Fig Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese

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An easy fig salad with arugula, chopped apples, dried cranberries, pecans and goat cheese topped with a delicious balsamic dressing. Perfect as a light lunch, side salad or topped with protein for a meal sized salad.

We have a fig tree in our backyard and Olivia and I venture out daily to pick fresh figs! It’s been so fun thinking of recipes to use figs in. Of course, I had to start with a salad recipe but I’m also dreaming up a fig pizza, fig bread and fig jam recipe… stand by!

This is a simple salad with a base of arugula and a delicious combination of toppings. I’ve been eating this on its own as a light lunch, for dinner as a side salad or topped with protein for a full meal. It’s fancy enough for a dinner party but simple enough for a weeknight meal.

An overhead shot of a bowl of fig salad with a white wine glass next to it.

Are Figs Healthy?

Figs are a nutrient-dense food which means they pack in a lot of nutrients and not a lot of calories! Fresh figs are low in natural sugar while dried figs have much more sugar. Figs are great for digestive health (they keep you regular!), heart health and even help manage blood sugar. (Source)

Ingredients measured out to make a fig salad: arugula, balsamic dressing, fresh figs, apples, dried cranberries, goat cheese and pecans.

Here’s What You Need

  • arugula – the perfect zesty green for the base of this salad. If you don’t have arugula, you can use any type of leafy green you’d like.
  • fresh figs – we have a Brown Turkey fig tree, so that’s what I used, but any type of fresh fig will work for this salad! The most popular types are Black Mission, Brown Turkey or Kadota figs. Just make sure the figs are fresh and not dried! You’ll know fresh figs are ripe when they give slightly but aren’t super soft or mushy. They should be tender and sweet when you slice into them!
  • goat cheese – for a hint of creaminess and saltiness. You can omit the goat cheese to make this dairy-free or use a dairy-free cheese as well.
  • apples – for some crunch and burst of juiciness. Any type of apple will work here. My go-to’s are Honeycrisp and Pink Lady.
  • dried cranberries – try to find unsweetened cranberries or cranberries sweetened with just fruit juice if possible. They’re sweet enough on their own! Made in Nature’s organic dried cranberries are a good option and sweetened with just a touch of apple juice instead of cane sugar.
  • pecans – I love pairing this salad with pecans but any type of nut works as well. If you want to toast the pecans simply spread them out on a baking sheet and toast in a 350°F oven for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. 
  • balsamic dressing – a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, dijon, garlic, salt and fresh basil.
Side by side photo of a cutting board with chopped apples and figs. Second photo is pecans on a cookie sheet to be toasted.

Simple Balsamic Dressing

I decided to top this fig salad with a delicious balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, dijon, garlic, salt and fresh basil. If you don’t have the ingredients on hand for homemade dressing, you can also use store-bought dressing. I recommend either Primal Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette which is made with avocado oil or Tessamae’s Balsamic Vinaigrette. Both are made with minimal, clean ingredients and allergen-friendly!

A close up of figs, pecans, apple chunks, and dried cranberry on a bed of arugula.

Switch it up!

One of the reasons I love this salad is how customizable it is! Here are some suggestions for variations and substitutions:

  • Switch up the greens – if you’re not an arugula fan, feel free to use your favorite leafy green instead. Spinach would be my second option of greens for this salad.
  • Make this dairy-free and vegan – simply skip the goat cheese (or use a vegan option).
  • Switch up the dressing – craving a different dressing? This creamy poppyseed dressing, red wine vinaigrette, white balsamic vinaigrette or creamy balsamic vinaigrette would be delicious on this salad!
  • Add grains – I love adding grains to my salad for some extra volume and nutrients. Toss in cooked quinoa, rice or farro to make this a heartier salad.
  • Add protein – want to enjoy this as a meal-sized salad? Add a protein of your choice! Since there are so many flavors in the salad, I like to keep it simpler with the protein so it compliments the dish and doesn’t overpower flavors. It would be delicious with crispy baked tofu, tempeh, apple cider vinegar chicken or roasted chickpeas.
  • Add red onion – want a little added zip?! Add sliced or diced red onion to the salad.
  • Switch up the fruit or add more fruit – I think this would be delicious with fresh pears as well!
  • Use candied nuts – the ultimate treat. Try my rosemary candied pecans.
  • Swap the nuts for seeds – if you have a nut allergy or if you just prefer seeds you can swap the pecans for sunflower seeds or pepitas.
  • Add roasted veggies – I could see this salad being delicious with some roasted sweet potatoes or roasted butternut squash mixed in.
An overhead shot of two bowls of fig salad next to two glasses of white wine. A gold fork rests inside each bowl.

What to Serve with Fig Salad

Like I mentioned earlier, this makes the perfect side salad or meal-sized salad if paired with protein. If you’re serving this as a side, here are some dishes that would pair well:

A bowl of fig salad with arugula and goat cheese. There is another bowl out of focus in the background alongside two stemless glasses of white wine.

Prepping Fig Salad Ahead of Time

This salad is super simple to throw together, but you can also prep it in advance! Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Add arugula to a large container with an airtight lid.
  2. Slice figs, chop apples and add to arugula.
  3. Add dried cranberries and nuts to arugula.
  4. Crumble goat cheese and add to arugula mixture.
  5. Mix dressing and store in a separate container.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle dressing over top and mix to combine.

You want to make sure you mix in the dressing as close to serving as possible. If you don’t plan to eat the full salad, only add dressing to the portion you plan to eat and store the rest in the fridge.

Fig Salad

4 from 3 votes
An easy fig salad with arugula, chopped apples, dried cranberries, pecans and goat cheese topped with a delicious balsamic dressing. Perfect as a light lunch, side salad or topped with protein for a meal sized salad.
An overhead shot of a bowl of fig salad with a white wine glass next to it.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 5 oz bag arugula
  • 10 fresh figs, sliced
  • ½ log Goat cheese
  • 1 cup apples, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecans

Balsamic Dressing

  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil and/or thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), optional

Instructions
 

  • Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients into a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Assemble salads by layering 1/2 of the arugula, figs, cheese, apples, cranberries and pecans in two separate bowls. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and serve.

Notes

  • Arugula: Your favorite leafy green will work as a sub for the arugula. 
  • Goat Cheese: If you need this salad to be dairy-free, skip the cheese or use a vegan cheese. 
  • Pecans: Feel free to sub in any nut or seed in place of the pecans. 
  • Toasted pecans: If you want to toast the pecans simply spread them out on a baking sheet and toast in a 350°F oven for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. 
  • Dressing: Want to switch up the dressing? This creamy poppyseed dressing, red wine vinaigrette, white balsamic vinaigrette or creamy balsamic vinaigrette would be delicious on this salad!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/3 of recipe Calories: 552kcal Carbohydrates: 61g Protein: 6g Fat: 34g Saturated Fat: 6g Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 20mg Sodium: 522mg Potassium: 642mg Fiber: 6g Sugar: 48g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fig salad

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