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Gluten Free Pistachio Berry Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on March 11, 2011

I love to give dinner parties! I have been doing it for ages and have a learned a few things over the years when it comes to entertaining.

I have found that if I have one (or maybe two) dishes that included what I like to call “WOW factor”, I can keep the rest of the meal simple.

Attention to detail is important. After all when you invite someone to your home, they should feel special, like you went to some effort for them. You don’t actually have to go to a lot of effort, but it should look like it.

Do anything and everything you can, ahead of time. Nothing is worse than arriving at someone’s home in hopes of a lovely evening only to find the host or hostess all stressed out, it sets an uncomfortable tone. I make as many components of my dinner party ahead as possible and even set the table the night before.

Don’t be afraid to take a little help where you can. Using pre-washed salad greens is no crime, neither is using pre-chopped vegetables. As long as the food you serve is good, no one will care (or even know) what shortcuts you took.

It should be a little out of the ordinary of a regular dinner. I like to change things up – serve the salad after dinner or add a cheese course. These do not require much effort yet can turn your dinner into an experience rather than just a meal!

This salad fits all of the above requirements; it has WOW factor, attention to detail (without much effort), can be mostly made ahead, uses a shortcut and if served after the main course is like a combo salad and cheese platter all in one. Plus it is really pretty!

What makes this salad dinner-party-worthy is it has all the elements of a great salad; crispy, tangy, crunchy and a hints of sweet and salty. What really puts it over the edge is the pistachio crusted goat cheese balls. Oh sure, you could just crumble on some goat cheese and throw in a handful of pistachios but then it wouldn’t be quite so special; plus the combination of creamy, tangy goat cheese with the salty, crunchy pistachios eaten with a forkful of flavorful greens and a berry or two gives you bliss in a mouthful. It takes maybe 10 minutes to make the pistachio goat cheese balls, you can even do it a day or two ahead and they most certainly add “WOW factor”!

Make the dressing ahead of tmie and store it in a little container in the fridge. Buy pre-washed baby salad greens and just toss everything together right before serving – simple! Plus you can get away with a really easy main dish like a perfectly roasted chicken and some potatoes and your guest will still feel you went to a lot of effort.

Gluten Free Pistachio Berry Goat Cheese Salad

Gluten Free Pistachio Berry Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

Ingredients

¼ cup roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
6 ounces goat cheese
½ cup sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper
8 ounces pre-washed baby lettuce salad greens or spring mix
1 pint raspberries
1 cup blueberries

Directions

Place the chopped pistachios on a plate. Divide the goat cheese into 16 equal pieces (about 1 teaspoon each) and roll into balls. Roll the cheese balls in the pistachios. Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Put the strawberries in a blender with the vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, olive oil and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more honey, salt and/or pepper if desired. Can be made a day ahead. Store in a small jar or covered container and give a good shake before using.

Put the salad greens in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the raspberries and blueberries and gently toss. Divide the salad among 6 salad plates and top each with 4 pistachio goat cheese balls.

Servings

This gluten free recipe serves 6 people.

Ready for dessert?

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Categories:    Salads & Dressings

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Sea March 12, 2011 at 1:26 am

What a beautiful salad! Sometimes I forget how wonderful salad can be. The pistachio-crusted goat cheese really makes this something special, and all the fresh berries- yum! I see this recipe in my future…

-Sea

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Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc March 12, 2011 at 4:21 am

I like the use of pistachio and goat cheese here. This post certainly reminds me of how much I miss cheese. Ever since I found out about my food intolerances, I had to cut out dairy (mainly from cow), eggs and gluten. Goat cheese is the only cheese that I can eat now, but sometimes, I do get bored of it. This is a creative way to include goat cheese! Thanks for the awesome idea!

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Ket Brian March 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

I have always searching for some sites and article like this! I love to read and study about gluten. Researching on how to care my diet lifestyle. Thanks for this such great post!

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Julie March 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Wow, that is so pretty! I can’t wait to try this!

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Sarah March 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Those little goat cheese balls are adorable and I think you are right – this salad does have lots of wow factor. Thanks.

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Joy March 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Beautiful – just beautiful!

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InTolerantChef March 13, 2011 at 3:37 am

I love goats cheese and berries. In fact I had goats cheese with a raspberry rosemary sauce for lunch today. I’ll have to give this salad a go, Yumm…

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bluegrassginger March 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

this looks so delicious…. cannot wait to try this goodness of greens out asap!! any suggestions on recipes that you may have to serve with it?

http://www.bluegrassginger.blogspot.com

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Carol, Simply Gluten Free March 16, 2011 at 9:30 am

You can be a simple or fancy as you like – I think it goes really well with a lemon roasted chicken and some crispy potatoes but for something a little fancier but just as easy) you can try my Pistachio Cranberry Stuffed Pork Tenderloin – Amazing! http://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2010/11/pistachio-cranberry-goat-cheese-stuffed-pork-tenderloin.html

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Helene March 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I will eat anything with goat cheese. Looks like an impressive salad. I love entertaining too, so much fun.

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marla March 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

Love this! I did something very similar last summer on my blog with a raspberry salad with pecan crusted goat cheese balls. Love pistachios too :)

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Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living March 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

As soon as berries are in-season, I am going to make this salad! Great combination of ingredients and flavors.

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belle chevre March 28, 2011 at 8:28 am

Love this recipe…so beautiful. Sharing it now with our followers~!

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Mess June 15, 2011 at 1:35 am

I’m social bookmarking your site right now. information and facts

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Teodora Kwapniewski June 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Perfect share.

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Pam July 1, 2011 at 7:06 am

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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Carol Kicinski July 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Soory about that Pam, but thank you!

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Sherlly November 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

I made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! So easy and flavorful. Love the goat cheese balls, so interesting!!

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Carol Kicinski November 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Yay, glad you enjoyed it!

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