I had never eaten a fresh fig until a few years ago, when a friend asked if we wanted any from her neighbour’s tree. “Yes!”, was the obvious answer! Fresh figs are a wonderfully tasty fruit, especially when their skin starts to give way and a bit of their nectar seeps out. And when a fig is perfectly ripe (or over-ripe!), it has a sweetness that pairs perfectly with a little spice. Case in point is this Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad.
The idea for this salad came about after a trip into Whole Foods, where they had strategically placed the best looking figs right at the entrance to the store. They were staring me down, and I was sucked in immediately. Good thing they are in season right now, because they were actually a reasonable price, so I couldn’t refuse!
There are only a handful of ingredients in this salad – a few tangled carrots are tossed with a spicy vinaigrette and the wheat berries give a nice nutty chew and a bit more substance to the salad. I really think the spicy vinaigrette brings out the best of the sweet fresh figs!
Like most of our salads, the recipe here is a general guide. If you don’t like spicy foods, leave out the chilies. If you have other veggies in you fridge, feel free to use them up. We like adding grains like farro or wheat berries to our salads, as they hold up well in the fridge over a few days, and keep us feeling full well into the afternoon.
So if you’ve never eaten a fresh fig before, make friends with a fig-laden neighbour, or grab a pint of them at the store while they are still in season, and make this salad! 🙂
- ½ cup dry wheat berries (or farro or other grain)
- 3 - 4 medium to large carrots, peeled and grated or spiralized
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 4 fresh figs, sliced
- 2 red Thai chilies, chopped (remove the seeds, if you want a milder heat)
- 1 good handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 good handful fresh basil, shredded
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
- Rinse the wheat berries under running water. Place in a medium sauce pan and pour enough water in to cover them by at least 5 cm. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Partially cover the pan and let simmer until tender to the bite, about 25 minutes. Drain and leave to cool before adding to the salad.
- While the wheat berries are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Place the carrots, shallot, green onions, dates, fresh figs and chilies into a large bowl. Toss to combine.
- Add the lime juice and zest, the olive oil and fresh cilantro and basil. Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric and ground nutmeg. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
- Add the cooked wheat berries and toss to combine.
- Serve the salad with added sliced fresh figs on top, if desired.