Goat Cheese Fritter & Apple Salad with Brown Sugar pecans and maple vinaigrette
This Goat Cheese Fritter and Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty meal with enough components to make each bite interesting and filling.
Salads are probably the #1 thing I miss the most about going out to eat. They seem so simple to make yet require so much layering to actually feel substantial that I didn’t think I had the patience to create a worthwhile salad at home. However, as we enter month 6 (7? 8? I don’t even know anymore!) of the pandemic, I knew it was time to finally come up with a worthwhile homemade salad and lemme tell you what, I am so glad this one came out of that craving!
This goat cheese fritter and apple salad was inspired by a similar salad I had for take-out from a restaurant a few week ago where they served a pile of deep fried goat cheese on top of a salad – I repeat, FRIED CHEESE on top of a salad! As you can imagine, it was AMAZING. However, deep frying is not something I’m looking to do for a weeknight dinner so instead I took a page out of Ina’s book and made some pan fried goat cheese to top this salad with.
Okay, here’s the thing about this salad – it has a lot of components and may seem complicated at first glance but it’s not! To make a salad truly cravable and satisfying (in my eyes at least), you need lots of different components of crunchy, savory, sweet, light, and tangy to keep each bite interesting. Although I make you create several different components for this, they all come together really quickly and you can have this salad on the table in under 30 minutes.
When making this, start by assembling the goat cheese slices so they have time to chill in the freezer. Then make the dressing so the golden raisins can sit in the dressing while you prepare everything else so they have time to plump up and absorb the dressing flavors. From there, you can use the same pan to toast the pepitas / pumpkin seeds, candy the pecans, and fry up the cheese. While the cheese is frying up, you can chop the apples and wash the greens so everything can be assembled and devoured as soon as the cheese is warm and ready.
If you don’t have golden raisins on hand then you can definitely substitute with dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots. However, if you feel like purchasing some golden raisins, I have a few other recipes that I can point you to in order to use them up (such as my Turmeric Rice recipe and my Easy Broccoli Salad recipe).
This Goat Cheese Fritter and Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette is a full on meal with enough components to make each bite interesting and filling. This serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side salad.
- 8 oz round goat cheese log cut into 8 1 ounce rounds
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- dash of salt
- dash of pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup pepita seeds
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 medium apple cored and thinly sliced
- 5 oz lettuce mix, washed
Cut the goat cheese log into 1 ounce rounds (you should have 8 pieces total). Dip each piece of the goat cheese slice into the beaten egg followed by the breadcrumbs (you may need to press the goat cheese slightly into the breadcrumbs to help them stick), making sure both sides of the slices are coated with egg and breadcrumbs. Transfer to a plate and stick in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, dash of salt and dash of pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking to incorporate it into the dressing. Add the golden raisins and toss so they are coated with the dressing. Set aside.
In a small frying pan, toast the pepita seeds over medium-low until just starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to the large mixing bowl with the dressing.
Using the same pan, warm 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp water over medium-low heat, whisking often, until the sugar is melted, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Remove from heat and splash in another tsp of water to deglaze the pan. Sprinkle a little salt over the pecans and toss one more time. Set them on a plate to cool.
Wipe the pan clean and put back on the stovetop over medium heat. Pour in 1 Tbsp olive oil and add enough goat cheese rings to fill the pan but not crowd it (none should be touching). Cook for for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until turning golden brown. Carefully flip and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute on that side until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the rest of the goat cheese slices, adding more olive oil (1 Tbsp at a time) as needed.
Add the apple slices and lettuce mix to the mixing bowl with the dressing and toss until everything is coated. Transfer to a large serving platter or bowl and top with the brown sugar pecans and goat cheese fritters. Serve right away.
Make sure to tag Vegetarian ‘Ventures on Instagram and use #vegetarianventures when trying this dish out!
This salad was AMAZING, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make the candied pecans. So many different layers in this salad to keep it interesting, and you could easily take any of the components (golden raisin dressing, pecans, or the fried goat cheese rounds) from this recipe for other salads. I made this salad with all the listed ingredients, and it was it truly restaurant quality. I’m also pleasantly surprised by how budget friendly this was, the most expensive thing was the goat cheese log. It came out to about $4 a portion as the recipe made 4 large appetizers, and when eating it, this salad definitely eats more like a $10 salad! Thank you for this recipe!!