This pretty fig salad with pomegranates & balsamic dressing is a festive addition to any dinner party or holiday event.
My sister Kathy brought this fig salad as a contribution to a recent dinner party I was hosting. Winner! The combination of figs, pomegranate seeds, avocado and tangy cheese work really well.
A balsamic dressing is the perfect accompaniment. And pretty much my ‘go-to’ dressing for many of the salads I make. I suggest using a really good balsamic vinegar if you can to get that deep (non acid-y) flavor and the right sweetness.
How to Choose Figs and Pomegranates
- Fresh figs should be soft to the touch and not mushy. They should be clean and dry with no cracks in the skin. Just cut off the stem before slicing.
- Choose a fresh pomegranate with a rind that is heavy for its size, bright or dark red and not wrinkly. The darker and deeper the color, the sweeter the seeds. Lighter colors usually mean it’s not yet ripe and the seeds will be very tart. You’re looking to get deep red seeds. (The seeds in the picture are not the best!)
Tailor To Your Taste
- Use firm ricotta instead of goat cheese
- Add crushed roasted nuts for extra crunch.
- Try a different dressing such as poppy seed or orange vinaigrette.
- Omit the avocado and goat cheese and keep it simple.
The whole salad takes only 10 minutes to make when you take a couple of shortcuts.
- Use pre-washed and dried lettuce;
- Buy pomegranate seeds (often sold in a sealed cup), if you can, instead of extracting them yourself from a fresh pomegranate;
- Use a good quality balsamic dressing instead of making it.
- Buy fresh figs already packaged and sealed.
Make Ahead Fig Salad
- The salad can be assembled ahead of time and kept covered in the fridge. If using avocados, be sure to sprinkle them with a bit of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Or cut them just before serving. Also add the balsamic dressing just before serving.
Fig Salad With Pomegranates
- spring mix lettuce for 4 people (4-5 ounces)
- 6 figs, fresh or dried, sliced into thin wedges
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (or more)
- 1 avocado, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces and tossed with 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled (optional) firm ricotta ok instead
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- EXTRACT POMEGRANATE SEEDS: Roll pomegranate on counter to loosen seeds. Cut pomegranate in half. Taking the first half, hold pomegranate seed side down over a bowl. Smack the outside with a wooden spoon (hard!) to release the seeds. Repeat with the other half. Note 1.
- MAKE BALSAMIC DRESSING: Place all dressing ingredients in a lidded container. Shake until blended. Alternatively, whisk ingredients together until well blended.
- ASSEMBLE SALAD: Place lettuce in a large, wide-mouthed bowl. Sprinkle over top the figs, avocado (if using), goat cheese (if using) and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle on dressing just before serving.
- Alternative way to extract pomegranate seeds: Here's another way to extract seeds from Cooks Illustrated.
- Make Ahead: The salad can be assembled ahead of time and kept covered in the fridge. If using avocados, be sure to sprinkle them with a bit of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Or, better yet, cut them just before serving. Also add the balsamic dressing just before serving. Pomegranate seeds can be stored ahead as well.
- How to Store Pomegranate Seeds: Pomegranate arils (seeds) can be extracted 4-5 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or zippered bag. They can also be frozen by laying them on a parchment lined pan, freezing them for an hour, then transferring them to a sealed container or bag.
If you liked the fig salad, feel free to rate it in the recipe above (under ‘rate this recipe here’) and leave us a comment. Thanks!
Other easy salads you might enjoy:
Fig salad with Pomegranate, originally posted Nov 2016, has been updated.