Spinach and Persimmon Salad with citrus dressing combines a sweet fuyu persimmon and strawberries with salty feta cheese and pistachios in a spinach salad lightly dressed with a citrus marmalade-based dressing... perfect for your holiday table (or anytime)!
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!~~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
Christmas is but a few days away... Our Christmas ducks are beginning to thaw, the saffron, pomegranate molasses, za'atar, etc. survived the miles at 35,000 feet between Harlingen and Charlotte, and I'm ready with a recipe to complete my lovely Persian-inspired menu!
This Spinach and Persimmon Salad combines sweet persimmons and strawberries with salty feta cheese and crunchy toasted pistachios in a spinach salad lightly dressed with a citrus marmalade-based dressing. The flavors complement my Za'atar and Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Duck and Zereshk and Pistachio Pilaf beautifully. This menu is elegant, a bit exotic, healthy, and surprisingly simple to put together.
Earlier that same week, I'd seen beautiful persimmons in my local HEB market. McAllen, Texas (with its sub-tropical climate) has an amazing variety of fresh produce year 'round. The strawberries were gorgeous. I opted to use feta in place of the ricotta, and pistachios in place of the pecans or walnuts.
I typically approach salad-making in this fashion. Looking at the overall composition of the menu, and the other ingredients, I then customize my salad to complement the main dish and other side dishes.
Feta and pistachios just "fit" with the other flavors in this menu. The optional pomegranate arils are a perfect addition, and provide an additional pop of color that is so appealing. 🙂
🍅 What are Persimmons?
Originating in China, Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons are the most widely available persimmons in North America... and that's where I live. LOL. Both varieties are available in the fall and into early winter, making them a perfect choice for your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu!
When shopping for persimmons, look for fruit that are bright in color, plump, and heavy for their size. Store almost-ripe and just-ripe persimmons on the counter at room temperature. Once ripened, the fruit won't last long, but you can keep them in the refrigerator for a day or two.
My spinach salad specifies fuyu persimmons as they're typically eaten raw (as in this salad). The color of your fruit should be more orange than yellow, and the skin should not be cracked or broken.
Hachiya persimmons are very tart and the interior is pulpy. They're more of a baking persimmon - puréed before adding to baked goods. You do not want to use them in this salad.
Health Benefits of Persimmons
- loaded with nutrients - especially vitamins A and C
- low in calories
- high in fiber
- high in antioxidants - especially flavonoids and beta-carotene
For more information see Top 7 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Persimmons.
🥗 About Pomegranate Arils
I have occasionally seen pomegranate arils in vacuum sealed bags in supermarkets. They are something of a key ingredient in Persian cuisine, and if you've not tried them, you ought to. Obviously, this is a huge time saver!
The remaining ingredients don't need much explanation, do they? They're all fresh, healthy, whole food ingredients, and the end result is full of vibrant color, texture, and delicious flavor!
📋 Spinach and Persimmon Salad Ingredients
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- olive oil
- vinegar - I like white vermouth vinegar for this citrus vinaigrette, but champagne, white wine, and sherry vinegar are also good options.
- orange marmalade - When I can find bitter orange marmalade, I really like it in this salad dressing!
- dijon mustard
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- greens - We keep baby spinach in our refrigerator almost all the time, and it is my chosen green for this salad.
- fuyu persimmons - Fuyu persimmons are still firm when ripe, and the appropriate variety for eating fresh. Hachiya persimmons are ripe when very soft, and are used in baking.
- strawberries - Raspberries are another nice option.
- pistachios - While I love pistachios in this spinach salad recipe, I often substitute slivered almonds.
- feta cheese - I love the salty tang of feta in this salad, but have occasionally used goat cheese as well.
- pomegranate arils - Pomegranate arils are optional, but their taste, texture, and color make an awesome contribution to this salad!
- Make the vinaigrette - Combine salad dressing ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth and emulsified.
- Assemble the salad - In a salad bowl, combine spinach, strawberries, and persimmon slices. Sprinkle with pistachios, feta, and pomegranate arils (if using).
- Serve - Drizzle with salad dressing and toss just before serving.
Toasted hazelnuts and pecans would be a great substitute for the pistachios. Make it your own!
Chêvre is an excellent substitution for the feta.
Make the citrus vinaigrette in advance. That always helps with reduce last-minute stress! It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
Any fresh, tender greens will work well in this salad.
A great time-saver if you wish to have pomegranate arils, but hate breaking them down, is to find them vacuum packed in the produce department of your market!
This blood orange vinaigrette is another homemade salad dressing that pairs really well with this salad, and doesn't require marmalade!
🍷 Pairing Suggestions
With these 3 posts, I've sought to convey my approach to planning a holiday menu: Za'atar and Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Duck, Zereshk and Pistachio Pilaf, and Spinach and Persimmon Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette.
This year, I knew I wanted to do roasted duck - due to the intimate (ie. small) nature of our gathering. Duck and fruit are a perfect pairing, and fruit is key in Persian cooking. That was my jumping off point. I have to say planning and cooking Christmas dinner is probably my favorite part of Christmas.
Bringing loved ones together around the table feeds my soul as well as my physical body. I would love to hear what you have planned for those special holiday meals this year! I would also enjoy knowing what experience you've had with Persian food and ingredients, and whether or not you would try these dishes... You'll find my comment box at the bottom of the page!
Spinach and Persimmon Salad with Citrus Dressing
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white vermouth vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon bitter orange marmalade*
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- sea salt/fresh ground pepper
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup strawberries - stems removed and quartered
- 2 fuyu persimmons - stem removed, sliced in half top to bottom, thin sliced
- ¼ cup pistachios - coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces feta or goat cheese - crumbled
- 1.4 cup pomegranate arils
- Combine salad dressing ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth and emulsified.
- In a salad bowl, combine spinach, strawberries, and persimmon slices. Sprinkle with pistachios, feta, and pomegranate arils (if using).
- Drizzle with salad dressing and toss just before serving.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.