5 Ingredients for You to Dig into California Fig Recipes

At this time of year, our orchards are abuzz with activity because fresh figs are coming into season. If you’ve never had a fresh fig that’s sun-warmed right off the branch, you’re missing out! But, we don’t mean to tease because when you taste one of our dried California figs, you’re getting all the sun-drenched flavor in figs that dry on the branch and later make it into your home. You could always eat the figs as is—they make a great snack and they make a healthy dessert too, but why stop there? At Valley Fig Growers, we love figs and they’re part of our everyday. Heck, we even dream about them and if you love figs, you can relate. So, we take great pride in bringing you fig recipes to inspire your next meal with Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs. It doesn’t take much for figs to be the star in any dish, but we wanted to highlight some co-starring ingredients that naturally pair well with figs.

California Fig & Feta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is one of our favorite fig recipes.

Cheese

Blue cheese might be kind of funky on its own, but crumble it or slice it to serve with sweet, dark Mission figs and your mind will be blown. We love them as toppings on a Mediterranean pizza or probably the simplest way to bring these two together is in a blue cheese salad. In addition to blue cheese, we love the saltiness of feta and California figs together, especially in a salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette. Still, on the salad front, the tangy quality of baked goat cheese topping salad is well suited to the sweetness of figs.

Chopped Salad with Figs Bacon and Smoked Turkey is one of our favorite fig recipes for a main dish salad. The bacon and California dried figs make this salad extra special.

Salty Meats

If you believe bacon makes everything better, then you’ll love this chopped salad with chunks of dried California figs and crisp bacon bits or one of our favorite appetizers that is also easy to make, bacon-wrapped figs with a maple snakebite glaze. Thin sheets of prosciutto and figs are one of the most common pairings in Italy and beyond. We like crisping prosciutto to serve with fig spread on crostini or to serve as a light summer dish tossed with orzo, gorgonzola and figs.

Rice and Pasta Pilaf with Figs and Walnuts is one of our favorite side dish fig recipes with walnuts.

Nuts

Toasting nuts amplifies their flavor and adds a satisfying crunch to fig recipes. We’re partial to walnuts and like them tossed with figs in this pasta pilaf but you could also make a festive fig walnut tart for any celebration. Almonds also are a welcome addition whether folded into muffins studded with figs or a cauliflower with curry side dish. We also like macadamia nuts and figs in banana bread and pistachios with California figs on crostini.

Slow cooked whole carrots are one of our favorite side dish fig recipes to serve during the autumn.

Olives

Whether you opt for Kalamata olives, black, or green, you can find olives in fig recipes with a Mediterranean flair. You’ll like blitzing together an olive spread with figs and black olives for an easy appetizer or condiment on a sandwich. Make an easy side dish of whole carrots and top with a green olive fig relish for a different spin on eating your veggies. When it gets chilly outside, make a big pot of Mediterranean beef stew with figs, red wine, and olives for the ultimate comfort food.

Wheat Berry Salad is one of our favorite fig recipes to take to picnics.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are not just a great way to add a bit more fiber and nutrients into your diet, but also add a lot of texture and flavor. We love them in California fig recipes like this wheat berry salad or in a barley bow tie dish with figs, scented with lemon and thyme. The most popular of whole grains might possibly be steel-cut oats and they really shine when topped with honeyed figs.

What ingredient do you think is a natural with figs?

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Chicken Biryani Rice with Figs and Nuts

This chicken biryani rice is an aromatic, spice-filled, one pot rice and meat dish with a healthy-ish spin. It is light on the rice and heavy on the spices, nuts and California Figs! Pair it with a raita or salad and enjoy it with family and friends on those special occasions.

When I make biryani, I like to decrease the amount of rice used – sometimes, I even use quinoa instead. I also increase the amount of chicken and veggies. And, in this recipe, I also added in a hefty dose of pecans and plump and juicy California Figs!

Chicken biryani rice is our kind of comfort food especially with plump mission figs.

5 from 1 vote
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Chicken Biryani Rice with Figs and Nuts

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 580 kcal

Ingredients

Spiced Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Biryani Rice

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups salted chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid or Blue RIbbon Orchard Choice California Figs
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • Parsley, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add oil to a pan over medium heat and sauté the onion for 5 minutes.

  2. Then add in the chicken and sauté till chicken is lightly browned on one side. Flip chicken pieces over, add garlic and ginger and cook another 2 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, in another pan, over low heat, roast the coriander and cumin for about a couple of minutes stirring frequently as you don’t want the spices to burn. They will change color and become a tad bit darker during the roasting process. Set aside.

  4. To the chicken, add the rice, the roasted coriander and cumin, chili powder (if using), turmeric, cloves, cardamom, and chicken broth and stir. Cover and let cook about 15 minutes.

  5. Uncover and add in the carrots, frozen peas, California Figs and pecans (no need to mix at this point) and let cook about another 5-7 minutes, or till rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.

  6. Using a fork, fluff and mix the veggies, nuts and California Figs with the lower layers of spiced rice and chicken.

  7. Sprinkle some parsley, season with salt and pepper (if needed) and enjoy with a cold salad or raita.

Recipe and photo by Shashi Charles

Grilled Cabbage Wedge Salad & Fig Dressing

The wedge salad reinvented. During the summer, we can’t get enough salads, and we have a hunch you’ll love this cabbage wedge salad recipe. Pull out the grill and skip the iceberg. With some heat and char from the grill, this cabbage wedge salad is one you will crave. Whisk together a California Dried Fig and herb dressing to pour over each grilled cabbage wedge and you’re almost there. All you need is a sprinkle of bacon and crumbled blue cheese to complete this grilled wedge salad. While you’re grilling the cabbage, make sure to keep an eye on the wedges—the times listed below are estimates as grills vary in heat intensity. You’ll want to serve this salad with steak knives to slice the leaves off the cabbage core. Instead of golden or white balsamic vinegar, feel free to use white wine or rice wine vinegar—just make sure to add a teaspoon or two of sugar. If you don’t have or care for blue cheese, go ahead and swap it out with feta or gorgonzola.

As an alternative tossed salad option, cool the grilled cabbage wedges, just cut the leaves from the core, which you will discard, and then thinly slice it. Then toss the cabbage with a couple cups of your favorite spring salad mix, some sliced radishes, the bacon, and blue cheese in the fig dressing before serving.

Grilled Cabbage Wedge Salad

Grilled Cabbage Wedge Salad & Fig Dressing

Switch up your salad routine with our grilled cabbage wedge salad. Sprinkled with bacon, blue cheese and sweet figs, this cabbage wedge recipe will be a hit.

Calories 360 kcal

Ingredients

California Fig-Herb Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives or green onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh thyme, oregano, or combination
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Grilled Cabbage and Toppings

  • 1 head green or savoy cabbage, about 2 pounds of 7-inch diameter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon (about 4 slices)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Instructions

  1. For dressing, whisk together vinegar, water, salt and pepper to dissolve salt. Stir in Figs, chives, and thyme. Stir in olive oil. Set aside for 1 hour while preparing other ingredients.

  2. Prepare a grill for medium heat.

  3. Remove and discard tough outer leaves from cabbage. Cut cabbage in half. Cut each half into 3 to 4 wedges (each about 2 ¾-inches thick), leaving the core attached to the leaves to hold each wedge together. Brush wedges on cut sides lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt.

  4. Place wedges cut sides down, on grill over medium, direct heat. Cover grill and cook for 4 to 7 minutes or until edges are lightly charred and cabbage begins to soften. With grilling tongs or spatula, turn wedges over. Recover grill and cook for another 3 to 7 minutes, until edges char slightly and cabbage is crisp-tender.

  5. Place cooked wedges on serving plates or a platter. Remove Figs with slotted spoon and scatter around cabbage wedges. Drizzle dressing on the grilled cabbage wedge salad and sprinkle with bacon and blue cheese.

Recipe and photo by Lorelle del Matto

Chocolate S’mores with Figs

Summer’s official treat is the s’more and chocolate s’mores will be your new favorite grilled dessert. What is it about two graham crackers sandwiching a slightly charred, soft marshmallow and square of melty chocolate that makes most of us swoon? We always want some more of chocolate smores! Whether eating outdoors on balmy summer nights or camping in the woods, there’s a reason s’mores are a classic summer dessert. You could buy your marshmallows and grahams, but we have a hunch once you try chocolate s’mores with hints of orange and sweet mission dried figs, you’ll be hooked! Think of them as s’mores for adults. You’ll find recipes for the graham crackers and the marshmallows below, but feel free to simplify by using store-bought. If you prefer dark chocolate or can’t find orange-flavored chocolate, use what you like. We’ve included instructions for making the chocolate s’mores under the broiler or if you’re in the woods, over a campfire.

Chocolate S'mores with mission dried figs and orange-scented dark chocolate are the classic dessert elevated.

Chocolate S'mores with Figs

Chocolate smores from scratch: homemade chocolate grahams and honey marshmallows sandwich sweet mission dried figs for craveable chocolate s'mores.

Course Dessert
Servings 16 open-faced or 32 sandwiches
Calories 470 kcal

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cinnamon Graham Crackers

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar (about 4.5 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup graham or whole wheat flour (3.75 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (1.5 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses (1.5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons water or brewed coffee, cold (1 ounce)
  • Sanding sugar for sprinkling

For the Honey Vanilla Marshmallows

  • Cornstarch, for dusting
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored granulated gelatin
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (14 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup honey (orange blossom preferred)
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

For the Figs

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 7 ounce) package Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs, whole

To Assemble the S'mores

  • 12 squares orange flavored dark chocolate

Instructions

To Make the Graham Crackers

  1. Heat oven to 325F.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, two flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

  3. Add the softened butter and mix with clean hands or a wooden spoon until the butter is completely worked into the flour.

  4. Stir the molasses and water together very well and pour into the flour mixture.

  5. Mix with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky, soft dough.

  6. Liberally flour a work surface with all purpose flour, place the dough on the floured surface, and sprinkle a generous amount of flour on top of the dough. Knead a few times with your hands until the dough is relatively smooth. Note: dough will be soft.

  7. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll each half, flouring as necessary, into a rough rectangle approximately 1/8” thick.

  8. Use a pizza cutter to cut an even rectangle about 12” x 9”. Prick each sheet of dough all over with a fork. Evenly sprinkle on some sanding sugar and roll lightly with the rolling pin so it adheres.

  9. You may re-roll the scraps from each rectangle to make a few extra crackers if you like.

  10. Move each rectangle of dough, parchment and all, onto a sheet pan.

  11. Bake one pan at a time for 15-17 minutes until the crackers look dry and are starting to color around the edges.

  12. Remove from the oven and use a pizza cutter to cut each rectangle of dough into 12 crackers (4 by 3).

  13. Allow the crackers to cool on the parchment for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Crackers will crisp as they cool.

  14. Store in a self-sealing bag at room temperature for up to 5 days.

To Make the Marshmallows

  1. Spray a half sheet pan liberally with pan spray. Evenly sift on a thick layer of cornstarch across the bottom and the sides of the pan. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place ½ cup of the cold water and the granulated gelatin.

  3. Stir to combine and set aside.

  4. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the rest of the cold water, the sugar, salt, honey and corn syrup.

  5. Bring to a boil, put the lid on the pan, and allow to boil for a minute. Note: Because of the impurities in the honey, the syrup will expand quite a bit more than you think it will, so use a pan that seems much larger than you think necessary.

  6. Remove the lid and cook the syrup to 240F. Check the temperature by using a clip-on candy thermometer or testing frequently with an instant read thermometer.

  7. Once the syrup reaches 240F, immediately turn the mixer on low speed and pour all the syrup into the bowl, letting it run down the inside of the bowl rather than pouring it onto the whisk.

  8. Slowly turn up the speed to medium and then high speed and whip until the marshmallow has tripled in volume and is very thick and shiny, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue to whip for a minute to incorporate.

  9. Spray a silicone spatula with pan spray and scrape the marshmallow onto the prepared sheet pan. Spray the back of an offset spatula with pan spray and use that to spread the marshmallow evenly in the pan.

  10. Sift a liberal amount of confectioners’ sugar evenly over the marshmallow (enough so you cannot see any shiny marshmallow under the thick coating of sugar.

  11. Let the marshmallow sit out at room temperature, uncovered, for 12 hours.

  12. Cut around the edges of the marshmallow and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Brush off the excess sugar and cornstarch, and put it in a large self-sealing bag.

  13. Use a pizza cutter to slice the finished marshmallow into 1 ½” squares.

  14. Place a few cut marshmallows at a time into the bag and shake to coat the cut sides with the cornstarch/confectioners’ sugar mixture. Store in the bag at room temperature for up to a week.

To Poach the Figs

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except the figs.

  2. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the whole dried figs, bring the mixture back to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and maintain a high simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.

  5. Store the figs in the refrigerator in the poaching syrup for up to two weeks.

To Assemble the S’mores

  1. Slice figs into thin slices. You will want 3-4 slices per s’more.

  2. On a sheet pan, place 12 chocolate graham crackers. Layer on 1 square of chocolate and 1 marshmallow per cracker.

  3. Place under the broiler, about 6” from the coil, and broil until the marshmallows are light golden brown on top, have gotten puffy, and the hard edges have softened as they melt.

  4. Remove from the broiler and place 3-4 slices of poached fig on top of each marshmallow. Top with a second chocolate graham cracker and serve warm.

  5. You can also make the s’mores in the traditional way by toasting the marshmallows on sticks held over a fire, placing the toasted marshmallow on one graham cracker topped with a square of chocolate and then using another graham cracker to sandwich the marshmallow. Pull out the stick and enjoy!

Recipe and photo by Jenni Field