With September blending now into October, a few of my favorite foods are fresh from the harvest.
Butternut & acorn squash, pumpkin (of course), artichokes, pears, beets, and figs, just to name a few. Here's an unusual use for a bounty of figs, using one of my favorite vegetarian salad recipes.
I've always had the opinion that "salad" doesn't only have to refer to "lettuce + toppings + dressing". No, to me, salad is the combination of a variety of vegetables and cold items (and even some warm), tossed together with plenty of complimentary flavors, colors, and textures. It can be made of vegetables, proteins, grains - anything that tastes good and is whipped up without actually cooking.
Some of my very favorite salad recipes don't involve any type of lettuce or greens at all (and this is one of them!) I actually came up with this classic in my college days, when I lived with several vegetarian roommates, and today I thought that these ripe figs would be a perfect addition. It's a hearty, filling white bean salad with floral-y herbs de provence and a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. There's a bite from some fresh onion, and the mellow sweetness of the figs blends in just wonderfully. It would also be fantastic with some feta cheese sprinkled on top (but leave that out if you're opting for the vegan version).