I’m in love. I made up this salad out of stuff I had on hand while cooking and dining solo at Gumbo Cove and fell hard. 💕 So hard that I made it two nights in a row for myself, and the night after I returned to Glover Gardens for The Grill-Meister.
I can’t think of a fancy name, so I’m just identifying it by its main ingredients, the Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Shrimp and Balsamic Dressing. It also has red onion and avocado. This is a winning team of ingredients, my friends! The peppery arugula is the perfect foundation for the creamy goat cheese and shrimp, and the balsamic dressing ties it all together like a bow on a birthday present.
Why do I love it so? Let me count the ways:
- It is easy
- It is quick
- It is classy
- It is colorful
- It has seafood
- It has goat cheese
- It is light and summery and yet rich and filling at the same time
- It hits all of these tastes: tart, tangy, salty, sweet
- There are nice texture variations
- It can easily be vegetarian
- It can easily be vegan
- It can be an entree salad or a side
Are you sold? Check out how easy this is to make, and you’ll fall in love, too.
Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Shrimp and Balsamic Dressing Recipe
Serves 1 as an entree, 2 as a side salad – multiply as necessary for larger groups
- 1 tbsp good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar, plus extra, for drizzling
- 3 cups arugula
- 1/2 small avocado, cut in cubes
- 1 thick slice of red onion, quartered and separated
- 2 oz goat cheese, sliced
- 8 cooked shrimp (see Notes)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix the oil and vinegar together in a small bowl. Put the arugula in a medium bowl, add the avocado and onions, then pour on the dressing. Add salt and freshly ground pepper, then toss. For the entree salad, put the arugula mixture on a dinner plate, then arrange the shrimp and goat cheese on top, and drizzle with a little more balsamic vinegar. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
For side salads, distribute the arugula mixture between two salad plates or shallow bowls and then add the shrimp and goat cheese.
About the Shrimp
Your cooked shrimp for this recipe can be grilled, sauteed, baked or boiled. I prefer grilled or baked for this recipe, but any of them will do! You’ll find an easy recipe for baking shrimp here or click below; I shared these instructions the first time I made the salad.
If you make the salad as a side, you may want to halve the goat cheese slices as I did below; they could seem a little large on a luncheon plate.
Balsamic Vinegar Choices
Because there are only two ingredients in the dressing, using a high-quality balsamic vinegar for this recipe is really important. The final drizzle of just the balsamic is something I didn’t think of until I made this dish the third time (see the side salad pics above), and it really made a difference, visually and taste-wise.
I’ve tried two different balsamic vinegars, and both were great. The first was a spicy Serrano-Honey Balsamic from Pass Christian Olive Oils and Vinegars (in Mississippi). This was my favorite – the spicy kick from the serrano and the sweetness that the honey added were absolutely perfect for my salad. I love this little shop and luckily, their goods are available online. The Serrano-Honey vinegar is listed under Wine Vinegars / Specialty Vinegars.
The second one I used was Fig Balsamic vinegar, and while it was really good, I found that I missed the spicy kick from the serrano version. But since the salad was great with both balsamic choices, I’m tempted to try out others. Heck, the dressing is so easy I think I’m going to be putting it on a lot of other dishes, which will give me a lot of options to play with the vinegar flavors.
Variations on a Theme
This salad is great as-is and needs no other embellishments! But it is very flexible – the addition of crab the second time I made it was lovely. Here are a few other ideas:
- Sliced chicken or steak instead of shrimp
- A crab cake instead of shrimp (OMG!!!!)
- Addition (or substitution) of lump crab
- Feta instead of goat cheese for a saltier taste
- Grilled tofu for a vegetarian version
- Addition of halved grape tomatoes
- Addition of toasted nuts
Stay in Touch
If you make this salad, let me know what you think. I’d love to know what type of balsamic vinegar you used, and if you tried any other variations.
© 2020, Glover Gardens