A few days on the Big Island of Hawaii found us enjoying dinner at Merriman’s Restaurant in Waimea. I started dinner with a beautiful salad of crisp greens, sweet red tomatoes, deep purple roast beets, golden yellow pineapple, cool cucumber cubes and a creamy avocado dressing. What really made me order it was the addition of fresh local goat cheese. It was so good I wanted to make it at home.
Hawaiian Style Salad with Goat Cheese
Getting a golden tan and playing golf is many peoples goal for a Hawaiian vacation, but not for me. I wanted to go to a goat dairy. Traveling with us is always about food. We discovered a small 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.
Hawaii Island Goat Dairy
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. I wanted to go meet the goats and see where this marvelous cheese came from. I called the dairy and owner Dick Threlfall kindly allowed us to come by.
Baby Goats and Hobby Turned Business
The soft bleating of baby goats guided us into the barn. I was immediately handed a baby bottle and quickly found myself feeding a hungry one-week-old baby goat. I could have sat there and happily fed these sweet babies all day. Forever.
What started as a hobby turned into a passion, a business, and a labor of love for Dick Threlfall, owner of Hawaii Island Goat Dairy. A farmstead goat cheese operation, the dairy sits on 10 acres of a retired macadamia nut orchard. While island restaurants consume all that’s produced, you can still create this colorful and healthy salad at home with good goat cheese at your favorite market.
How to Make a Hawaiian Style Salad with Goat Cheese
Choose your favorite dark salad greens such as red lettuce or mixed baby greens. Roast baby beets in the oven until tender, halve sweet grape tomatoes, dice fresh pineapple, and chop up some fresh, seedless cucumber. I like the small Persian cucumbers.
As a note, I grilled my pineapple before dicing it (as the restaurant did), but it’s optional. And instead of making a creamy avocado dressing, dice some avocado and add the avocado directly to the salad. Add goat cheese crumbles and toss with a Champagne vinaigrette. You’ll have a beautiful Hawaiian style salad with goat cheese.
Thanks to Dick’s kindness, we left with generous samples. We had a picnic dinner that evening of baguette spread with fresh goat cheese, a bottle of wine, some fresh fruit and salad greens overlooking the beach, watching to the waves rolling ashore.
For another Hawaiian-inspired recipe try my Hawaiian Green Smoothie.
Hawaiian Salad with Goat Cheese
Hawaiian Salad with Goat Cheese
- 4-6 baby 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
- 1 ripe avocado split, seeded, quartered then diced
- 4-8 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
- With a rack placed at the center level, 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.
- While the beets are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk oil, vinegar, yolk, 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.
- 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. If you are concerned with your hands turning purple, wear disposable food handler gloves while working with the beets.
- To assemble your salad, divide the greens between plates, add your fruit and vegetable bits, and add the goat cheese. Drizzle sparingly with the vinaigrette.