Fig + Pear Salad with Cherry Balsamic Dressing

Oh my salad greens goodness! Each time I see this picture, I get hungry all over again.

Normally, I rotate between 3-4 salad recipes each month…ones with ingredients that are easier on the budget than pistachios and cherries. However, there are times and occasions where something special is called for…like Mother’s Day perhaps? Or maybe a lunch with a friend who is like a mother or a sister to you.

Perhaps it’s the pistachios that made me think of Mother’s Day. Because unless you buy shelled pistachios, you know it’s a labor of love to crack open enough for a meal. And word of advice? If you have lots of little (or big) hands around the house that would love to eat pistachios like candy, you might want to hide your shelled stash until the salad is ready to serve. Just sayin’. From experience.

Reducing the balsamic vinegar is key to making this salad without adding sugar. I love how it pairs with the buttery pistachios, sweet figs and lightly sweetened pears. The mix of greens is up to you, but I advise staying away from watercress. Unless you love watercress, of course. I thought I might after reading Trumpet of the Swan back in grade school. But after trying it, I’ve decided it’s not a good idea to make food choices based on the preferences of fictional swans.

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Leng’s salad (vegan, gluten-free, peanut free option)


As promised, here’s the post I promised which features one of my favorite sauces that pairs well with many dishes. Although the National Day of Peanut Butter may have passed, peanut butter lovers know that any day is a good day to enjoy this nutty legume. (For those with allergies and non-peanut butter lovers, you can sub in almond butter).

I call this recipe Leng’s Salad in honor of a woman our family got to know a couple of years ago. She and her family were refugees we had the privilege mentoring for a short time. While they’ve since moved away, every time I make this salad, I think of how much they enjoyed it at our home. Given that they’re Asian and this is an Asian inspired recipe, I wasn’t sure if it would fly or flop. But it was a hit. 🙂


As with most salads, this is a mix-and-match, add-what-you-like-best free for all. When I want a super quick version, I’m even content with two of these ingredients – usually kale and cabbage. This usually is a crowd pleaser (unless you have a picky crowd or your “crowd” includes humans under the age of “skeptical about most vegetables), so be brave and try it out at your next potluck.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Leng’s Salad recipe

Leng’s Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes



    For the Salad

    • kale, destemmed, roughly chopped
    • red or green cabbage, roughly sliced or shredded
    • carrots,peeled into strips or shredded*
    • green onions, finely sliced
    • sunflower seeds

    Additional mix-in/combination options:

    • cauliflower, roughly chopped
    • sweet potato fries, diced*
    • rutabaga, diced
    • raw brussel sprouts, finely sliced or shredded
    • brown rice pasta*
    • red pepper, finely sliced

    621 Thai Dressing (makes 5-6 servings)

    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
    • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
    • 6 tablespoon coconut aminos
    • 5-8 tablespoon almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
    • 6 tablespoons peanut or almond butter


    For the Salad

    Chop all ingredients into bite-sized pieces. If using cabbage, slice thinly. Mix well.

    For the Dressing

    Add all ingredients to a jar and stir or shake until thoroughly mixed. Add more almond milk if needed or for desired consistency.

    Recipe Notes

    I didn’t list quantities with the salad ingredients because salads are so flexible. Just adjust your portions as needed. Generally, one full handful of combined ingredients = 1 side salad portion and two-three handfuls work for a main course salad portion.

    *Omit these options and sub in almond butter in the dressing for the strict portion of the candida diet and/or for a paleo-friendly salad

    I opted to create this dressing recipe using garlic and ginger powered because it’s quick and easy. Most days I would not have the patience to mince the garlic or ginger for the dressing. I recommend using organic powdered ginger or a brand that does not add sulfur.

    You might want to start with adding 5 T of your non-dairy milk to start and then add more until you get the desired pouring consistency. This dressing will thicken as it sits, so you may need to add a little more milk the next day. I’m not sure how another type of non-dairy milk will affect the taste or consistency.

    When I sub in almond butter, I usually use roasted almond butter, either chunky or smooth. Raw almond butter would work too, but it might affect the taste/consistency.

    The dressing keeps well for several days in the fridge. I often will make up a jar and then pour it over my salads all week.

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    BLT salad with garlic herb dressing (vegan, soy free)

    BLT saladOne of the things I’ve most appreciated with eating a well-balanced plant-based diet is the need for creativity and resourcefulness.  Adding rich flavors to vegetables without the use of meat or cheese is challenging, but there is deep satisfaction when I hit upon something that works.

    Take this BLT salad for instance.

    Until Angela had shared a recipe for coconut bacon in a pre-order recipe pack for her cookbook* I thought my bacon-eating days were over. Well, except for those occasional times when my husband makes it and I  have a bite or two.  Yes, I chegan.

    coconut bacon

    But back to the salad…

    With coconut bacon on the scene suddenly recipes featuring its salty, smokey deliciousness were possible. You can also see where I featured it here and here.

    So I turned one of my all time favorite sandwiches into a salad.

    blt salad labelledAdmittedly, the is no “L” in this salad at all…I replaced it with a “K” instead. “K” as in kale for it’s meaty structure and iron-packed punch. A rich garlic herb dressing takes the place of mayo. I also toss in cucumber, raw pumpkin seeds and a non-traditional ingredient, either raisins or apple-juice sweetened cranberries, for a delightful sweetness and chewiness.

    But enough of talking it up, let’s just get to the recipe – I’ve included the one for coconut bacon separately since, really, it is its own thing…

    (Oh, and I’m curious fellow plant-eating lovers, do you occasionally nibble from the animal kingdom? If so, for what foods?)

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the BLT salad recipe
    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the coconut bacon recipe

     BLT salad with garlic herb dressing (vegan, soy free)

    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

    Serves: 4 people


      for the salad

      • Organic kale, finely chopped
      • Organic cherry tomatoes, halved
      • Cucumber, sliced
      • Raw pumpkin seeds
      • Raisins
      • Coconut bacon (recipe separate)
      • Garlic herb dressing
      • Optional toppings:
      • Dried cranberries

      for the garlic herb dressing

      • ¼ c. lemon juice
      • ¼ c. tahini
      • ¼ c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
      • 1 garlic clove
      • ¼ c. fresh parsley
      • ½ tsp. dried dill
      • ¼ tsp. salt
      • dashes freshly ground pepper


      1. Make coconut bacon and cool.*
      2. Combine all salad ingredients, except for the dressing.
      3. In a small food processor or a blender, combine salad dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.
      4. Spoon over individual salad servings.
      5. Store remaining dressing in refrigerator.

      recipe notes

      • *See this recipe @ for the coconut bacon recipe
      • Organic kale and tomatoes are best to avoid high pesticide concentrations.
      • Approximately one hand full of chopped kale equals one salad serving.
      • I recommend trying apple juice sweetened cranberries. Natural food stores may carry them or you can find them online.
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       *I am an Amazon associate. If you purchase the cookbook through this link, it will provide a small credit to my account.

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      oh-lay early spring salad

      2009-01-08 14.07.00It’s funny how much we talk about the weather, at least around these parts. Perhaps it’s because we’re all in it together, this waiting for spring to be spring.

      I check weather updates repeatedly as if somehow my multiple visits per day to our local weather station’s website will translate to warmer temperatures in the forecast. Even now my fingers are itching to check it once again. The calendar says it’s spring, but the temperatures seem reluctant to leave winter behind. I need to remind myself as I remind my children that it is the Lord who controls the weather and, thankfully, He is not bound by a calendar.

      spring inside
      lavender for our door :: wheatgrass courtesy of my youngest who bought it for my oldest :: a nod to another favorite past time

      At least I can bring spring inside our home and to our table. For our home, I’m switching out winter photographs, prints and decorations. (And if you’re looking for spring printables, here are a few free ones I found around the web: (Hello Spring by On Sutton Place; Hello Spring by Sandy Toes and Popsicles; Bicycles by Oh So Lovely blog)

      And for our table, I looking to grace it with recipes that incorporate springtime vegetables and my favorite minneola oranges which are only available for a short time in the stores where we live .

      early spring saladSo I was excited a few weeks back to have this recipe arrive in my inbox from Minimalist Baker.  I tried it out, but didn’t like the combination of the beans and quinoa with the lettuce, though I might have liked it better with kale (it’s a texture thing). So I made a few modifications to come up with the Oh-lay! Early Spring Salad featuring a pumpkin seed parmesan.

      CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Oh-lay Early Spring Salad recipe

      oh-lay early spring salad

      Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

      Cook Time: 1-2 minutes

      Serves: 4 people


        For the Salad

        • Spring greens mix
        • Asparagus, roughly chopped
        • ½ – 1 cup minced cilantro
        • Oranges, diced
        • Avocado, diced
        • Pumpkin seed parmesan
        • Optional toppings:
        • Cucumber, diced
        • Roasted red pepper, sliced (organic is best)
        • Corn (organic is best)
        • Plantain chips, crumbled

        For the Pumpkin Seed Parmesan

        • ½ c. pumpkin seeds, raw or toasted
        • 3 tsp. nutritional yeast
        • 1 ½ tsp. olive oil
        • 1/8 tsp. salt
        • ¼ tsp. (heaping) cumin

        For the Orange-Lime Dressing

        • ¼ c. lime juice
        • 1 T orange juice concentrate + 1 T water
        • 3 T olive or avocado oil
        • ½ scoop 100% pure stevia
        • ½ tsp. cumin
        • ¼ tsp. chili powder
        • 1/8 tsp. salt
        • Dash pepper
        • 1 T cilantro, minced


        1. If toasting pumpkin seeds, place in a pot over high heat and toast until you hear the seeds begin to “pop”, about 1-2 minutes.

        2. Combine all pumpkin seed parmesan ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until roughly crumbled.

        3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well until emulsified.

        4. Prepare all salad ingredients, combine with dressing and parmesan and serve.

        Recipe Notes

        Use about one large handful of salad greens per person.

        If serving to a crowd, combine the greens, asparagus and cilantro in a large salad bowl, but serve the remaining toppings and dressing on the side for guests to add as desired. That way if you have leftovers, the greens will remain fresh.

        Pumpkin seed parmesan will keep for at least one week if refrigerated in a jar.

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