Fresh, flavorful, and light, this Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad is made with butter lettuce and tossed in a poppy seed dressing. It’s a delicious recipe for the spring and summer.

Growing up, I remember eating the MOST delicious strawberry and spinach salad with homemade poppy seed dressing that my mom made in the summertime. I’ve loved the combo of strawberries and poppy seeds ever since! Something about the two together just screams warm weather, family dinners, and sunshine.

Inspired by that salad of my past, I set out to make a grown-up rendition for all of you. The result of my experimentation is today’s Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Butter Lettuce. It still has a classic poppy seed dressing but gets a little fancy with goat cheese crumbles and butter lettuce. (Tangy goat cheese and sweet, tart strawberries are one of the best duos in the culinary world, after all.)

But butter lettuce really shines as the base of a light salad. So, I hope you’ll give it a try and make this recipe!

head of butter lettuce next to a carton of fresh strawberries on a counter
Throwing together a salad is easy, but here are my tips for making the best possible strawberry goat cheese salad!

I use olive oil as the base of the dressing, but I recommend using a fairly neutral variety of olive oil. If you use a rich olive oil, the dressing can be slightly bitter. You can sub light olive oil, avocado oil, or even canola oil if you want to prevent any bitterness.
I like to use honey as the sweetener for my poppy seed dressing, but you can also sub white sugar.
When selecting butter lettuce in the store, see if you can find a head of butter lettuce that still has the root intact. They often come in circular plastic containers near the packaged salads and lettuce greens at the grocery store. Loose heads of butter lettuce are also available, but the ones with the roots attached stay fresh for a lot longer.
The salad and dressing both call for onion, and you can use any variety. I especially like sweet onions or shallots in this recipe, but it also works with red onion.
To prep this in advance, make the salad dressing and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can prep the salad up to a day in advance, but wait to dress it until right before serving.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Butter Lettuce
This refreshing salad is perfect for warm spring and summer days. Sweet strawberries pair well with fresh butter lettuce, goat cheese, and homemade poppy seed dressing.

▢1 head butter lettuce
▢1 pound strawberries – sliced
▢½ onion – sliced into half-moons, recommend sweet onions or shallots
▢½ cup goat cheese – crumbled, plus more to taste
For the poppy seed dressing:
▢¼ cup olive oil – can sub canola or avocado oil
▢2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
▢2 tablespoon honey – can sub white sugar
▢1 teaspoon poppy seeds – more to taste
▢½ teaspoon dried mustard
▢½ teaspoon sea salt
▢2 heaping tbsp onion – minced

Wash and dry the butter lettuce. Use your hands to rip leaves into pieces of desired size. Add lettuce pieces to a large bowl and add the sliced strawberries and onions. Top with goat cheese crumbles.
To prepare the dressing, combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously until well combined. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss well. Transfer to plates, and enjoy!

To make this a main dish, add a piece of grilled chicken, salmon, or some white beans or chickpeas.
I recommend using a light variety of olive oil, or one that you know has a fairly neutral taste. This will prevent the dressing from having any bitter undertones.
If you’re looking for the freshest possible butter lettuce (that can last longer than other varieties), see if your store carries heads of butter lettuce that still have the root intact.
You can prep the dressing up to 5 days in advance and store in the fridge (shake well before using). The salad can also be prepped up to a day in advance, but wait to add the dressing until right before serving.