Fruit and cheese has become a hugely popular pairing in recent years. Whether it’s Halloumi and watermelon or figs and cheese, Middle Eastern chefs have set a delicious food trend in recent years.
One of my absolute favorite combinations is fig salad with goat cheese which I make on repeat during summer and autumn. Today, I’ll share with you my recipe for Mediterranean fig salad which makes a great appetizer or light lunch.
What’s Special about Fig Salad
A fig is a small fruit native to the Mediterranean and western Asia. Thanks to its popularity, fig trees are widely cultivated around the world these days.
Figs can be snacked right off the tree on their own. What’s great about figs is that they can also perfectly be processed to create new dishes. In the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, figs are commonly used to make jam. Since fig season only lasts for a few weeks (usually between August and October), dried figs are a popular snack to enjoy year-round.
Figs can be combined with a variety of ingredients. In the Mediterranean, you’ll often find them in salads. They pair extremely well with many types of lettuce, nuts and honey.
Another great pairing for figs is cheese; and that’s where this delicious figs and goat cheese salad comes into play. What’s interesting to know is that combining sweet ingredients (fruit) and cheese isn’t part of traditional Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a food trend that has been increasingly popular over the past few years.
For this fig salad with goat cheese, you’ll only need a handful of ingredients. The way I prepare it, this salad makes a great appetizer or light meal.
- Figs: Figs are a key ingredient to this salad. Make sure your figs are ripe, as this will greatly affect the taste.
- Goat’s cheese: Feta cheese is my favorite for this recipe. Its salty taste goes extremely well with the sweet figs. You can either use goat’s or sheep’s feta.
- Olive oil: When baking feta cheese in the oven, it’s important that you add a bit of olive oil onto the feta block to avoid it from drying out during the baking process. Extra virgin olive oil will give you the best quality and taste.
- Herbs: Sprinkle some herbs onto the feta when baking. You can either use fresh herbs or dried herbs. The herbs will give your feta a slight different taste. I like to use either thyme or rosemary for this recipe.
- Nuts: Nuts complement both feta and fig and will add some crunch to this salad. I like to use pine nuts (very common in Middle Eastern cuisine), but walnuts work just as well.
- Lettuce: Lettuce (ideally Romaine lettuce) will be the perfect base for your salad.
- Honey (optional): If you have a sweet tooth, you can drizzle a bit of honey onto the baked feta cheese. The honey will truly round off your salad.
The feta cheese will slightly melt in the oven and release some liquids. Together with the olive oil and honey, they will add some flavor to the lettuce. I don’t usually add additional dressing to this salad.
Note: Quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe and can be adjusted according to the amount of servings you’d like to make.
How to Make Figs and Goat Cheese Salad
My fig salad with goat cheese is very easy and fast to prepare. Here’s my step-by-step recipe.
Step 1: Remove from brine
Before you start, preheat your oven to 200°C. Remove the feta cheese from the packaging. Drain the brine. Pat dry with kitchen paper to remove any excess brine. Place the feta cheese block in the center of a small oven dish. Do not cut the feta block, but simply use it in one whole piece.
Step 2: Cut the figs
Cut off the top part (stems) of the figs. Then cut the figs into quarters. Place them in the oven dish around the feta block.
Step 3: Add oil and herbs
Drizzle olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) on top of the feta cheese block. Sprinkle with dried herbs or use fresh herbs (lay them on top of the feta cheese while baking).
Step 4: Bake
Place the oven dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. You don’t need to flip around the feta while baking.
Step 5: Arrange the salad
While the ingredients are baking, arrange some lettuce leaves (e.g. Romaine lettuce or lamb’s lettuce).
Step 6: Roast pine nuts
A few minutes before taking the feta and figs out of the oven, heat a small pan on the stove (without oil). Put the pine nuts in the hot pan and briefly toast (for about 2 minutes) until golden.
Step 7: Serve
Remove the oven dish from the oven. Transfer the feta block onto the lettuce. Arrange the figs around the feta block. Add the roasted pine nuts onto the feta. Drizzle some honey onto the cheese and figs. Serve warm.
What to Serve with Figs and Cheese?
Fig salad with goat cheese makes a great appetizer or light lunch. You can eat it on its own or pair it with bread. Lebanese flatbread tastes great with feta and figs, but you could also use French baguette, toast or any other white bread.
Figs salad tastes great alongside other appetizers, such as watermelon feta salad (another summer favorite), or fresh fruit (e.g. grapes).
Make Ahead & Storage
Fig salad with goat cheese tastes best when served warm, immediately after baking. It’s not the best candidate to make ahead of time. If you happen to have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Baked feta and figs can be stored for about 1-2 days. Store the lettuce separately.
Enjoy at room temperature or briefly warm up the feta and figs.
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Figs and Goat Cheese Salad
- 4 figs
- 200 g feta cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 0.5 tsp thyme dried or fresh
- 1 tsp pine nuts or walnuts
- 1 tsp honey optional
- Preheat your oven to 200°C. Remove the cheese from the brine, pat dry with kitchen paper. Place the cheese block in the middle of an oven dish.
- Chop off the stems of the figs. Quarter the figs and place them around the feta.
- Drizzle olive oil and herbs (fresh or dried) on the feta cheese.
- Place the oven dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Arrange lettuce (Romaine or lamb’s) on a plate.
- Towards the end of the baking time, roast pine nuts in a small pan (about 2 minutes, without oil!).
- Remove the oven dish from the oven. Place the feta onto the lettuce, arrange the figs around it. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and drizzle with honey. Serve warm with bread.
- This recipe yields 4 servings when served as an appetizer. If you’d like to make it as a main dish (e.g. for lunch), you’ll get 2 servings with the default servings indicated in the recipe card.
- The nutritional values are rough indications. They can vary according to the exact weight, type and brand of your ingredients.