Fresh Fig & Grape Salad  with Crispy Shallots – Meg of This Mess is Ours

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Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots – Meg of This Mess is Ours

September 24, 2021
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Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots – Meg of This Mess is Ours

This delicious Fresh Fig & Grape Salad recipe with Crispy Shallots is from our friend Meg of This Mess is Ours. This recipe is inspired by her love of all things California Grown. This recipe starts with a base of leafy greens that are lightly dressed in an irresistibly bright California honey + mustard vinaigrette. Then it is piled high with crisp grapes, fresh and dried figs, crispy shallots, pistachios, and briny feta.

Meg van der Kruik of This Mess is Ours featured on a green Grown to be Great graphic image
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FROM MEG:

I may not have been born and raised in California, but it is the first place that I ever felt truly at home!

When I married my husband almost 15 years ago, he was a Southern California transplant living somewhere on the line between Tennessee and Georgia. Almost as soon as we married we set out and headed west to settle in Long Beach, California near his family. I was a small-town girl in a very big city and I fell in love hard and fast!

The people and the eclectic mix of cultures where we moved were incredibly diverse – a melting pot unlike anything I had ever seen. I found myself exploring cultures and connecting with people around food like never before.

California is where my life-long interest in cooking really blossomed and turned into a passion for learning about our food system as a whole. Where our food comes from, the people who grow it, and how it grows became the knowledge I was craving!

Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots

The more I learned about California grown produce, the more passionate I became!

The more new-to-me fruits and vegetables that I tried at the local farmer’s markets, the more my appreciation grew. I would spend my weekends at local markets picking the brains of the farmers and farm workers. The more I learned, the more questions I had, and the more passionate I became about educating others about the more than 400 different commodities California provides for the nation.

The state of California grows more than 1/3 of the country’s vegetables and 2/3 of our country’s fruits and nuts​ – which makes California the leading agricultural state in the nation​.​ This means that in virtually every pantry or refrigerator across this great country there is something (or possibly a lot of things) that come to you straight from the Golden State!

From the panhandle of Florida all the way to the mountains in the Pacific Northwest, we all benefit and flourish from the hard work of the California farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, and fisher people that work 24/7 365 days a year to provide food, fiber, and foliage for the world​.

Two bowls of Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots and a jar of honey mustard vinaigrette.

Now, let’s talk about this EPIC Fresh Fig & Grape Salad shall we?

This salad is a combination of ALL things California Grown! From the leafy greens to the crunchy pistachios, every ingredient is grown in California. Even the honey and olive oil in the vinaigrette can be traced back to farms there.

This salad is BIG on flavor, but it also hits the necessary texture components of an incredible salad too! Lots of crunchy, chewy, and fresh textures in every bite. With a sweet-sour component from the dressing that is just irresistible.

A plate of shallots, some peeled and sliced some whole for making crispy air fryer shallots to top the Fresh Fig & Grape Salad

How to make crispy shallots in an air fryer for topping this Fresh Fig & Grape Salad

I love when salads have a smoky flavor component, and surprisingly the crispy shallots provide just that. My husband has been a vegetarian most of his life which means the addition of smoky bacon bits is out of the question. Over the years, I have gotten pretty creative with recipes like coconut bacon and crispy eggplant bacon, but honestly when I first bit into these crispy shallots, I was quite surprised at how a smoky flavor developed naturally without any help from me at all.

I was admittedly SUPER late to the air fryer game, but that story rings true for most of the great loves of my life. Late to adopt, but when I do I become a die-hard advocate. Honestly, I don’t even use my air fryer every single day, but it is great for making ingredients like these crispy shallots for topping my Fresh Fig & Grape Salad.

Traditional crispy shallot recipes require a substantial amount of oil and a prolonged cook period under a watchful eye. I don’t have the time, patience, or desire for that type of vegetable oil intake with my salad.

My air fryer eliminates the need for lots of oil while creating irresistibly crispy salad toppings like these crispy shallots in a fraction of the time!

Prepare the shallots for the air fryer.

Cut the ends off of the desired amount of shallots and peel the papery skin.

Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the shallot into uniform slices.

I like LOTS of texture in our salads, so I left my shallot rings a bit larger, but for super thin and crispy shallots that cook fast, you can slice them thinner.

Toss the shallot rings with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil to coat and a few pinches of salt. Then spread in the basket of the air fryer in a single layer.

Cook at 250°F, shaking the basket regularly for 10 minutes. Remove any shallot rings that are becoming super crisp and return the rest to the air fryer to cook longer.

Depending on the number of shallots you would like to make you may need to do this in batches.

Take a trip to flavor town!

Once the crispy shallots have cooked and cooled and all of their colors have changed from white or purplish to a golden brown, you can store them in an airtight container in your pantry until you are ready to use.

These crisp shallots have an intensely smoky flavor and crunch that is unparalleled.

They are amazing as a topper on this salad, but are also delicious scattered over pasta dishes or as a crispy garnish for soup too!

Honestly, those crispy shallots are the easiest, most delicious salad topping I’ve ever attempted to make. No muss, no fuss, no special marinades to make them taste smoky, they just naturally cook up that way. Intensely smoky which is the perfect flavor counterpart to this salad which has lots of fresh fruit undertones.

Two bowls of Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots and a jar of honey mustard vinaigrette on a table ready to serve.

Let’s talk about one of my all-time favorite ingredients in this salad – the grapes!!!

Did you know that California grows 80 varieties of fresh grapes? It’s true! Most of us just call them by their colors instead of their actual name. Whichever table grapes you happen to have on hand though, green, red, or black, they are all delicious in this salad.

If you like this Fresh Fig & Grape Salad recipe you’ll love my other grape inspired recipes too!

California grapes have a wonderfully long growing season from the beginning of summer all the way to January which means for me, the table grape recipe inspiration is always growing over here!

Check out some of Meg’s other delicious recipes inspired by California Grown table grapes. Scroll all the way down for her delicious Fresh Fig & Grape Salad recipe. 

Two bowls of green grape nice cream

Grape Nice Cream

The nice cream craze has blown up in recent years, and for good reason. It’s a delicious, plant-based, way to get your ice cream fix while still eating healthy. Meg’s Grape Nice Cream is one of our favorite recipes for grapes because it only requires 4 basic ingredients and is only 40 calories per serving! Winning!

A glass of Rosemary and Roasted Grape Wine Cocktail

Rosemary and Roasted Grape Wine Cocktail

In Meg’s latest wine cocktail creation, she pairs the flavors of jammy roasted grapes, woodsy rosemary, and bright fresh lemon with the effervescent bubbles of sparkling wine. It’s quite honestly pure magic for the taste buds!

A bowl of rotisserie chicken and grape salad.

Easy Rotisserie Chicken and Grape Salad Recipe

This salad combines shredded rotisserie chicken, crunchy celery, tasty grapes, and toasty walnuts that have all been enrobed in a simple dressing made of Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and fresh tarragon.

A platter of arugula, goat cheese and roasted grape salad.

Roasted Grape and Arugula Salad

While Meg loves popping fresh chilled grapes as a healthy snack, she actually likes serving them in unexpected ways even more! Take this Roasted Grape & Arugula Salad Recipe for example – it’s savory, it’s sweet, and it has a jammy component that we can’t get enough of, and it all comes together in about 15 minutes! It’s a total grape salad showstopper!

Inspiration for delicious grape recipes for dessert, Grape cake with baked orange ricotta

Olive Oil Cake with Grapes and Polenta

This easy-to-make olive oil cake is moist and very tender, subtly sweet, with a pronounced olive oil flavor and the perfect hint of lemon and toasted almond! 

You can find more of Meg’s work on her blog This Mess Is Ours, where she shares pro-tips to make everything from kale salad and crepe cakes to homemade dog food.  She specializes in creating meals that will work for households with multiple dietary needs or preferences. Her goal is to help ease the frustration of answering that age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” and to get you back to cooking one meal at dinner that makes everyone happy! 

Meg is also our current CA GROWN blogger-in-residence, sharing seasonal deliciousness via our weekly recipes. 

We know you’ll love her easy Fresh Fig & Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots recipe! If you love grapes as much as we do, check out our favorite recipes using grapes next!

Fresh Fig and Grape Salad with Crispy Shallots

Leafy greens are lightly dressed in an irresistibly bright California honey + mustard vinaigrette. Then piled high with an irresistable combination of crisp grapes, fresh and dried figs, crispy shallots, pistachios, and briny feta.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword dried fig, feta, fig, fresh fig, grape, green grapes, leafy greens, olive oil, salad, Shallot, table grapes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook time for shallots 20 minutes
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • air fryer for shallots

Ingredients

Air Fryer Crispy Shallots

  • 4 shallots peeled and sliced into uniform sized rings.
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • a few pinches of coarse salt

California Honey Mustard vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey from California
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fresh Fig & Grape Salad

  • 4 ounces baby butter lettuce leaves
  • 3 large fresh figs stems removed, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup whole green table grapes sliced into bite-sized rounds
  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios roughly chopped
  • 2 dried golden figs diced very small
  • 3 ounces feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Air Fryer Crispy Shallots

Instructions

Air Fryer Crispy Shallots

  • Cut the ends off of the desired amount of shallots and peel the papery skin. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the shallot into uniform slices. Toss the shallot rings with olive oil to coat and spread in the basket of the air fryer in a single layer.
  • Cook at 250°F, shaking the basket regularly for 10 minutes. Remove any shallot rings that are becoming super crisp and return the rest to the air fryer to cook longer.

Honey Mustard vinaigrette

  • Whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey in a small bowl until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh Fig & Grape Salad

  • Arrange lettuce, fresh fig slices, and sliced grapes into shallow bowls or plates to serve. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and season the salad with flaky sea salt.
  • Sprinkle the chopped pistachios, dried figs, and feta over the top of the dressed salad.
  • Top with crispy shallots and serve immediatley.

Notes

This recipe is written for 2 meal-sized portions of salad. This recipe can also be divided into 4 smaller side salad portions.

How to store Crispy Shallots

Once the crispy shallots have cooked and cooled and all the color of all pieces change from white or purplish to a golden brown, you can store them in an airtight container in your pantry for up to 2 weeks.
No air fryer? No problem! Simply use store-bought crispy onions, deep fry them on the stovetop as discussed in the blog post, or omit them altogether. The salad is still wonderful without them.

How to store vinaigrette

Honey Mustard vinaigrette can be made up to 1 week ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and whisk before serving.

Frequently asked questions about grapes from California.

When are table grapes in season?

Fresh grapes from California are available from the beginning of Summer through January.

How many varieties of grapes are grown in California?

California grows 80 varieties of fresh grapes, but most people just know them by their colors: green, red, and black.

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