A few days on the Big Island of Hawaii found us enjoying dinner at Merriman's Restaurant. I started dinner with a beautiful Hawaiian style salad with goat cheese and pineapple dressed with a Champagne vinaigrette. I had to recreate it at home. It's light and refreshing with a tropical flavor. I think you'll love it.
Hawaiian Style Salad Recipe
Traveling with us is always about food (and photography). Getting tan and playing golf is many peoples goal for a Hawaiian islands vacation, but not for me. I wanted to go to a goat dairy.
We discovered a local operation producing wonderful goat cheese thanks to our dinner at Merriman's. Known for their regional farm to table Hawaiian cuisine, the restaurant showcases fresh, local ingredients from the island’s agricultural treasure trove.
Farmstead Hawaiian Goat Cheese
I ended up back in the kitchen talking with the chef. He showed me twenty pounds of beautiful, fresh goat cheese from a local farmstead operation, Hawaii Island Goat Dairy. They've been part of the Hawaii island farm to table movement since it's inception.
We wanted to meet the goats and see where this marvelous cheese came from. I called the dairy and they allowed us to come by. I was immediately handed a baby bottle and quickly found myself feeding a sweet, very hungry one-week-old baby goat. Heavenly.
While island restaurants consume all that’s produced, you can still create this colorful and healthy salad at home. Buy good goat cheese from your favorite market.
Not Your Typical Hawaiian Style Salad
This is not your typical Hawaiian macaroni salad, which is macaroni with carrots, celery and onion dressed with best foods mayo dressing. Neither is it the creamy fruit salad sugar bomb made with processed, canned fruit, cool whip and marshmallows.
Sorry, but ewwww. Not my kinds of salads. This is the real deal - fresh, light, and packed with flavor inspired by one of the island's famous restaurants that serve real Hawaiian food.
This is a great salad, a tossed green salad with pineapple chunks, goat cheese, beets, avocado, tomatoes and cucumbers. To me, this is a Hawaiian salad recipe, and it's good to try new recipes, right? Especially when they are made with real, fresh, food.
Hawaiian Style Salad Ingredients (prep ahead)
While there are a few components it's an easy recipe. Make them ahead and you're ready to go for assembly and serving.
- For salad greens, red lettuce works best. Wash and dry your greens ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
- Roast baby beets in the oven. For a shortcut, buy the pre-cooked, packaged beets available at most markets. Trader Joes and Melissa's offer them.
- Halve sweet grape tor cherry tomatoes
- Dice fresh pineapple. If you want to get fancy, grill it.
- Chop up some fresh, seedless cucumber. I like the small Persian cucumbers, but English work too.
- Add a little sliced green onion (optional).
The restaurant served a creamy avocado salad dressing. I add diced avocado to the salad and make an easy Champagne vinaigrette. If you like nuts in salads, a few macadamia nuts would be a terrific and very Hawaiian addition.
Champagne Vinaigrette Recipe
For a simple Champagne vinaigrette to serve 4, add 6 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar to a jar with a tight lid and shake or add to a small bowl and whisk. Add a little Dijon mustard for a flavorful, creamier dressing, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
I list options for making the vinaigrette in the recipe.
Serving Hawaiian Salad
Get the dressing ready, toss the greens in a large bowl with the vinaigrette and add the goodies. Serve a little extra dressing on the side. This is a wonderful salad for a family gathering because of all of the vibrant colors. It looks beautiful arranged on a big platter.
To make it a main course salad, add grilled shrimp or sliced grilled chicken.
For other Hawaiian recipes try my Hawaiian Green Smoothie. And if you're planning a trip to Hawaii and love food, market, and agriculture type tours, look at this link.
Hawaiian Style Salad Recipe with Goat Cheese
To Roast the Beets (or buy pre-cooked to save time)
- 4 small red beets
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 head crisp red lettuce or 1 container pre-washed lettuce
- 12-16 sweet grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
- 4 small spears fresh pineapple diced
- 2 small Persian cucumbers chopped
- 1 ripe avocado split, seeded, quartered then diced
- 4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 egg yolk optional
- 1 small garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot optional
- 2 pinces sea salt
- 2 pinches ground black pepper
Roast the Beets
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Trim the tops off the beets to about 1 inch. Wash and dry the beets and place on a double piece of heavy foil. Toss the beets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the beets up in the foil and place the packet on the center rack in the oven. Roast until beets are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes depending on the size.
Skin the Beets
- Remove beet packet from the oven and cool until you can handle them. With paper towels, rub the skins off of the beets; quarter them and set aside. Wear disposable food handler gloves while working with the beets to prevent staining.
Make the Vinaigrette (Makes extra)
- While the beets are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk oil, vinegar, yolk (if using), garlic and shallot together in a small bowl until creamy. Season with salt and pepper. If vinaigrette is made ahead of time, refrigerate until serving due to the raw egg yolk. Re-whisk if needed.
Assemble the Salad
- To assemble your salad, divide the greens between plates, add your fruit and vegetable bits, and add the goat cheese. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, about 1 tablespoon per person and serve extra on the side.