Warm roasted fig and rocket salad

Figs are a fruit I used to despise! But I vividly remember the day I changed my mind. We were on a family holiday in the Algarve and the owner of the villa brought us a plate of freshly picked figs from their tree. I wouldn’t try them. But after the others exclaimed how delicious they were I couldn’t resist just a little try. Which turned into enjoying a feast of figs – they were truly amazing!

So what was the difference between what I thought figs tasted like before and these gorgeous orbs of tastiness that were in my hand that day? Firstly, the most commonly available figs in Northern Europe are dried. Dark, gritty and pretty hard work on the jaw, the texture put me off big time! Figs are delicate fruits and don’t travel or keep well, which is why many are dried. But fresh ones that appear in the supermarket tend to be lacking in flavour as they don’t like to be chilled either. Fussy things really!

So why am I posting a fig recipe now? Well, firstly, some people in Northern Europe do have success with fig trees, and now is the time the precious crop is ready (although 2021 weather might make them rather scarce!). If you’re on holiday in southern Europe then fill your boots with them now! But if you see figs imported in the supermarket, then they might still be good so it’s worth a try.

One way to intensify or bring out their sweetness is to gently roast them. Pair them with a little fresh thyme, and the flavour is awesome, especially topped with a sharp vinegar dressing.

Figs do have a reputation for being high in sugar. And they are if you eat dried figs as the sugar is concentrated and you tend to eat more than you would when fresh. They are a great source of fibre, so not too many if you’re not used to them or you might be paying more trips to the loo later! Figs are also a great source of potassium, in both dried and fresh versions, as well as magnesium and iron.

Not only that but figs are a good source of vitamin C and contain beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, along with a range of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like lutein (great for eye health). Figs also contain higher levels of oxalate acid though, so if you have a tendency towards kidney stones, just eat a few at a time rather than the whole plate (which goes for all of us really!).

If figs are just not available or for you, then prepare some gorgeous sun-ripened tomatoes in the same way and create a roasted tomato and rocket salad instead. It’s still super gorgeous.

I hope you enjoy this simple salad recipe. Do let me know how you get on if you make it.

Warm roasted fig and rocket salad

A gorgeously flavoursome salad packed with seasonal nutrients and flavours. Recipe covers 2 people as a lunch time salad or 4 as a starter.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Salad


  • 6-8 medium fresh figs
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes on the vine or sun-dried tomatoes optional
  • 1/4 medium red onion optional
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts chopped
  • 4 handfuls rocket leaves washed and dried
  • extra thyme to serve optional


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC
  • Wash the figs. Slice off the bottom so the figs can stand upright and trim the tops. Carefully cut a cross downwards from the top into to the figs without cutting all the way through the base. Squeeze so they open up slightly.
  • Place upright in a oven-proof dish or baking tray. Spray a couple of squirts of olive oil over the figs (optional) and scatter with the fresh thyme.
  • Place in the oven a bake for 10-15 minutes until the figs are soft and the juices run out. Remove from the oven and cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Whilst the figs are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Scatter the rocket leaves over the bottom of your serving bowls or plates. Chop the cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes and slice the red onion thinly (if using). Place them over the leaves.
  • Roughly chop the walnuts and put to one side.
  • Make the dressing by whisking the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, water, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
  • Once the figs are ready, carefully place then onto of the salad and drizzle the dressing over the top. Finish with some extra thyme leaves if you wish and serve immediately whilst the figs are still warm.
Keyword anti-inflammatory diet, figs, healthy salad, OMS friendly, plant-based diet

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