Is it just me or have fresh figs become a lot more prominent in supermarkets than they used to be? Perhaps I am just more aware of them since discovering how much I love to put them in salads and pair them with cheeses as an appetizer or dessert. Fresh figs are honey-sweet and their seeds give a delightful little pop when chewed. Avoid any that have white fuzz (it’s mold) or look too wrinkled. They should be plump and soft (the hard ones are very dry and tasteless), but definitely not mushy. You can keep them as they are in the refirgerater for a few days. Figs are not long-lasters, so buy just a small quantity, especially if you are trying them for the first time.
This recipe is a version of a salad I like, from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry– an awesome little book with a great premise: to transform all that delicious but mostly unhealthy southern-style ‘soul cooking’ into something that’s fresh, vegan and still full of flavor. Terry uses dried cranberries in his carrot salad, and you can substitute those or any other small, or chopped dried fruit you wish. I think this salad could also be very tasty with some chopped or grated apple. Enjoy!
I am providing you with two dressing options here, both are from Vegan Soul Kitchen. One is creamier and involves a blender– sort of a vegan mayo version, and the other is sharp and bit spicy. Recently I made the spicier one and added some creamy goat cheese to the salad to balance it out.
For the Salad:
3-4 medium carrots, peeled and grated
6-9 figs-depending on their size, cut into quarters, small stems removed- or your choice of dried fruit: cranberries, raisins etc
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Dressing 1- Creamy
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1/4 cup silken tofu (drained)
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbs walnut oil (olive oil works fine)
In a blender, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, tofu and salt. Blend while slowly pouring in the oil.
Dressing 2- tangy
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 champagne vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar or sugar
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Use a blender or a whisk to combine the mustard, vinegar, agave, salt and cayenne. Whisk in the olive oil.
Add your choice of dressing to the salad, mix well and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight. Add toasted sesame seeds and crumbled goat cheese before serving (opt).