Hawaiian Salad with Goat Cheese

By Sally Cameron on April 16, 2011

Salads and Dressings, the daniel plan, Travel, Vegetarian

Inspiration for this salad came while were on the Big Island of Hawaii, enjoying dinner at Merriman’s Restaurant. Crisp salad greens, sweet red tomatoes, deep purple roast beets, golden yellow pineapple, cool cucumber cubes and a creamy avocado dressing made for one fantastic salad. What really made me order it was the addition of fresh local goat cheese. One bite, and I knew I’d want to recreate this salad home.

Hawaiian Salad with goat chese | AFoodcentricLife.com

Hawaiian Salad with Goat Cheese

Getting a golden tan and playing golf is many peoples goal for a vacation on the big island of Hawaii, but not for me. I wanted to go to a goat dairy. Yup. 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 Restaurant in Waimea.

If you ever travel to the big island of Hawaii, you must eat at Merriman’s. Known for their regional Hawaiian cuisine, the restaurant showcases fresh, local ingredients from the island’s agricultural treasure trove. That’s where I experienced my goat cheese salad, Hawaiian style.

Hawaii Island Goat Dairy

As often happens, 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 asked if we could see the operation, Owner Dick Threlfall kindly allowed us to come by.

Baby Goats and Hobby Turned Business

The soft bleating of baby goats guided me 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.

Goat dairy | AFoodCentricLife.com

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 established in January 2001, the dairy is 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 by seeking out good quality goat cheese at your favorite market or cheese store.

How to Make This Salad

Choose your favorite dark salad greens such as red lettuce or mixed baby greens. Roast baby beets  (click link for how to) in the oven until tender, halve sweet grape tomatoes, dice fresh pineapple, and chop up some fresh, seedless cucumber. I like to use the tiny, crisp 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 light vinaigrette. You’ll have a beautiful, colorful and healthy salad inspired by our dinner at Merriman’s.

Thanks to Dick’s kindness, we left with generous samples. We had a picnic dinner that evening – 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.

Hawaiian Salad with Goat Cheese

Inspired by dinner at Merriman’s Restaurant in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii, this brightly colored salad is fresh tasting and healthy. To make it a main course, add more salad greens and add grilled chicken or fish. If you don’t eat dairy, this is still terrific without the cheese. Instead of roasting beets, you can use the pre-cooked beets available in the produce department refrigerated section to save time.
Servings 4

Ingredients

Hawaiian Salad with Goat Cheese

  • 4-6 baby purple beets
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 head crisp or about 5 ounces of ready to use salad mix, red lettuce
  • 12-16 sweet grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • 4 small spears fresh pineapple diced
  • small 1-2 Persian cucumbers or other seedless cucumber, diced small
  • 1 ripe avocado split, seeded, quartered then diced
  • 4-8 ounces goat cheese crumbled

Vinaigrette

  • 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 diced shallot optional
  • 2 pinces sea salt
  • 2 pinches ground black pepper

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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 your vinaigrette dressing. Alternatively you can toss the salad greens with a little dressing, then add all of the goodies.
  • To 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.

Notes

If using a raw egg yolk concerns you, omit it from the vinaigrette, but it does make it nice and creamy. If the egg is fresh and uncracked, you should have no worries. 
9 Comments
  1. Debbie Spangler - April 26th, 2011

    Thanks again for sharing your delicious recipe! Sharing your wisdom through your stories along with your beautiful photography makes your blog one of my “go to” recipe sources.

  2. Mindy - April 27th, 2011

    This looks so refreshing! I found you through Tasteologie fell in love with your photo–I’ll be making this salad soon!

  3. Sally - April 27th, 2011

    Refreshing is the perfect word for this salad Mindy! Please let me know how it works for you.

  4. Suzanne Hinze - May 2nd, 2011

    This salad was absolutely delicious. You do not just taste the lettuce but all of the vegetables and fruit. My friend does not usually like beets, but she said that all the flavors blended together gave the beets a sweeter taste and was perfect with everything else. I did also try on one plate of salad feta cheese instead of the goat cheese and it was also fantastic. Calmed the flavor of the feta down just a tad and blended well with everything else. Did not use to much of the vinaigrette but just a little. Will make this salad again and again. Thank you Sally!!

  5. Sally - May 2nd, 2011

    So glad to hear it was a hit for you! Thanks Suzanne!

  6. MIKe - June 8th, 2018

    Hi
    Do you have the nutritional values for the salad?

  7. Sally Cameron - June 8th, 2018

    Hi Mike, no I have not run them. It’s mostly raw veggies and a little fruit. Do you have a specific concern? If you are dairy-sensitive, omit the goat cheese from the recipe, although it adds a nice tang. If you have a problem with cow dairy, you might try goat. Many people who have trouble with cow do better with goat, as it is more easily digestible. Hope this helps.Thanks for commenting.

  8. Ana - July 26th, 2018

    I can’t wait to do this for a luau fellowship! What store bought vinaigrette would you recommend?

  9. Sally Cameron - July 28th, 2018

    Hi Ana, a good Champagne vinegar works perfectly. There are many brands. My store may have different options than yours so I am not sure on a specific brand. I usually shop at Whole Foods, sometimes Traders Joes, Mothers Markets (in So Cal), and of course there are many options on Amazon.

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