This fig salad contains baby spinach tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, then topped with fresh figs, blue cheese, proscuitto, and lightly caramelized pecans.
One of the things I miss most about living in Paris is the figs! In late summer, the outdoor markets were bursting with fresh figs, dark purple outside and with ruby red insides. My favorite use for them? This fig salad with blue cheese.
Why Make This Recipe
- Delicious combination of flavors: figs, cheese, cured meat, and nuts
- Easy to make: just combine the ingredients and whip up a quick balsamic vinaigrette and salad is served!
- Stunning: this salad is delicious enough and easy enough to eat every day (and I did), but pretty enough to grace any special dinner table
- Figs: Any type of figs will work for this recipe. If you can find them, black mission figs are delicious, but brown turkey figs or Calimyrna figs will be tasty too!
- Pecans: Feel free to substitute a different type of nut, such as walnuts or almonds.
- Baby Spinach: Mâche and arugula are great substitutes for fresh baby spinach.
- Blue Cheese: Any type of blue cheese is fine—my favorites are roquefort and gorgonzola. Just try to buy a block of blue cheese rather than the pre-crumbled variety, because the blocks are nearly always better quality and less dry.
- Balsamic Vinegar: The flavor of balsamic vinegar pairs beautifully with the figs and blue cheese, but you could also try this salad with red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar.
🥣 Step-by-Step Instructions
To start, you will caramelize some pecans to top the salad. So preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then add ½ cup of pecans and drizzle over a tablespoon of maple syrup. Toss together with your hands, and then toast the nuts in the oven for 9-10 minutes, until they smell fragrant.
Remove from oven, and let cool. They will harden as they cool, and you can break them apart later to top your salad.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by whisking together balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is a simple vinaigrette, but the balsamic vinegar is a perfect pairing to the salad, and the maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness.
To build the salad, first dress the greens with about half of the dressing in a large salad bowl. Add more dressing if your salad seems dry. Add fresh figs and crumbled blue cheese. Tear proscuitto into pieces and tuck in next to the figs, then sprinkle with toasted pecans. You can also drizzle the extra salad dressing on the top if you’d like.
🧐 Recipe FAQs for Fig Salad
Figs are in season generally from August through early October. Fig trees thrive in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean climates, as well in California, where fig trees were introduced in the late 1800s. 90% of global fig production comes from the Mediterranean region.
Fresh figs need very little preparation. Give them a very brief rinse and pat dry, or just wipe gently with a damp paper towel. Cut off the stem if it is hard. You can eat figs as is, or cut them into halves or quarters. Or make vertical and horizontal cuts without cutting entirely through the fruit to make it look like a flower.
Definitely. Figs are high in fiber, low in calories, and contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and vitamin K. Dried figs provide even more fiber and higher percentages of recommended daily nutritional value of vitamins and minerals. As a result, dried figs in particular are great for treating constipation.
I have to say, I was not aware that this was a concern that people have about figs until I began researching figs for this post. Figs are fascinating because rather than a true fruit, they are really inverted flowers pollinated by the fig wasp. Female fig wasps crawl into unripe figs to lay eggs. They pollinate some of the female flowers inside the figs, then die. The eggs later hatch into baby wasps who are able to burrow out and fly away with the fig pollen they carry, thus repeating the cycle. The fig with the dead female wasp digests it completely as it (the fig) ripens. So no worries, by the time you eat a ripe fig, there is no evidence of the wasp that pollinated it. All the crunchy bits are seeds!
That said, vegans do not eat figs because of this concern. Though there is hope for vegans, as some varieties of figs are called “parthenocarpic”, which do not require pollination and so do not rely on fig wasps to grow fruit. This is the same type of innovation that brought you seedless watermelons! The world is truly a fascinating place.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
For a quicker version of this fig salad recipe, consider just toasting your pecans rather than caramelizing them. If you do choose to caramelize them though, watch your oven closely—these nuts go from caramelized to burned quickly.
Wondering what to serve with this salad? This fig and blue cheese salad is quite filling on its own, but would also be delicious paired with something light, like this Carrot Ginger Soup with Crème Fraîche or this French Lentil Soup. You can also remove the prosciutto and serve this with a seared duck breast. Fig salad with duck is a classic combination.
Fresh figs are delicious in so many other applications besides a salad with figs. Here are some other fresh fig recipe ideas for you:
- Top oatmeal or yogurt with fresh figs
- Make this Honey Balsamic Fig Spread for a yogurt/ice cream topping or on a cheeseboard
- Make fig jam or chutney (try this fig jam recipe from queen of all things jam Cathy Barrow)
- Roast figs with honey
- Roast figs wrapped in bacon and stuffed with blue cheese or goat cheese
- Serve fresh figs on a cheese plate with cured meats and nuts
Other Delicious Salad Recipes
If you enjoyed this spinach salad with blue cheese recipe, be sure to check out my other delicious salad recipes, including:
If you try this Fig Salad recipe, we would love to hear from you! Please rate this recipe and leave a comment below—your feedback is invaluable to us.
📖 Recipe Card
- 2 ounces pecans (about ½ cup)
- 1 ⅓ tablespoons maple syrup (divided)
- 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 8 fresh figs (about 12 ounces), quartered
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 2.5 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the pecans on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and drizzle 1 scant tablespoon of maple syrup over them. Use your fingers to mix the maple syrup so it covers each nut.
- Put baking sheet in the oven and toast for 9-10 minutes, until the nuts smell fragrant. If you think your oven runs hot, check early—these nuts go from caramelized to burned quickly.
- Remove baking sheet from oven, and let cool. They will harden, and you can then break apart for your salad topping.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by whisking together balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- To build the salad, first dress the spinach greens with about half of the dressing in a large salad bowl—add more dressing if it seems dry.
- Add quartered figs and crumbled blue cheese.
- Tear proscuitto into pieces and tuck in next to the figs, then sprinkle with caramelized pecans.
If you didn't use all the dressing on the greens, you can drizzle the rest of the salad dressing on the top if you’d like.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 429Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 958mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 5gSugar: 22gProtein: 14g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.