Introducing salads to family members can be challenging sometimes. It certainly wasn’t easy for me in the beginning. What helped open the door for my 15-year old son when he was much younger was mixing some fruits with greens. I think it’s a great way of having a serving of both in a dish and a not too radical way of presenting greens to those who are not too fond of them. Personally, I just enjoy the combination of sweet, tangy, creamy, crunchy and sometimes bitter flavours in a fresh serving of salad!
One of my favourite fruits in the fall is fig. I just find figs so beautiful especially after you cut them. They are purple on the outside but have that exciting red or pinkish hue inside. They are a good source of potassium, fiber, manganese and B6. There are many varieties of figs but the more popular ones are:
- Black Mission: blackish-purple skin and pink coloured flesh
- Kadota: green skin and purplish flesh
- Calimyrna: greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh
- Brown Turkey: purple skin and red flesh
- Adriatic: the variety most often used to make fig bars, which has a light green skin and pink-tan flesh
Figs are best eaten one or two days after buying them as they are one of the most perishable fruits. They should be fresh, plump and tender, not bruised or mushy. Before eating figs, their stems must be removed, washed and wiped dry.
I just think that the soft and sweet qualities of fig complement the peppery flavour of arugula. Arugula also known as rocket belongs to the brassica family and is closely related to watercress, mustard greens, radishes, kale and cauliflower. The younger leaves are better and not as bitter or as peppery as the more mature ones. They are rich in Vitamins A, C, K and B Vitamins.
This salad is so simple yet refreshing and delicious! This has been added to the list of our family’s favourites. Feel free to mix and match fruits and greens. Pears, pomegranates and apples are good options at this time and berries, mangoes or pineapples are great in the summer time. We are also using hemp hearts which are shelled hemp seeds. These are excellent source of protein (10g. per 3 Tbsp), Omega 3 and Omega 6, Manganese, Zinc, Iron, Magnesium and some B Vitamins.
Fig and Arugula Salad
1 pack organic arugula, about 7-8 cups
12-18 figs depending on their size, 2-3 figs per person
1/3 c. Hemp hearts
16 pieces walnuts
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. organic, preservative free and sulphites free balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1tsp. Dijon or stone ground grainy mustard
pinch of salt and pepper
- Wash and spin dry the arugula. Put them in a mixing bowl. Cut the figs into 4-5 slices depending on their size and set aside.
- Place the dressing in a bottle and shake well to emulsify.
- Pour half of the dressing into the greens and also add half of the hemp seeds and toss. Adjust the taste and add more dressing if necessary.
- Serve the salad and top with slices of figs, walnuts and sprinkle the rest of the hemp seeds.
Note: I don’t follow the usual oil and vinegar ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar in my measurements as I prefer a tart dressing and therefore less oil. Please feel free to add more oil if you prefer.