I loved the autumnal salad I posted recently so much that I started thinking about other seasonal salads I could make.
This Persimmon Avocado Rocket Salad features everything that a good salad should, in my opinion – fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, avocado, fresh leaves, and most importantly, a delicious, well-balanced dressing that’s salty, sour and sweet all at the same time.
I’d been thinking about making a savoury salad with persimmons for a long time, but only just got round to it. If you haven’t tried persimmons yet, you really need to. They’re a very common autumn/winter fruit in Japan, and are sometimes called sharon fruit or kaki (which is the Japanese word for them). They’re sweet and juicy and become very, very soft when ripe. For the purposes of this salad, I’d recommend using a fairly unripe, firm one that you can easily cut into small pieces. I’ve seen lots of people eat them with their skins on, but in Japan they’re only ever eaten peeled (and I think this is pretty key to enjoying them as the skin is quite tough and doesn’t taste very nice!). Also please make sure to use Fuyu persimmons not Hachiya persimmons, as the latter variety tastes very puckery and generally unpleasant unless they’re extremely ripe and basically falling apart.
Because I love persimmons so much, I took great care to choose ingredients that would compliment them well. I chose dried cranberries because they add a delicious tart-sweet flavour (you could also substitute dried sour cherries), and hazelnuts and pecans for an earthy nuttiness (pumpkin seeds would also work well). I didn’t have any on hand when I made this salad, but I think pomegranate arils would also make a really nice addition!
I absolutely love the combination of different flavours and textures in this salad – juicy, sweet persimmons, chewy, tart-sweet cranberries, crunchy, earthy nuts, creamy avocado and crisp, peppery rocket.
For the dressing, I used a combination of pomegranate molasses and ume-shiso seasoning. You can get pomegranate molasses in most supermarkets, but if you can’t get hold of it, just substitute any other sweetener.
You can buy ume-shiso seasoning in local health stores, or Asian supermarkets. I use this Clearspring one. Ume-shiso seasoning is a common Japanese ingredient, and is made with salty and sour pickled Japanese plums and a fragrant herb called shiso. But if you can’t get hold of it, feel free to substitute balsamic vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar.
What I love about this salad is that it bridges the gap between autumnal and festive, thanks to the rainbow of beautiful, almost Christmassy colours – the vivid orange of the persimmon, the bright green of the rocket, the ruby red of the jewel-like cranberries, and the earthy, brown of the roasted nuts.
This salad is great as a side dish for autumnal pastas and soups, but is also special enough to be the perfect seasonal salad for festive gatherings! If you’d rather make this salad into a proper meal rather than a side dish, you could even bulk it out with quinoa, buckwheat, or Puy lentils.
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 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 avocado, peeled and diced
- Handful of dried cranberries (or sub dried sour cherries)
- Few handfuls of rocket leaves
- 1/2 handful (roasted) pecan nuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 handful (roasted) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Optional: arils from 1/2 pomegranate
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (or sub any other syrup e.g. date syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, honey if not vegan)
- 1 tablespoons ume-shiso seasoning (or sub balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
- Pinch of salt, to taste
- Place all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl
- Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl
- Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and mix well
- Best enjoyed immediately