Salad greens drizzled with a delicious homemade balsamic vinaigrette pairs perfectly with pre-dressed figs. The figs were quartered down almost to its base, then puckered up, dolloped with ricotta and topped with pepper, honey, extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest. Once I get word that figs are in season, I hasten to the market to get some. I love figs! I love them as they are, in my breakfast oats, in my dessert pies but best of all, in this salad!

Figs & Peppered Ricotta Salad With Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Prep: ~10 minutes 
Level: Easy
Serves: 2
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Vinaigrette can be made a week ahead.


The vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar*
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar**
Pinch of pepper and salt

The salad
4 Figs
4 Tablespoons ricotta***
2 teaspoons honey
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest or grate the lemon zest directly over the figs
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups of mesclun/mixed salad greens
* Don’t splurge on super pricey balsamic vinegar. Use what you can purchase from your regular grocery store. While affordable, it can differ considerably in taste from premium grade. However, expensive does not equate good quality. The solution is to add a little caster sugar.
** The amount of sugar you use depends on how sharp the balsamic vinegar taste. You want the salad dressing to be slightly on the sweet side. Don’t skip.
*** The consistency of ricotta differs across brands. If the ricotta is runny (like the one pictured above), before using, drain it for 1/2 an hour or overnight, in a colander/strainer that has been lined with kitchen paper towels.


The balsamic vinaigrette
1. Whisk all the balsamic vinaigrette ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you are not using it shortly, refrigerate. I like this dressing to be chilled.

Dress the figs
1. Prepare the figs only when you are ready to eat. Set all the figs on a plate. Quarter the figs almost down to its base. Use your two thumbs and forefingers to pinch and push the base of the figs upwards so that they are thrust upwards to open up like a blossom. Return them to the plate.
2. Dollop 1 Tablespoons of ricotta into each cavity. Remember to drain ricotta before hand if its consistency is runny.
3. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each mound of ricotta.
4. Lightly drizzle extra virgin olive oil over each fig.
5. Divide the 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest or zest directly over the figs.
6. Finally, sprinkle black pepper over each mound of ricotta.

To serve
1. Distribute the mesclun/salad greens onto 2 plates and drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over them.
2. Place 2 dressed figs over each plate of salad. Eat.


How else to serve?

(1) So you do not like figs. No problem. Use peaches or nectarines instead.

(2) The dressed figs can be served as part of a meze. I often do so when they are in season. For the recipes of the meze on my dining table, click here, Meze, A Selection of Wonderful Little Bites.


A Japanese Sesame Sauce that I make with applesauce. You can choose to use it as a salad dressing or as a dip. In Japanese restaurants, there is a similar sesame sauce that is drizzled over blocks of cold tofu or little parcels of cold tightly bundled spinach. So many ways to enjoy it!