I absolutely love the combination of flavours and textures in this Apple Fig Walnut Rocket Salad!
I’d been wanting to make a salad for autumn/winter for a while, but had a hard time finding flavour combinations that would work without a cheese (namely goats cheese or blue cheese) to tie them together.
I love savoury fruit-based salads, so I just had to use something fruity – I went with seasonal apples and dried figs for extra sweetness, which, paired with the walnuts also adds a Christmassy touch. I wanted something green yet seasonal, so went for rocket, and added avocado to make it more substantial.
I was really stuck about what sort of dressing to use – a blue cheese dressing was the first thing that came to mind, but I wasn’t sure how to make that one work without the cheese. Then I remembered how I’d used pesto for salad dressings before, and thought that it’s salty, cheesy, garlicky, flavour would compliment the other components of this salad in a similar way to a blue cheese dressing. So I tried it, and it worked so well!
You can use store-bought pesto for this of course, but I really prefer to make my own as it tastes so much nicer. I like to make big batches of homemade pesto and divide it up into smaller portions to store in the freezer. Leftover pesto is great for pasta dishes, or for making cooked vegetables more exciting.
It would be no exaggeration to say that this Apple fig Walnut Rocket Salad is my new favourite – I just love the combination of the crisp, fragrant apples, chewy, sweet dried figs, crunchy, slightly bitter walnuts, soft, creamy avocado and velvety, peppery rocket all covered in that deeply savoury yet fresh green pesto dressing.
I love having this salad as a side dish for things like pasta and soups. It’s also special enough to be the perfect seasonal salad for festive gatherings! And it happens to be vegan, gluten-free and incredibly healthy.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 2 red apples (I like a crisp, tart-sweet variety such as Braeburn), cored and diced
- 4 dried figs, roughly chopped
- Handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 avocados, peeled and diced
- Few handfuls of rocket
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Handful of basil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- Generous glug of olive oil
- Pinch of salt + pepper, to taste
- Optional: 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Add all the ingredients for the pesto dressing to a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth
- If it’s looking a little too thick to be a dressing, add a little water to thin it out
- Place all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and immediately squeeze over a generous amount of lemon juice to prevent the apples from oxidising
- Just before serving, pour the pesto dressing over the salad and mix well
- Best enjoyed immediately