French Bistro Salad With Warm Goat Cheese Croutes

Goat cheese salad
Photo © Molly Watson
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
365 Calories
29g Fat
12g Carbs
14g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 365
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 402mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 14g
Calcium 174mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Goat cheese salad is a classic French bistro dish that is easy to make at home. The salad combines fresh, tender lettuce with warmed goat cheese rounds. The cheese is rolled in panko (or breadcrumbs) and then heated to form an outer crunchy layer, creating goat cheese croutes. It's topped off with a mustard vinegarette dressing. The kick from the mustard provides a contrast to the creamy tang of the goat cheese. Feel free to mix fresh herbs such as dill, basil, or chervil in with the lettuce for some bright flavors. 

This recipe includes two different ways to prepare the goat cheese croutes—in the oven or on the stove. Both methods use the same ingredients, and the result will be basically the same. The oven method is more hands-off, while the stove method requires some careful attention as the goat cheese croutes cook in a frying pan.


  • 8 ounces goat cheese log (fresh chèvre-style goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs (chilled)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 cups lettuce (tender lettuces such as spring mix, butter lettuce, or oak leaf lettuce)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon good quality red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 dash fine sea salt
  • 1 dash freshly ground 
  • black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Cut the goat cheese into 8 to 10 disks.

  2. Put the panko or bread crumbs into a shallow bowl. If you will be baking the goat cheese croutes, mix the vegetable oil in with the panko. 

  3. Heat the oven to 375 F if you will be baking the goat cheese croutes. 

  4. For either preparation, press the goat cheese disks into the panko. Flip the disks to make sure both sides are completely covered and roll the edges through the panko as well. Set the coated goat cheese on a baking sheet or platter. Place the platter in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes. This allows the croutes to set prior to cooking. 

  5. While the goat cheese sets, tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces, wash and dry the lettuce, and set aside. If you are using herbs in addition to lettuce, wash, dry, and prepare them for the salad.

  6. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste and add the clean lettuce to the bowl. 

  7. If baking in the oven, bake the goat cheese croutes until browned, about 15 minutes.

  8. If cooking on the stove, heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the goat cheese rounds. Cook, without disturbing, until they're brown on one side. Flip them over and cook until they're brown on the second side. Remove them from the heat and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.

  9. Toss the salad gently to coat the lettuce thoroughly with the dressing. Divide the salad between four salad plates. Top each salad with 2 or 3 goat cheese croutes and serve immediately.