With it’s Fall flavors and colors, this Persimmon Harvest Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette appeals to those who eat with their eyes! This vegetarian recipe is also perfect for those following a Primal or Paleo way of eating.
I am reaping the benefits of Fall harvests by way of bi-weekly CSA deliveries. I’m lucky to be in a position to help support the local farmer’s in my area. But, I currently find myself with a lot of persimmon, beets, and butternut squash – all items I typically don’t buy because they are higher in carbs.
Since I do enjoy these beautiful fall harvest produce items, I thought I would combine them into a harvest salad bursting with Fall flavors. This is perfect for my vegetarian and Paleo friends.
What is a Persimmon?
If you haven’t had a persimmon before I don’t know if I can adequately describe it’s flavor. It is delicate and delicately sweet. The two most common varieties of persimmons found in the super markets and farmer’s markets are the Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons.
The Fuyu persimmons are lighter in color – more yellow and more flat in shape and eaten a little more firm while the Hachiya persimmon is a little more rounded and tend to be eaten when it’s very soft and ripe – almost mushy. This beautiful persimmon harvest salad features Fuyu persimmons.
Persimmon Harvest Salad
This harvest salad has a great compliment of flavors. Earthy beets, nutty-sweet butternut squash, sweet persimmon, crunchy toasted hazelnuts and peppery arugula tossed with an orange vinaigrette. Mellow Parmesan cheese provides a nutty-salty bite. The ingredients definitely represent all the best Fall flavors.
Now, let’s be honest for a minute… Not everyone likes beets, in fact, my husband says they taste like dirt. And while I can’t agree with that statement, there is a certain amount of earthiness in their flavor which pairs nicely with acidic ingredients – like citrus, or even compliments a nice nutty or tangy flavorful cheese.
Other great cheese choices would be crumbled blue cheese, crumbled feta cheese or even goat cheese balls rolled in fresh herbs (lemon thyme) or chopped nuts.
The citrus vinaigrette is not overpowering but adds a nice quiet acidity to the salad which dresses-up the earthiness of the vegetables and heightens the flavor of the persimmon.
Customize this Persimmon Harvest Salad
It’s easy to customize salads per the ingredients you already have at hand. Try these ideas to make this harvest salad your own:
- add rotisserie chicken
- swap the hazelnuts for toasted walnuts or pecans
- swap the Parmesan cheese for blue cheese, feta cheese or goat cheese
- add tart and vibrant pomegranate arils
- choose a lemon vinaigrette or honey dijon vinaigrette
Persimmon Harvest Salad
- 2 ripe Fuyu persimmons (sliced horizontally)
- 4 medium beets, cubed (roasted or pickled)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked butternut squash, cubed (or cooked sweet potato)
- 1 pound arugula
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup extra light olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- zest from the orange
- pinch of salt
- pinch of fresh black pepper
- toasted hazelnuts (pecans, or walnuts)
- Parmesan cheese (goat cheese or feta cheese)
- pomegranate seeds optional
- Butternut squash: Peel the butternut squash and cut lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and cut lengthwise into quarters. Put into a glass baking dish with 1 T water, cover and microwave for 4 minutes. Cut into pieces. Alternately, use already cooked butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
- Citrus Vinaigrette: Squeeze the orange juice into a small sauce pan and bring up to a boil. Turn the heat down to a strong simmer and reduce by half. Pour the reduced orange juice into a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients for the dressing and whisk. Taste for seasoning. For a stronger orange flavor add more orange zest, for more acidity add more vinegar, for a stronger punch of tartness add more lemon juice.
- Assemble: Divide the arugula among 4 plates. Arrange the sliced persimmon. Add the butternut squash, beets, cheese, hazelnuts and any other garnishes. Pour dressing over. Serve.