Tips for Making the Best Cheese Salads This Summer

by Maison Morand

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh, vibrant salads, and adding cheese can elevate these dishes to a whole new level. Cheese salads are refreshing, delicious, and easy to prepare, making them an ideal choice for hot summer days. But with so many varieties of cheese available, how do you choose the best cheese for salads? This article will guide you through selecting the finest cheeses and pairing them with fresh ingredients to create the perfect summer salad.

Choosing the Best Cheeses for Salads

Selecting the right cheese can transform your salad from ordinary to extraordinary. Here are some top choices:

Feta: Feta is a brined curd cheese that adds a tangy, salty flavor to salads. Its crumbly texture makes it perfect for sprinkling over greens and vegetables. Feta pairs well with olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers, making it a staple in Greek salads.

Mozzarella: Mozzarella is a mild, creamy cheese that works well in caprese salads. Fresh mozzarella balls (or bocconcini) are particularly delightful when paired with ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Goat Cheese: Goat cheese is soft, creamy, and slightly tangy. It blends beautifully with beets, walnuts, and arugula. The cheese’s creamy texture adds richness to any salad, while its tartness provides a delightful contrast to sweet ingredients like honey or fruits.

Blue Cheese: Blue cheese has a strong, pungent flavor that compliments robust greens like spinach and romaine. It pairs exceptionally well with pears, apples, and walnuts. A blue cheese dressing can also enhance the salad’s flavor profile.

Parmesan: Parmesan is a hard, aged cheese with a nutty flavor. Shaved or grated Parmesan adds a savory depth to Caesar salads and pairs wonderfully with arugula, tomatoes, and pine nuts.

In the UAE, look for specialty cheese shops or gourmet sections in supermarkets. Stores like Maison Morand offer a variety of high-quality cheeses. Farmer’s markets and local artisanal producers are also excellent sources.

Pairing Cheeses with Fresh Ingredients

Creating a balanced cheese salad involves pairing the cheese with the right fruits, vegetables, and greens. Here’s how to do it:


  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries add a burst of sweetness that pairs well with tangy cheeses like goat cheese and feta.
  • Citrus: Oranges, grapefruit, and lemons add a refreshing tartness that complements creamy cheeses like mozzarella.
  • Stone Fruits: Peaches, plums, and cherries provide a sweet, juicy contrast to salty cheeses like feta and blue cheese.


  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, arugula, and mixed greens are versatile bases that work with most cheeses.
  • Crunchy Veggies: Bell peppers, cucumbers, and radishes add texture and freshness to salads.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes pair well with tangy and creamy cheeses, enhancing their flavors.

Seasonal Ingredients

  • Summer: Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and berries are perfect for summer salads. Pair them with light cheeses like mozzarella and feta.
  • Autumn: Use apples, pears, and roasted squash in the fall. These ingredients complement stronger cheeses like blue cheese and Parmesan.

Let’s look at some seasonal salad recipes that you can pair with these cheeses:

Greek Salad with Feta


  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Olive oil, vinegar, salt, and oregano to taste


  • Combine all vegetables in a large bowl.
  • Add olives and crumbled feta on top.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.
  • Season with salt and oregano. Toss gently to mix.

Blue Cheese and Pear Salad


  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • Mixed greens
  • Olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper


  • Place mixed greens on a salad plate.
  • Arrange pear slices on top.
  • Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts.
  • Drizzle with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and honey.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Health Benefits of Cheese in Salads

Cheese not only adds flavor and texture to salads but also offers several nutritional benefits:

  • Rich in Protein and Calcium: Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, essential for muscle and bone health. Adding cheese to your salad can help you meet your daily nutritional needs.
  • Contains Essential Vitamins: Cheese contains vitamins like A, D, and B12, which support immune function, bone health, and red blood cell production.
  • Satiety and Weight Management: The protein and fat content in cheese can help you feel full longer, potentially aiding in weight management. However, it’s essential to balance cheese with other healthy ingredients to keep your salad nutritious.

Tips for Serving Cheese Salads

Here are some tips for serving cheese salads to your summer gathering:


  • Use Vibrant Colors: Choose a variety of colorful ingredients to make your salad visually appealing.
  • Layering: Layer ingredients thoughtfully for a beautiful presentation.
  • Garnishing: Use herbs, edible flowers, or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds as garnishes.

Serving Sizes

  • Portion Control: Aim for a balanced portion of cheese to avoid overwhelming the salad.
  • Individual Servings: Consider serving salads in individual bowls for easy portion control.

Keeping Salads Fresh

  • Chill Ingredients: Keep salad ingredients chilled until serving.
  • Dress Before Serving: Add dressings just before serving to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.

Making Dressings that Enhance Cheese Salads

Dressings are the finishing touch that can elevate a simple cheese salad. The right dressing not only enhances the flavors of the cheese but brings out the freshness of the fruits, vegetables, and greens. In this section, we'll explore some easy-to-make dressings that perfectly complement cheese salads.

Lemon Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.

Balsamic Dressing


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid.
  • Shake well until emulsified.

Cheese Salads: A Rising Favorite in the UAE!

Cheese salads are gaining popularity in the UAE due to their versatility and refreshing nature, perfect for the warm climate. With an increasing focus on healthy eating and gourmet experiences, cheese salads can become a staple in both home kitchens and high-end restaurants. As tastes evolve, you can expect to see innovative combinations and a greater emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.

Cheese salads are a fantastic choice for summer, offering a perfect blend of flavors and textures. By choosing the right cheese and pairing it with fresh ingredients, you can create delicious and nutritious salads that are sure to impress. Whether you’re a home cook, a chef, or simply a food lover, exploring the world of cheese salads can open up many culinary possibilities.