goat Cheese Salad: Here is How

One of my favorite salad combinations is made with apple, goat cheese and red onion. I discovered it years ago during a vacation to Quebec where the fresh maple syrup scented the air. The mildly tangy cheese pairs beautifully with the natural sweetness of apple for a match made in heaven.

This starter salad or side dish has since become a staple in my home. I like to add toasted pumpkin seeds for extra crunch and protein and dress it with a simple tangy balsamic dressing. On busy weeknights, I’ll serve the salad as a light lunch or enjoy it alongside grilled chicken or fish for a full meal. No matter the time of day, its refreshing flavors and textures never disappoint. The favorite ingredients come together harmoniously for the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

Apple and Goat Cheese Salad

Now, we will learn about all the ingredients, and how to make it. We will also discuss some variations.

What You Will Love About Apple Goat Cheese Salad

This nourishing salad comes together in just minutes but its flavor is anything but simple. The combination of tart apples, sweet cranberries and creamy goat cheese create a bright, delicious flavor burst with each bite. You’ll love how versatile it is too – enjoy it on its own as a light side dish or serve alongside grilled chicken for a more filling full meal. The bold, yet balanced flavors of this seasonal salad make it a perfect option for any meal all year long.


6 cups torn mixed salad greens
2 medium apples, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup green grapes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese


  1. In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, apples, raisins, and grapes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice, and garlic.
  3. Pour the dressing over the greens mixture and gently toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle the salad with walnuts and goat cheese. Enjoy!

Best salad dressing, and a few alternatives

My favorite for this goat cheese salad is a Creamy Balsamic Dressing that adds both sweet and tart flavour. A combination of balsamic vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard blended with olive oil creates an emulsified texture that is rich yet light. It’s the perfect partner for this salad and a breeze to memorize for future salads as well.

For those who prefer something even creamier, substituting Greek yogurt for part of the oil results in a creamy dressing that is also best loved. And no house salad repertoire is complete without a classic vinaigrette made from red wine vinegar, shallot, and seasoning. Any of these dressings make this already delicious salad shine even brighter.

Mix It Up

You can also mix it up between vinaigrettes depending on your mood. I love to pair the goat cheese salad with different dressings to make it feel indulgent yet fresh. A few other dressings I’d recommend:

Citrus Salad Dressing– Made with orange and lemon juice, this is an ideal combination of bright citrus with the creamy goat cheese.

Dijon Mustard Dressing – A family favorite with a nice pop of flavour from the mustard, it coats each ingredient beautifully.

Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing – For those who enjoy a big, tangy flavour, apple cider vinegar ( ACV) takes this salad to the next level.

The possibilities are endless! Feel free to experiment with your favorite herbs, spices and acids until you find the perfect complement.

Step Up the Pecans: Toast Them or Glaze Them!

This apple goat cheese salad made with arugula is the perfect weeknight dish. But for entertaining, there are a few easy ways to make it sparkle. Instead of using plain nuts, toast or glaze them for extra flavor.

For Toasted Pecans, spread them on a baking sheet and roast in a 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes, shaking halfway, until fragrant and crunchy. You’ll taste the difference a little toast makes to enhance the already nutty flavor.

Toasted Walnuts and Toasted Almonds are also superb toppings. For Glazed Pecans, melt maple syrup in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring, until the syrup caramelizes and coats the outside edges, leaving the interiors dry and sweet.

Similarly, try Glazed Walnuts for an irresistible sweet-salty crunch. The options are endless for dressing up this already delicious salad!

Variations on this Goat Cheese Salad

The possibilities are truly infinite for variations on this goat cheese salad made with arugula. Feel free to swap the fruits, veggies or nuts for different kinds of options.

You could use different nuts like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios. Or transform it into a pear goat cheese salad with sliced pears.

For a roasted flavor, toss roasted beets into a beet goat cheese salad- the easiest kind use pre-cooked packaged beets that you just need to warm in the oven or store.

Any type of fresh berries like blueberries, blackberries or strawberries also make a colorful swap for the fruit. You can even mix up the veggies – try it with carrots, raw or roasted sweet potatoes.

Play with mixing leafy greens like baby mixed greens, spinach or even shaved Brussels sprouts depending on what you have on hand. The options are limitless!

Green Salad Tips

When preparing salad ingredients in advance, it’s best to chop and toss everything separately then serve by combining just before eating for freshest results. Don’t toss everything together too far ahead or the leafy greens may brown where they are exposed to air. For longer longevity when refrigerated, you can swap out delicate leaves like mesclun or spinach for something more hardy that can withstand dressing better, like romaine or kale. While hearty greens have thick ribs that may need removing, the benefit is they can marinate faster. A big bunch of kale, for example, still tastes great even after a long soak. Be sure to add acids like vinegar or citrus juice when tossing to tenderize the leaves. And nothing freshens up a salad like adding fresh herbs right before serving.

READ: Banana Bread with Pear

Nutrition Facts

NutrientAmount per 3/4 cup
Total Fat6g
Saturated Fat1g
Cholesterol3 mg
Sodium31 mg
Total Carbohydrate19g
Dietary Fiber2g

Goat Cheese vs Cows Cheese

Goat CheeseParmesan(cow’s milk)Mozzarella(buffalo milk)
Vitamins/MineralsHigher in calcium, phosphorus, vitamins BHigh in protein, calcium, minerals. Aged, which makes it easier to digest.Lower in calcium than goat/Parmesan. More moisture, so less potent flavour.
TasteTangy, grassy flavour often described as more mild and subtle than cow cheeses.Bold, sharp nutty flavour due to ageing process.Mild and milky flavour, similar to fresh cow’s milk.
Lactose ContentNaturally lower lactose content makes it easier for those with lactose intolerance to digest.Aged, which reduces lactose, making it easier to digest than fresh cow cheeses.Higher in lactose, so may cause issues for those who are lactose intolerant.

Here are brief descriptions of Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses:


  • Hard, granular cheese made from cow’s milk
  • Originated in the Parma region of Italy
  • Aged for a minimum of 10 months, which adds rich and complex flavor
  • Commonly grated or shaved over dishes for texture and flavor


  • Soft, often tear-shaped cheese made primarily from buffalo milk (also made from cow’s milk)
  • Originated in Italy, most commonly used on pizza and in dishes like Caprese salad
  • Has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and high moisture content
  • Commonly found in string-pull or bocconcini (pearl-sized balls) forms
  • Melts and browns beautifully when heated

READ: Sweetest Apples


In conclusion, the apple and goat cheese salad creates a tasty blend of flavours, textures, and nutrients. With countless combinations possible using different produce, cheeses and toppings, it offers a healthy yet customizable meal suited for any time of day.


Frequently Asked Questions

What tastes good with goat cheese?

Apple, berries, stone fruits like peach, apricot, and nectarine, cherries, redcurrants, pears, figs, grapes.

What is a good substitute for goat cheese in salads?

Feta cheese or ricotta cheese can be substituted as both are tangy and salty like goat cheese but milder in flavor and creamier in texture.

What are the best apples for salads?

Crisp apples like Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, Piñata®, Jazz, and Envy work well. Empire apples also hold their shape well when sliced or chopped.

What is the fancy name for goat cheese?

Chèvre, which is the French word for goat cheese.

Can you get sliced goat cheese?

Yes, some goat cheeses are made soft and spreadable with a tart yet earthy tangy flavor for slicing or using in recipes like pizza and quiches.

What veggies pair well with goat cheese?

Mixed greens, arugula, romaine lettuce, spinach. Toss the salad, drizzle with dressing, and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Is goat cheese served warm or cold?

Goat cheese is best served at room temperature, so take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

A warm apple and goat cheese salad makes a comforting fall or winter meal. Sliced apples are tossed with mixed greens, then topped with warm goat cheese crumbles. The cheese is allowed to soften slightly and become molten from the apple’s residual heat. A lovely vinaigrette dressing brings together the sweet apple, earthy goat cheese and crisp salad. Serving the salad warm allows the flavours to truly meld together for a cosy yet healthful dinner or lunch option. The apple’s tartness pairs beautifully against the mild heat of the melted cheese.

A popular twist on the classic apple and goat cheese salad is to include candied pecans. When tossing the mixed greens with apple slices, crumbled goat cheese and a light vinaigrette, a handful of toasted candied pecans is added to the mix. Their sweet crunch provides contrast to the salad’s other textures and flavours. Pecans are indigenous to North America and offer healthy fats and nutrients. Candying them involves cooking in butter and sugar to create an addictive glaze. Scattered over the salad, they add further complexity with each nourishing bite. The pecans complement the goat cheese while contrasting with the tart red apples. This variation results in an especially decadent yet still wholesome salad, perfect for fall and winter entertaining or weeknight family meals.

Guide for Goat Cheese Salad Dressing Honey?

While basic vinaigrettes are delicious when paired with an apple and goat cheese salad, experimenting with different dressings can take the meal to the next level. A honey goat cheese salad dressing elevates the combination of flavors. In a small jar or container, softened goat cheese is mixed with honey, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth and creamy. This dressing complements the fruity notes within the apples and goat cheese. A little drizzled over each serving brings everything together harmoniously. The natural acidity from the lemon balances the sweet honey, creating an indulgent yet bright dressing. The goat cheese provides a rich tang that ties the flavors of the dressing to the flavors in the salad. With its lovely combination of sweet, tart and savory elements, a honey goat cheese dressing is sure to become a new favorite for amping up any salad starring two star ingredients – apples and goat cheese.

Who invented goat cheese?

Goat cheese originated in the Mediterranean and Middle East where goats thrived on rough terrain before spreading to France in the 8th century, especially in the Loire Valley.

How healthy is goats cheese?

It provides essential nutrients like vitamin A, B, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium comparable to cow’s cheese.

Guide for apple salad dressing?

Dressings are an important consideration when crafting an apple salad. Vinaigrettes are a classic pairing that accentuate the fruit’s natural sweet-tart flavors. An apple cider or apple juice based dressing takes the pairing to another level. Simply whisking together apple cider or juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, honey or maple syrup, salt and pepper makes for a delicious, subtly apple-infused vinaigrette. The subtle apple essence lifts and enhances all the other components of the salad. For those seeking an even creamier apple salad dressing, yogurts make a great base. Plain greek yogurt, apple sauce or applesauce, lemon juice and fresh herbs like dill can bepureed until smooth and dolloped atop each serving. No matter the dressing chosen, its role is letting the dynamic flavors of apple, greens and topping ingredients shine through.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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