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Goat Cheese and Herb Vinaigrette

“Rich and piquant”; the words rolled off his tongue when I asked him to describe this dressing. Yeah, that’s it, piquant—a perfect adjective for this lively goat cheese and herb vinaigrette. Piquant–agreeably pleasing, with a pleasantly sharp taste or appetizing flavor.

Goat Cheese and Herb Vinaigrette

There he was just minutes after forking down a large and generously dressed salad, literally spooning the vinaigrette into his mouth. I made him stop so we’d have some left for another salad, and fed the hungry guy another steaming tamale. (Robbie’s inhaling food like a hungry teenager who kite-surfs and rides his fat-tire bike on the beach for hours.)

In the summer, we enjoy this goat cheese and herb vinaigrette with mixed greens from our CSA. Luckily, we gringos can get organic lettuces and gourmet veggies from a farm not far from here in Baja Mexico—and boy this vinaigrette dresses that produce in style.

Oscar's Farm for goat cheese and herb vinaigrette

We’re in Los Barriles, a kite-surf and fishing mecca on the East Cape about an hour north of Cabo San Lucas. Last week Oscar, who brings the harvest to town twice a week, invited a group of us to visit the huerta, and learn a bit about his family’s farm.

We formed a 10-car convoy, slowly following Oscar’s van down a dusty bumpy road, stopping first to see the filtration system for the water that flows from the mid-peninsula mountains and irrigates the alluvial plain of farmland.

Oscar's Farm for goat cheese and herb vinaigrette

Oscar speaks fluent broken English, and he’s an entertaining storyteller. Before last year’s Hurricane Odile wiped away their greenhouses, he and his brothers employed 90 workers. In this second tourist season since the hurricane, they continue to rebuild the business, but with only 5 farmhands.

lettuce from Oscar's Farm for Goat Cheese and Herb Vinaigrette

In staggered plantings they grow quite a variety of produce, from eggplant to sorrel and lemon grass, and micro greens, like tiny arugula sprouts. Under cover of clouds, we walked rows of baby lettuce, watermelon radishes, heirloom tomatoes, and bok choy, with Oscar explaining their logistics of buying organic seeds and paperwork required for organic certification in Mexico.

Last winter I posted a brief story about Oscar and his veggies, along with this recipe for a bright orange salad dressing seasoned with guajillo chiles. Today’s goat cheese and herb vinaigrette is even easier to make than the chile one. They both rock with flavor—so lavish them on the best produce you can buy.

Goat Cheese and Herb Vinaigrette

Recipe details:

  • In Baja, you can find cilantro in even the tiniest tiendas, so that’s what I use down here. I’ve made this vinaigrette with basil, summer savory and parsley—all good.
  • As a rule, soft goat cheese is tangy–choose a mild vinegar, like rice or champagne vinegar. (I made goat cheese and herb vinaigrette once with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and it was too acidic for my taste.)
  • Like olive oil and goat cheese, this vinaigrette solidifies when refrigerated—if you make it ahead, let it warm to room temperature before dressing your salad.

You might also like this Sesame Shiitake Vinaigrette, or this Maple Pecan Vinaigrette.

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Goat Cheese and Herb Vinaigrette
Print
Goat Cheese and Herb Vinaigrette
Prep Time
10 mins
 
This tangy dressing is delicious with arugula, mixed salad greens, or any fresh vegetable for that matter!
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup fresh soft chévre-style goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or other mild vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley etc.)
  • ¼ teaspoon Real Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. With a fork, mash the goat cheese and the vinegar until the mixture is almost smooth. Whisk in the olive oil, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper.
summer savory for goat cheese vinaigrette

summer savory at Ranui Gardens

12 comments

  • jackie reeves

    Letty, thanks so much for the recipe and also the wonderful photos of Oscar and the organic farm..I wasn’t able to go w/the group, but appreciate your posting these photos. Reply · 31 December, 2015

    • Thanks back to you! Enjoy this dressing on your next Oscar salad! Reply · 31 December, 2015

  • Joanne

    Great pictures. We visited in November, and would go again. I am looking forward to trying your recipe! Reply · 2 January, 2016

    • Thanks Joanne,
      Yes, definitely worth the trip to see the farm. Reply · 3 January, 2016

  • Russett Nordling

    Thank you Letty,
    Past your posting on to my daughter in law who is eating palieo diet. I’ll be down to LB in Feb and looking forward to Saturday market
    Russett (former resident) Reply · 2 January, 2016

    • Hi Russett, You are welcome. I love sharing recipes showcasing beautiful organic produce! Reply · 3 January, 2016

  • I am so thrilled that you organized this!!! Oscar is the pioneer of bringing organic food to LB!!!!
    Supporting him is so important.
    I was there in spirit…
    not in Baja yet
    tanya Reply · 2 January, 2016

    • Tanya,
      Yes, I too am delighted that we have Oscar’s veggies available for us. I learned that he does tours regularly–one again this Monday meets at Miraflores Pemex 9am. Reply · 3 January, 2016

  • It is great to see what Oscar’s looks like, I wonder when buying his lettuce and veggies what the garden’s are like and what the “organic certification” means in Mexico. I’m very grateful to you Letty.
    And love the dressing. Reply · 2 January, 2016

  • Now that I know where you are I’m marking it on a map for some future adventure. Fresh produce AND kite-surfing. Yes please. GREG Reply · 10 January, 2016

    • We should meet there next winter and cook up a storm for the wind-seekers. Reply · 11 January, 2016

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