Figs. Basil. Goat Cheese. Pomegranate. Pure yum. I’ve been on a bit of a health kick recently, testing out new salad recipes and vegetarian accompaniments. What I’ve discovered is that the key to a truly exciting vegetarian dish is balance. Balancing the flavors and textures of a dish can provide a unique experience that’s far from mundane or monotonous. This recipe for Figs with Basil, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette is sweet, salty, fresh, earthy, spicy and peppery. The texture is both crunchy and creamy with a toothsome bite from the figs. Super balanced. Super yummy.
The next time you make a vegetable dish, try adding some new elements to balance the flavors (if they aren’t balanced already!). Brighten up a side of roasted potatoes with fresh herbs and pickled onions. Top a serving of al dente asparagus with a creamy poached egg and salty bacon bites. Roast tender butternut squash with coarsely ground, crunchy spices (pepper, cumin, coriander and/or cardamom) then accent with lime and chile (yes, this is a short description of last week’s squash recipe). The next time you make a salad or vegetable recipe, I urge you to take a moment and consider balance. A small change or two can take a dish from good to spectacular. Continue reading for the recipe.
Figs with Basil, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to drizzle
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups arugula
- 3/4 cup basil leaves
- 8 ripe figs, quartered lengthwise
- 2 1/2 ounces goat cheese
In a small mason jar, combine chopped shallots, Dijon mustard, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, a small pinch of kosher salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Secure the lid on the jar and shake vigorously. No jars available? You can also make this dressing in a small bowl combining ingredients with a whisk.
Place the arugula and basil leaves in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and gently toss to combine.
Arrange quartered figs over the arugula and basil. Using a small spoon, scoop chunks of the goat cheese over the salad. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and finish with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper.