Healthy Fall Fig Salad

Healthy Fall Fig Salad

This Fall Fig Salad features layers of sweet California figs, creamy goat cheese, hazelnuts, and turkey. Thanksgiving leftovers never tasted so good!

Disclosure: I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

This Fall Fig Salad is a healthy, yet delicious way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers 

I don’t know about you, but I’m all about the sides at Thanksgiving. From sweet potato casserole to stuffing, by the time the turkey gets passed around my plate is usually already too full. 

But the next day? I’m all over that turkey. While turkey sandwiches are a classic ways to put leftovers to good use, let me convince you that this fig-filled salad is the way to go: 

  • Filling yet light, which is exactly what most of us are craving after a day of feasting
  • A portable lunch that all your coworkers will be jealous of 
  • Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals 
  • Filled with naturally sweet California figs 

Speaking of figs, if you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer for Thanksgiving day, it’s hard to beat a cheese platter complete with juicy California figs, tangy goat cheese, and some roasted hazelnuts. 

All three of which just also happen to be ideal salad ingredients. 

Healthy Fall Fig Salad

Health Benefits of Figs

While figs are best known for how their nutty sweet flavor, they also happen to be super nutritious. 

Dried or fresh, here are some nutrition highlights: 

  • High in fiber: important for heart, gut, and digestive health 
  • Calcium: ½ cup of dried figs offers the same amount of calcium as ½ cup of milk!
  • Potassium: most of us don’t get enough of this important mineral, which helps with blood pressure and can combat bloating 

They’re also higher in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and managenese than most other fruits. 

Figs are also rich in phytonutrients, which are natural compounds that have been linked with boosting immunity, slowing signs of aging, and protecting against several chronic diseases. 

Trying to get more fruit in your diet? Just 3-5 dried (¼ cup) or fresh (½ cup) figs count as one serving of fruit. 

Why California Figs? 

Did you know that 100% of the dried figs and 98% of the fresh figs grown commercially in the U.S. are grown in California? 

And there’s a reason for it. Grown in sun-drenched valleys of California, fig trees from California have the ideal growing conditions to create juicy, flavorful fruit. 

California Figs are also inspected and certified to ensure that they meet the high standards of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. 

When are figs in season? 

Figs start to show up on the trees around May, with peak California fig season lasting from the summer through October or even November. 

While fresh figs are stunningly beautiful, to get my fig-fix year-round I keep a bag (or two) of dried ones in my pantry for baking, cooking, and snacking. 

Speaking of, let’s talk about all the ways you can incorporate more of these sweet fruits into your meals. 

Get more Fig Recipes in the California Figs Cookbook

Looking for ways to get more figs in your life? Then you need to check out the California Figs Cookbook: A Collection of Recipes for Fig Lovers, which was created by the California Fig Advisory Board. 

Not only is it filled with 62 recipes, but each one is accompanied with a gorgeous photo to get your taste buds watering. 

Some of my favorites so far include: 

  • California Fig and Coconut Overnight Oats
  • Quinoa Salad with California Figs 
  • California Fig Cider Sauce (which would be delicious over Thanksgiving turkey)
  • California Fig and Prosciutto Pizza

While I haven’t tried them yet, the California Fig Cinnamon Breakfast Rolls are on my list to try out this winter! 

California figs cookbook

Wondering where you can get your hands on a copy? Head on over to www.CaliforniaFigs.com

This mason jar salad is a spin-off of California Fig’s Waldorf Salad 

To help kickoff the new cookbook, I decided to put a Thanksgiving-spin on the California Fig Waldorf Salad. 

Perfect for meal prep and bringing to work or school, mason jar salads are a convenient way to make a flavor-packed salad that doesn’t get soggy when made ahead of time. 

California figs cookbook opened to waldorf salad recipe

The Waldorf Salad features green onion, celery, apple slices, walnuts, dried figs, goat cheese, and romaine lettuce complete with a simple vinaigrette.

With all those textures and flavors, it’s more than “just” a salad. 

This fall fig salad takes a Thanksgiving twist on that recipe.

We’re still using dried figs and goat cheese, but then swapping sweet potatoes in for the apple, adding leftover turkey, and using roasted hazelnuts in place of the walnuts. 

And if you’re thinking that you don’t usually have goat cheese and figs at Thanksgiving, let this salad be your excuse to make a crowd-pleasing appetizer this year!

My favorite part of this salad is the combination of dried figs and the maple vinaigrette. Between the nutty, slightly smoky flavor of the figs and the sweet maple, it’s a match made in flavor-heaven. 

What You’ll Need

Healthy Fall Fig Salad

For the salad: 

  • Leftover turkey
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • Dried California Mission figs 
  • Goat cheese
  • Roasted hazelnuts
  • Arugula 

For the maple vinaigrette: 

  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 

Fall Fig Salad Ingredient Substitutions 

The best part about this salad is that you can sub in any leftovers you have from Thanksgiving or that are just sitting around in your fridge. 

  • Turkey: if not making this after Thanksgiving, feel free to use chicken instead. For a meatless option, roasted chickpeas or tofu would work great. 
  • Roasted sweet potato: use any leftover winter squash from your celebration, such as sugar pumpkin, butternut squash, or acorn squash. 

    You can also use any leftover grains or fruit (like apples or pears) in place of the sweet potato.
  • Dried California Mission figs: California dried golden figs are another great option as they’re a bit nuttier and buttery. 
  • Goat cheese: feta, manchego, or blue cheese would all be equally delicious. You can also add an extra flavor boost by using a flavored goat cheese (honey goat cheese is especially delicious in this salad!). 
  • Roasted hazelnuts: use any nuts that you have leftover from your Thanksgiving cooking or baking, such as pecans, walnuts, or almonds. 
  • Arugula: again, add any leafy green you have leftover, such as spinach, mixed baby greens, kale, or leafy green lettuce.  
  • Maple Vinaigrette: for a more floral flavor, use honey in place of the maple syrup. Or to really go all-in on the fig flavor, use a fig-infused balsamic vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.. 

How to assemble mason jar salads 

Healthy Fall Fig Salad

The most important tip is to put the dressing on the bottom and the greens on the very top. 

While the order of the other ingredients isn’t quite as important, I like to put my starch or protein directly on top of the dressing as I don’t mind if they soak up more of it. 

Dried fruits, cheeses, and chopped nuts are usually towards the top to keep them further away from the dressing. 

Plus, they’re usually my favorite part of any salad, so by having them in the middle almost every bite will contain at least a little fig and cheese. 

Fall Fig Salad also makes for a festive first course at Thanksgiving or Christmas 

This fig fall salad is also a nutritious way to add a pop of color to your holiday dinners. Simply leave out the turkey to turn it into a side dish or first course. 

Healthy Fall Fig Salad

More healthy fig recipes 

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Healthy Fall Fig Salad

Fall Fig Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

This Fall Fig Salad features layers of sweet California figs, creamy goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and tender turkey. Thanksgiving leftovers never tasted so good!
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy fig salad, Mason jar salad, Thanksgiving leftovers
Servings: 2
Calories: 397kcal

Ingredients

For two salads:

  • 7 ounces of leftover turkey cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup cubed roasted sweet potato
  • 4 dried California Mission figs chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon roasted hazelnuts roughly chopped
  • 4 cups arugula washed and dried

For the maple vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • In a mason jar or small bowl, whisk together dijon mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt until well combined. Add in olive oil, whisking continuously. Set aside.

For mason jar salads:

  • Set out two large mason jars. Pour half the maple vinaigrette into each jar (or less per personal preference).
  • Next, add remaining ingredients in the following order: sweet potato, turkey, figs, goat cheese, nuts. Finally, top with arugula and cover with a lid.
  • When ready to eat, either dig right in with a fork, or invert salad into a large bowl.

If not layering in a mason jar:

  • Place 2 cups of arugula in each bowl. Add sweet potatoes, turkey, figs, goat cheese, and nuts. Drizzle dressing on top and enjoy immediately.

Notes

Nutrition for ½ of recipe: 397 calories, 20 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 27 grams carbs, 5 grams fiber, 38 grams protein
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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

Please contact me at kelli@thehealthytoast.com to request a copy of my resume or media kit, or to inquire about rates and services.

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