Gorgeous Persimmon Fall Salads
We’re loving the snappy color and mellow sweetness of this seasonal fruit in salads from brunch to dessert.
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. Persimmons hang from garden trees each autumn like jewels. In the kitchen, though, 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 salads 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).
Tips to get you started
While tossing together these persimmon recipes takes very little effort, a few tips 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 salads, prep is pretty basic. 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.
Fall Fruit Salad with Cinnamon Maple 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.
Healthy Winter Fruit Salad
For those everyone's-invited gatherings, here's a colorful mixed fruit salad that serves a crowd. To make it, combine eight different fruits, including bright orange persimmons, with a honey poppy seed dressing.
Farro Salad with Cranberries & Persimmons
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 or something else if you prefer.
Herbed Kale Salad with Persimmon, Pomegranate and Maple-Cumin Dressing
In fall I love a good kale salad, and this one 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.
Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
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 enough for company.
Persimmon, Pear and Pomegranate Salad
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.
Harvest Cranberry, Persimmon and Burrata Salad
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 even 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.
Persimmon and Avocado Salad
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 combo: buttery avocado, tender and sweet persimmon, and sprightly pomegranate seeds. A simple Dijon mustard vinaigrette pulls the flavors together.
Asian Pear, Persimmon, and Almond Salad
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 wakens up the fruits’ delicate flavors.
Green Salad with Pomegranate and Persimmon
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.
Candied Pecan Persimmon Gorgonzola Salad
Will you be rewarded by taking five minutes to 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.
Fall Greens Persimmon Salad
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.
Persimmon Salad with Dates, Cashews, and Honey
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 family and friends talking. Side salad or dessert? You decide.
Holiday Fruit Salad with Spiced Vanilla Bean Syrup
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.