A fig spinach salad full of the sweet fruit, blue cheese, roasted acorn squash and candied pecans.
I think that figs may be my absolute favorite fruit. Part of the appeal is that they’re one of the few fruits left that are truly seasonal so it’s a treat when the figs start popping up in the stores. I saw these giant containers of figs at the store and knew that I’d better buy them before they were gone – and the store actually sold out of them by the next day, I guess there are a lot of fig lovers around here! This fig spinach salad pairs the delectable fruit with roasted acorn squash, candied pecans and blue cheese for a healthy dish that’s sure to become a fall favorite.
This is a super simple recipe – the only real prep work is roasting the squash. The squash gets cut into thin slices and roasted in the oven until it’s caramelized. Did you know that you can eat the skin of the acorn squash? It’s totally edible and it saves a lot of time in trying to peel that funny shaped thing! If you’re not into acorn squash, butternut will also work well.
The roasted squash and figs will go on a bed of spinach, along with some blue cheese and candied pecans. See those purple flowers? They’re GARLIC flowers. I put them there for photography styling purposes and let me tell you, they let off quite an aroma onto the salad. I wouldn’t recommend adding the flowers unless you happen to be a food photographer – they’re pretty to look at but not so pretty to eat. ANYWAYS.
I went with a honey dijon balsamic vinaigrette to finish off this fig spinach salad. The dressing takes about 3 minutes to put together, just pour the ingredients into a jar and shake!
The balsamic pairs wonderfully with the figs and the crunch of the nuts and saltiness of the blue cheese add a nice contrast. I’m going to be soaking in fig season for as long as it lasts. Hopefully some day the little fig tree in our yard will produce more than 2 figs at a time so that I can have my own personal stash. In the meantime I’ll keep hunting for them at the store and enjoying them in this salad.
Fig Spinach Salad
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups of quartered fresh figs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided use
- 1 tablespoon honey divided use
- 1 small acorn squash
- cooking spray
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup candied pecans
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- For the dressing:
- In a small container combine the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of honey. Season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine or put a lid on the container and shake vigorously.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Slice the squash crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices.
- Lay the squash slices in one even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of honey. Toss the squash to coat evenly in the honey and olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast the squash for 20-25 minutes, until squash is tender and browned. Remove from oven and cool until slightly warm or room temperature.
- Place the spinach in a large bowl, top with figs, squash, pecans and blue cheese. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve immediately.
Make Ahead: The squash can be roasted a day in advance and the dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.