Roasted Fig and Blue Cheese Salad with Candied Walnuts and Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette
The ingredients in this gorgeous salad - candied walnuts, spicy arugula, roasted figs, and tangy blue cheese - simply scream fall. Impress guests by serving it as a starter, or pair it with roast chicken or pork for a romantic and decadent dinner on a chilly autumn night.
For candied walnuts:
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 egg white, at room temperature
- 8 ounces walnut halves (about 2 cups)
For roasted figs:
- 2 cups black mission figs
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons spicy Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 cups mixed arugula salad greens
- 1/2 cup blue cheese, sliced
- Sea salt
- To make candied walnuts, in a small bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat egg white until frothy. Whisk in 1 tablespoon water until combined. Add walnut halves to egg white mixtures and stir to coat. Add sugar mixture and stir to evenly distribute. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat and spread nuts in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for another 15 minutes until sugar is caramelized. Let nuts cool. (This makes 2 1/4 cups candied walnuts - more than enough for this recipe. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.)
- To make figs, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stems off end of each fig, then slice each fig in half. In a small mixing bowl, mix vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Add figs and toss to coat evenly. Marinate for 5 to 10 minutes. Roast figs for 20 minutes until slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly.
- Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl to combine, and set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, add arugula and 1/4 cup candied walnuts. Toss with dressing. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with 2 fig halves, blue cheese, and sea salt to taste.
- Recipe courtesy of Candace Kumai.
Per serving: 432 kcal cal., 29 g fat (6 g sat. fat), 702 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 11.5 g pro., 210 mg calcium, 4 mg iron. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet