This fried goat cheese salad pairs ribbons of fresh zucchini with indulgent creamy cheese. This salad is an easy way to enjoy the abundance of summer zucchini. Serve as a light lunch or as an elegant starter course for a special dinner.
Zucchini has never been one of my go-to vegetables. Sauteing it and serving it as a side dish simply doesn't excite me. But I love the crisp, fresh taste of raw zucchini which makes it ideal for salads.
Slicing the zucchini into thin elegant ribbons instantly transforms this ordinary vegetable into something special. Add a lemony vinaigrette and warm, crispy cheese, and this fried goat cheese salad will be the star of the meal.
This vinaigrette is a simple blend of olive oil, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Red pepper flakes add a touch of spice. This dressing has a greater ratio of acid to oil which helps to cut through the richness of the cheese. The zucchini's mild flavor can benefit from the extra punch of vinegar and lemon juice.
How to cut zucchini
Zucchini ribbons are elegant and couldn't be easier to prepare. Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut it lengthwise into ribbons using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler. Leave the peel on - it adds pretty green color.
How to cut goat cheese
Goat cheese is soft, so slicing it into neat rounds can be messy. To get clean slices, there are two methods that work well.
- Use unflavored dental floss. The floss slides easily through the cheese to create clean slices. In a pinch, thin kitchen string will work as well.
- Freeze the goat cheese for 20 minutes before slicing. A knife will slice through the cheese more neatly when the cheese is firm and very cold. Clean the knife off in between each slice to ensure clean cuts.
How to make
- Slice the goat cheese (see above for techniques).
- Bread the goat cheese: dip each slice into flour, egg, then the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a plate and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight. This helps to set the bread coating and the cold cheese will hold its shape when fried.
- When ready to assemble the salad, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- Slice the zucchini and add to a mixing bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and gently add the goat cheese rounds to the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown and crisp. Watch the pan carefully, as the cheese browns quickly. Transfer the cheese to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt.
- Arrange the zucchini on a serving platter or in a bowl. Then, layer the cheese on top of the salad and serve immediately.
This salad is easy to make, is light and refreshing, and the fried goat cheese croutons add a rich taste. This salad makes a great lunch but can also be served as an elegant starter course for a special dinner.
Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Goat Cheese Croutons [Fried Goat Cheese Salad]
Goat Cheese Croutons
- 4-6 ounces goat cheese
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup regular bread crumbs
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 pinch salt
- olive oil for frying
- 2 medium zucchini or 3 small
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice about ½ medium lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes or to taste
- In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. In another shallow dish, add the egg and 1 tablespoon of water and whisk to combine. Add the flour to another dish.
- Slice the goat cheese into 8 equal slices. (Note 1) For each slice, coat with flour, dip into the egg mixture and coat with breadcrumbs.
- Put the breaded cheese on a plate, cover loosely, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- When you are ready to prepare the salad, add the dressing ingredients to a small bowl (oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes). Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Trim the top and bottom ends from the zucchini. Cut a thin slice lengthwise off one side to create a flat edge. Using a mandolin (or a vegetable peeler) cut very thin slices lengthwise. Add the ribbons to a mixing bowl. Toss with the vinagrette. Set aside.
- Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.
- Transfer the zucchini to a serving platter or bowl. Top with the fried goat cheese. Serve immediately.
- To slice goat cheese into clean slices, use unflavored dental floss to easily slice through the cheese. In a pinch, thin kitchen string will work as well. Alternatively, freeze the goat cheese for 20 minutes before slicing. A knife will slice through the cheese more neatly when the cheese is firm and very cold. Clean the knife off in between each slice to ensure clean cuts.
Author's note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated.