Gorgeous Persimmon Salads for Fall
We’re loving the snappy color and mellow sweetness of this seasonal fruit in persimmon salads for brunch, dinner, and even dessert
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That satiny orange skin. Those ruffled leafy tops. Persimmons have a painterly beauty, as anyone living in the western and southern United states can tell you — including us here at Yummly in Northern California. In gardens each autumn, persimmon trees hang with fruit like orange jewels. In the kitchen, though, our admiration can quickly give way to confusion — as in, what exactly do you do with persimmons?
I’ll tell you: Make salad. Easy and delicious, persimmon salad recipes are my favorite way to add a pop of fall color to the table. Persimmons’ delicately sweet flavor plays equally well in savory green salads (toasted cumin! feta!) and all-fruit salads (think candied ginger, vanilla bean, even star anise).
How to make persimmon salad
While tossing together these persimmon salad recipes takes very little effort, a few tips for working with persimmons will guarantee success.
Know your persimmons. There are two main types on the market, and you want to get this right. The most common, Fuyu persimmons, are shaped like a beefsteak tomato, squat with flat bottoms. They’re good when crunchy or ripened to be a little softer. Hachiya persimmons — acorn-shaped and elongated with a pointy tip — are another matter. They must be eaten as soft as jelly, or they’re wickedly bitter and astringent, so we’re going to skip them here.
How to tell when a Fuyu persimmon is ripe. Set out a bowl of persimmons at room temperature (bonus: instant table centerpiece) and watch these beauties change over a few days to a week. They’ll go from the light orange you usually find at the store (firm, crunchy, and mildly sweet) to a deep, bright orange with a little give when pressed, and a fuller, honeyed flavor. While you can eat them at either stage, in my book it’s totally worth it to plan for a few days of ripening.
How to prepare Fuyu persimmons. For making persimmon salad, the basic persimmon prep is easy. Cut out the leafy calyx (yes, that’s the botanical name for the ruffled top). Peel the persimmons, or don’t; the fruit looks prettier with the skin, but some people don’t like the texture, which is like thick apple skin. Then cut the persimmons into wedges, rounds, or chunks, removing the occasional bean-sized seed you might find. And then add sweeter or more savory salad components.
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Persimmon fruit salads
What goes with persimmon salad? For starters, other fruits! Persimmon pomegranate salad is an especially popular combination, as you’ll see in the following recipes, and you can vary the idea by changing how you cut the persimmons and what additional fruits you add. For the best persimmon fruit salads, balance persimmons’ delicately sweet flavor with more tart fruits such as green apples, kiwi fruit, and tangerine. Good persimmon salad dressings for fruit salads also include a tart component such as citrus juice or yogurt.
If you like to keep your cooking on the healthy side, here’s a great option: a fresh bowl of persimmons, pears, and pomegranates with a topping of spiced and lightly sweetened Greek yogurt. The blogger likes to serve it as an after-school snack as well as dessert, but I'm thinking weekend brunch. Total time, about 10 minutes.
For serving a big table of salad lovers, here's a colorful mixed fruit salad that makes enough for 14 to 16. To make it, combine eight different fruits including bright orange persimmons in a large bowl with a honey poppy seed dressing. Of course you could easily cut back the quantities to serve a smaller number.
This recipe had me with the name, since they’re all ingredients I’m pretty crazy about. Add a little crystallized ginger, a touch of salt, and a generous squeeze of lime, and you’ve got an unusual and delicious combination that will get your diners talking. Side salad or dessert? You decide.
Talk about a stunning salad. I was intrigued when I saw the colors and the composition — the fans of yellow, orange, red, green, and white fruits, accented with the sparkle of fresh pomegranate seeds. But the infused honey syrup to go on top, flavored with star anise, vanilla bean, and cinnamon, has me totally hooked. The recipe calls for ½ pomegranate, which is about ½ cup pomegranate seeds.
Green salads with persimmons
The answer to “what is persimmon salad” changes when you think savory, but the same principles apply as for fruit salads. Start by balancing persimmons’ gentle sweetness with milder mixed greens such as lettuces and spinach to more robust greens such as arugula, watercress, and kale. Add salty cheese if you like, and maybe some earthy spices and tart citrus, sherry vinegar, or apple cider vinegar in your persimmon salad dressing. Finally, feel free to contrast persimmons’ satiny texture with salad ingredients like crispy toasted pecans or other nuts, seeds, and radishes.
Vivid green watercress and butter lettuce meet deep orange persimmons for a brilliant colorful bowl in this 30-minute dinner salad. Thinly sliced radishes and a quick lemony vinaigrette (extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sea salt or kosher salt, and black pepper) keep the flavors exciting.
If you’re wanting a more substantial recipe that can double as lunch, consider this grain salad. Pearled farro has a wonderful chewiness and cooks in only 20-25 minutes. While that’s going, you can lightly pickle red onion in lime juice and sherry vinegar, and then add olive oil, dried cranberries, and chopped persimmons. As for the greens, you could switch out the arugula for baby spinach if you’re in the mood for a spinach persimmon salad.
In fall I love a good kale salad, and this kale persimmon salad really delivers on the “green” flavor I’m craving, with Lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale plus parsley and mint. Toasted cumin and lemon in the dressing play up persimmons’ ability to go savory, while maple syrup highlights its fruitiness. Add a salty component if you like, with goat cheese, feta, or ricotta salata.
The name promises winter, but luckily, the tangerines and oranges in this recipe are available in autumn along with the persimmons. Pecans and pomegranate seeds give a nice crunch, while an easy homemade dressing makes the salad special-occasion worthy. To create the dressing, whisk together vinegar, orange juice and zest, honey, and mustard in a small bowl; whisk in olive oil; and season to taste with salt and pepper.
You’ve probably heard the health advice to “eat the rainbow.” This blogger takes that to heart and tops leafy greens with three colors of fruit, avocado, and a big handful of feta cheese. She shakes up a white balsamic-tangerine-olive oil dressing to drizzle over everything.
If you can’t decide which is prettier, persimmon slices or wedges, go for both in your salad. Then add double crunch with caramelized pepitas and walnuts. Have you tried burrata, fresh mozzarella's creamier cousin? It’s a luxurious final touch that puts this salad over the top, and an idea you may want to keep in mind for other salads, too.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for easy ways to dress up the familiar box of baby arugula. Enter this arugula persimmon salad made with buttery avocado, tender and sweet persimmon, and sprightly pomegranate seeds. A simple Dijon mustard vinaigrette pulls the flavors together.
This one’s a favorite of mine, with two crunchy and somewhat unusual fruits, Asian pear and persimmon, that both appear in markets in the fall. A fresh lime-honey dressing with just a touch of cayenne wakes up the fruits’ delicate flavors.
Simple is a fine thing in a weeknight salad, but it doesn’t have to mean dull. A good salad is all about the ingredients, and freshly ground pepper, Champagne vinaigrette, and a little Pecorino Romano — the tangy, salty grating cheese made from sheep’s milk — add plenty of complexity to the mild-mannered persimmon and friends.
Is it worth your time to take five minutes and candy your own pecans with a bit of sugar and spice? Absolutely. Along with salty Gorgonzola, nuts are two of persimmon’s best partners, and key to the savory-sweet flavor profile in this crowd-pleaser.
Here’s another personal favorite salad, an elegant combination of gently sweet persimmons with nutty Stilton cheese, fragrant Meyer lemon-honey dressing, and slightly bitter radicchio and arugula.
Instead of the usual tomatoes you’d get in a Caprese, this blogger cleverly subs in slices of persimmons to go with the mozzarella and basil. She drizzles them with a tangy sweet balsamic reduction (just balsamic vinegar cooked down for 15 minutes or so) and adds pistachios for crunch.
Keep exploring salads
There are so many ways to enjoy salad, from classic spinach salad with blue cheese and bacon, to white bean and grain salads, and big taco salads you can make a meal out of.