Arugula Fall Salad with Spiced Pecans & Pumpkin Seeds, Persimmon & Blue Cheese
When this one had our garden guests going back for seconds and thirds, we knew we had to write up the recipe! It's a fall-inspired blend of crunchy spiced pecans and pumpkin seeds, rich creamy blue cheese, and a bright citrus and herb dressing with bursts of sweet pomegranate. The play of flavors and textures is delightful - sweet against savory and spices, crunchy next to both creamy and juicy.
The dressing itself is sublime and can be used for a variety of salads - it's a great example of the magic that can happen when you mix-and-match citrus and herb olive oils, but feel free to simplify or use zest/fresh herbs instead, it will still be utterly delicious! Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or side.
- 3/4 cup mixed pumpkin seeds and chopped pecans (or make extra for snacking - walnuts would be good too)
- drizzle classic EVOO (about 1 tsp)
- 3/4 tsp Harissa spice
- 1lb arugula
- 1/2 cup blue cheese, thickly shaved or crumbled
- 1-2 Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced (the crunchy kind shaped like a tomato, not the softer pear-shaped kind)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup classic EVOO (Olio Nuovo, House Blend, Olio Santo or your favorite)
- 1 Tbsp Blood Orange EVOO
- 1 Tbsp Basil EVOO
- 2 Tbsp Blood Orange Meyer Lemon Cider Vinegar Shrub (if you don't have this, get some! Or sweeten the dressing a smidge with a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup.)
- 2-3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (if you want a little more sharpness to your dressing, try adding a squeeze of lime juice too)
- about 2 Tbsp minced chives, or to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 325F. Pile pumpkin seeds and pecans in the center of a shallow baking dish (we don't like making extra dishes, but you can also do this in a bowl if preferred), drizzle with Blood Orange olive oil and toss to coat - you just want enough olive oil to lightly coat the nuts and seeds so the spices will stick. Sprinkle with Harissa and toss again. Spread mixture in an even layer across the baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes until fragrantly toasty. Be careful not to let the spices darken too much or burn! Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, prep your blue cheese, fruit and dressing.
To make the dressing, simply whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl or jar, adding salt and pepper last, to taste (and any more of anything else you'd like to pop).
To assemble salad, lay down arugula in a large serving bowl if serving family style, or on individual plates. Drizzle greens with a medium amount of dressing and toss to coat - you may want to do this in a couple of rounds, tasting as you go. Top with fruit, cheese, spiced nut/seed mix and serve!
- Sub baby spinach for arugula.
- Add shredded chicken for a heartier lunch salad.
- Sub halved grapes for the persimmon if hard to find or out of season.
- Sub a very sharp (slightly crumbly if you can find it) cheddar for blue cheese.