Meal Prep Ideas for Real Life

When January rolls around, we all like the clean start of trying again and one thing that can make healthy eating accessible is to plan ahead.

Start Here: Recipes & Meal Prep Ideas

We partnered with our friends at Bob’s Red Mill and savvy food bloggers to talk about setting SMART goals and thinking through meal prep ideas for real life. Find the food blogger meal preparation ideas and recipes featuring our California Mission Dried Figs and their organic farro or organic whole wheat flour by clicking on the recipe name below the photos.

And, then, we opened up the question over on Instagram and found a vibrant assortment of meal prep ideas that we can’t wait to share with you! Each idea is tagged with the person who shared it. So, head down past the recipes to dig into those crowd-sourced 46 meal preparation ideas (and share your own in the comments!

Whole wheat sheet pan pancakes with California Fig Swirl are one of our top meal prep ideas for easy breakfasts all week.

California Fig Swirled Whole Wheat Sheet Pan Pancakes

Whole wheat muffins with dried figs will be the healthy on-the-go breakfast you'll prep on Sunday for a successful week ahead and one of our favorite meal prep ideas. Share your meal preparation ideas with us in the comments!

Whole Wheat Muffins with Figs

Le Petit Eats Farro Salad with Figs and Maple Tahini Dressing is one of our favorite meal prep ideas for easy lunches all week.

Farro & Fig Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

Whole wheat chocolate chunk with figs is a go-to breakfast and one of our favorite meal prep ideas for snacktime too.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Fig Bread

Turn to one of our trusty meal prep ideas to get out of a cooking rut. Getting ready for the week can be easy, as these meal preparation ideas prove.

Seedy Farro Breakfast Bowl with Warmed Figs & Pears

46 Meal Prep Ideas for Real Life

1/ Read your recipe first to ensure you have the proper tools, sufficient time and space, and adequate food to make the meal a success. – @lexiquin

2/ Prep your produce when you get home from grocery to save time later. – @annmuth

3/ Best tip is to prep all food when you get home. If fruits and veggies are ready then you’ll use them. 😋 – @farmgirliee

4/ I like to chop my veggies and fruits so they’re ready to eat! – @bluebecks

5/ Go grocery shopping the day before and have a list when you go shopping. – @yaz_gets_fit

6/ Use frozen veggies when you can. – @anissa_denise823

7/ Cook in large batches and freeze the extra! – @healthy_happy_and_free

8/ Write it down so you know exactly what to eat. @senyorg

9/ My meal prep tip is to start a sourdough starter! Fresh natural yeast, amazing gut bacteria, and a chance to show off baking skills. – @jaredlynne

10/ I organize everything I need in front of me before I begin any recipe, mise en place. – @blamemymigraine

11/ I wash fruits & veggies when I get home from the grocery store to save this step when I’m ready to prepare a meal. – @aleach61

12/ Blanch veggies and cook proteins, then store separately. – @kalynjrichmond

13/ I make sure I cut everything up the day I get it so when it’s time to prep it’s just a matter of cooking. – @eruiz217

14/ On Sundays I make soup for weekday lunches, make muffins for the family to grab quickly on the go and try to make 1-2 dinners for when we need a quick dinner after hockey practice ✅ prep is key! – @briescrafty

15/ Freezing chopped veggies for easy meals when I do not have time to chop. @lesh4537

16/ Buy already chopped veggies at the salad bar if you’re in a hurry. Make double and freeze. Involve your kids in planning and prepping! They’ll be more willing to eat what’s made. Write out a menu. – @tofumom

17/ Use dried/frozen fruits when not in season! Much tastier than trying to just use the fresh! – @thrivesonplants_8

18/ Tip: chop veggies you bought and put into containers. This way for few days it will be easy and quick to prepare your dish. – @vegangfheaven

19/ Cook in large batches and freeze what you don’t need! Keep it simple! Portion out food ahead of time. – @crazyrilee

20/ My tip is to plan the week’s meals and shop according to those meals! – @kjand3babes

21/ Measure and prep all your ingredients before cooking or baking a recipe. – @agewanter

22/ Meal prep for the whole week with simple dishes; my fave is overnight oats! – @thehealthyhipstah

23/ Cook eggs for the week in the air fryer, because they stay fresh in the shell & are ready to eat every morning. – @mwlubber

24/ My meal prep tip is to get the family involved. I give my 6 year old the cook book and ask him to select recipes for the week. Then we shop on Saturday or Sunday. He is excited to to cook dinners with me and I find he eats a wider variety of foods because he’s involved in the preparation. – @juvet

25/ I like to plan for meals with similar ingredients to cut down on the number of items that I need to buy and prep. – @clpatton

26/ Look at what is in the cupboard before meal planning and plan on leftovers. – @ellengarrett

27/ A sharp knife is key to getting veggies done fast. – @hels_bels27

28/ Having an instant pot has really upped my meal prepping! I just made a big batch of homemade apple sauce. 😍 – @aipzebra

29/ Prepping tip…remember the old adage FIFO (first in first out) label with tape and first in and you won’t have wasted prep. – @chefsherrid

30/ My tip would be to buy more fruits/veggies in season and can some for offseason dishes. – @elin_e_roberts

31/ To make a couple of big dishes; a whole chicken, meatloaf, for example, so that you can save money by getting a few meals from it. 💚 – @danaonig

32/ I often pre dice squash and other veggies and freeze for easy dinner prep. I also make fruit and veg purees ahead for healthy baking in a flash! – @joanneabove

33/ Best meal prep tip for me would be to have a check list.. if you don’t start with that you won’t be prepared…. – @lions_den_1

34/ Buy freezer containers. – @saladsandsuch

35/ Roast veggies ahead of time in big batches! – @collegeceliackc @hannah____vera

36/ The best tip I have is when you have plenty of guests coming (holidays, Bday, graduations, etc…), I always write a menu down at least a week in advance, buy my ingredients and meal prep (chopping seasonings, getting my pots, pans& utensils organized, season meats) so everything can go as smooth as possible on the big day. – @redstickrick

37/ I love making extra whole wheat waffles on Sunday for healthier fast breakfasts for the kids. – @mrscole131

38/ Make extra Muffins and freeze em! – @kjoleenkh

39/ I like to make extra pancakes and either refrigerate (or freeze for longer freshness) then just pop in microwave or toaster oven. – @shivamin2000

40/ Set out all the ingredients for a meal ahead of time before starting to cook. – @wizardewu

41/ Sunday is good prep day. Prep all veggies and fruit for a quick and easy week. – @strengthofthevine

42/ Multitasking – bake while cutting up veggies or using the stovetop for other cooking. – @snackinspo

43/ Then look up healthy recipes online for their products to make your meal prep. Also work with a friend or family member to meal prep together that way the cost and labor is shared. 😉😃 – @jolyndoglover

44/ Prep slow cooker ingredients and freeze. – @munozai82

45/ Have a stock of different spices and sauces on hand to flavor meat and veggies for a quick saute. – @hlee99

46/ Enlist family to help. – @margaretsilebi

Share your meal prep ideas with us in the comments below. We are always looking for new meal preparation ideas!

Vegetarian Tagine with Quinoa

During the winter, we turn to comfort food like this vegetarian tagine recipe. You can make this vegetarian tagine all year long, served over quinoa.

This easy, comforting Moroccan vegetarian tagine recipe is perfect as a quick weeknight or weekend lunch or dinner entree. The dish is incredibly versatile and goes great paired with quinoa or couscous and can be topped with a whole range of herbs, seeds, and dried fruits (California Mission Dried Figs are a must in this dish). My personal favorite way to enjoy this vegetarian tagine is with plant-based yogurt pomegranate seeds, parsley, and pumpkin seeds on top. You can easily substitute the sweet potatoes for Russet potatoes for a delicious meal. The dish is best served hot and keeps well for several days in a sealed container.

If the Northern African blend of chiles and spices, harissa, is new for you, it comes often in two forms: powdered and as a paste. You can easily make a paste from the powdered spice by whisking it with a bit of oil and water. The recipe below calls for the powder, available in most grocery stores or at your favorite spice shop online or in town.

During the winter, we turn to comfort food like this vegetarian tagine recipe. You can make this vegetarian tagine all year long, served over quinoa.

Vegetarian Tagine with Quinoa

Course Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan, Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • Dash sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon harissa spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or broth of your choice)
  • 1 1/2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 heaping cup chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission Figs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • Handful fresh parsley leaves

To Serve

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium for 1-2 minutes. Add onions, increase heat to medium, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

  2. Add garlic and the rest of the chopped veggies. Season with salt and spices. Toss to combine. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring regularly.

  3. Add broth, tomatoes, and California Figs and season with a dash of sea salt.

  4. Keep the heat on medium-high and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes or until veggies are tender. Stir in chickpeas and cook another 5 minutes on low heat. Stir in lemon juice and fresh parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or harissa spice blend to your liking.

  5. Transfer to serving bowls with a large scoop of quinoa and top with the suggested items from pumpkin seeds to fresh parsley according to your liking. Get creative and have fun!

Recipes and photos by Carolyn Vinnicombe

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

During the winter, we turn to comfort food like this vegetarian tagine recipe. You can make this vegetarian tagine all year long, served over quinoa.

Fig Chili Made with Leftover Turkey

Figgy chili made with leftover turkey is the kind of thing you'll want to eat with fresh cornbread or tortilla chips crumbled in.

If you enjoyed your Thanksgiving menu there is probably going to be cranberry sauce for several days to come. When it comes to eating up leftovers after Thanksgiving, you could go in for Thanksgiving feast part 2, but we wanted to suggest veering from that course you’ve already traversed and perhaps your tastebuds are ready for a change too, so introducing our chili made with leftover turkey. With Thanksgiving turkey there are a few unknown variables—did you brine your bird? What kinds of seasonings did you use? So, in this recipe, we start with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt when sautéing the onions and carrots. We used around 3 teaspoons total salt, but season to your taste. Also, we add enough chipotle to add complexity to the sauce but if you want it spicier, feel free to add in one more chipotle. This turkey chili walks the line of a thick saucy Texas chili with the California mission figs naturally thickening up the sauce for the best Texas chili recipe with shredded Thanksgiving turkey. The unsweetened chocolate might seem a bit surprising, but it also adds just enough complexity to the sauce. Perhaps you don’t have turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving to use—feel free to brown 2 pounds ground turkey to stir in. Lastly, there’s nothing quite like eating cornbread with chili and this one is no exception.

Figgy Chili made with leftover turkey will warm you up and is the best Texas chili recipe to use after you shred the turkey from Thanksgiving.

Figgy Chili Made with Leftover Turkey

Course Main Course

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 large white onion, diced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and large-diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and diced
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers, rinsed of adobo sauce
  • 1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
  • 1 (28 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large orange or red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 cups shredded turkey (white or dark meat)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Scallions

Instructions

  1. Warm the oil in a stockpot set over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the chili powder and toast for 1 minute. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt, onion and carrots, stirring occasionally until mostly softened, about 9 minutes.  

  2. Meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat 1 cup of the chicken broth in a saucepan set over medium heat until steam rises from the top, about 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over the chocolate and set aside for 2 minutes. Then whisk the chocolate and broth together until combined. Toss in the mission figs.

  3. Spoon the chipotle peppers, tomato puree, figs, and chocolate broth into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. 

  4. Stir in the pinto beans, bell pepper, and turkey into the stockpot to tumble with the chili-coated onion and carrots. Pour in the pureed fig tomato mixture. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth. Season to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and chopped scallions if desired. 

Recipe and photos by Annelies Zijderveld

Continue the Fig Feasting, follow us on Instagram @valleyfig

Blue Cheese & Butternut Squash Fig Galette

If you’ve never made a galette before, this rustic butternut squash fig galette recipe has all the flavors of fall folded inside a flaky butter crust for a meatless dinner. Speaking of the all-butter galette dough, you can make it by hand or in a food processor (directions in parentheses). Roll the fig galette dough between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper to make prep and clean-up easy. To save time, purchase prepared pie crust dough and roll or pat into a 12-inch circle. You can also streamline the squash prep by buying 12 ounces of ready-cut butternut squash and cutting it into ½-inch cubes.

Blue Cheese & Butternut Squash Fig Galette

Course Main Course

Ingredients

Galette Crust

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small bits (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 6 tablespoons ice water (more as needed)

Butternut Squash Fig Galette Filling:

  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) 1/2-inch cubed, peeled butternut or other winter squash
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves (or 4 teaspoons dried)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine, dry sherry, or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled Blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

Instructions

Make Dough:

  1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of food processor). Whisk to blend well. (Cover processor and whirl to blend.) Cut in butter with pastry blender (or pulse in food processor) until butter is the size of peas. Stir in enough water to make a dough that keeps together and feels moist when squeezed with your hand (or add water and pulse in food processor). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper or work surface. Form dough into a ball; flatten to a disk. Wrap airtight and chill. Let soften at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling.

Make Filling:

  1. Stem Figs. Cut each into thin slices, then cut each slice lengthwise in half. Set Figs aside. Swirl olive oil into large nonstick skillet. Place over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and beginning to brown. Stir in squash. Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon salt and black pepper, to taste. Stir in Figs, sage and wine. Cover and steam, adjusting heat as needed, for 12 minutes or until squash is fork-tender. If liquid remains, continue to cook, uncovered, until all liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and cool while rolling dough.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper to a 12-inch circle. Slide bottom parchment sheet with dough onto an un-rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Stir Parmesan and ½ cup blue cheese into Fig mixture. Spread filling on tart dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle remaining blue cheese and green onion on top. Fold up and pleat the border of dough around the filling. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is hot.

  4. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

Recipe and photo by Lorelle del Matto

 

Oven Baked Salmon with Fig Soy Ginger Glaze

You can find many reasons to love this oven baked salmon especially if you’re looking for a weeknight dinner idea. It’s ready in 20 minutes and a mix of Asian ingredients that pair with autumn flavors of sweet potatoes or winter squash as well as a side of rice (or riced cauliflower if you’d prefer). The California Figs are the star on this ginger glazed salmon—both the figs tiled and baked on the salmon and those spooned on top afterwards. They soak up the sauce and add a bit of umami.

Oven Baked Salmon with Fig Soy Glaze

Oven Baked Salmon with Fig Soy Ginger Glaze

Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 330 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Golden Figs, stemmed and sliced width-wise
  • 1 pound salmon filets, cut into 4 slices
  • 3 sprigs chives, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a half baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Heat the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and zest until hot to the touch. Whisk until smooth, stirring in the ginger and figs.

  3. Place the salmon filets on the prepared baking sheet. Spoon half the figs into a small bowl. Tile the remaining figs and pour the sauce onto the filets. Bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with the chives and sesame seeds, spooning the additional figs on or around the salmon once serving.

Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld

 

Chicken, Goat Cheese & Fig Pizza

Goat Cheese Chicken Fig Pizza

This Chicken Goat Chees & Fig Pizza is packed with the perfect combination of sweet + savory ingredients. Goat cheese and melty mozzarella wrap around warm sweet figs and juicy chicken to create a meal or appetizer that is both hearty and delicious! We’re suckers for figs on pizza. This fig pizza recipe is great for serving as a snack with friends, or for a fun date night in. Don’t have balsamic glaze on hand? It’s easy to make at home! *Note: It is best to allow pizza dough to rest at room temperature prior to stretching for best results.

Goat Cheese Chicken Fig Pizza

Chicken, Goat Cheese & Fig Pizza

Course Main Course
Servings 8 large slices
Calories 370 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup onions, sliced
  • 1 pound fresh pizza dough*
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Missions Figs, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup balsamic glaze

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. While oven is coming to temperature, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken into the boiling water. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

  2. While the chicken is cooking, heat a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the onions for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.

  3. While the onions and chicken cook, stretch and roll the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15-inch circle. Once rolled into a circle, place the pizza on a greased pizza pan. Gently roll the edges of the dough in towards the center to form a crust. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on pizza dough, and brush to cover the surface of the pizza.

  4. Remove the onions and cooked chicken from heat. Shred the chicken by pulling apart with two forks. Add the onions, shredded chicken, California Figs and pepper to the top of the pizza. Top with goat cheese and mozzarella.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and cheese has melted.

  6. When the pizza is removed from the oven, top with arugula and balsamic glaze.

Recipe and photos by Elizabeth Falcigno

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

Fig Brown Sugar-Glazed Ham with Carrots

This Fig Brown Sugar Glazed Ham recipe is a ringer for the holidays. It's super easy to make and delicious.

This is the best ham I’ve ever eaten. If you always host during the holidays or this is your first holiday meal to make from scratch, you will love how easy this is to make for this Easter ham recipe is. The fig brown sugar glazed ham leftovers are great in hash for breakfast the morning after. We always make ham sandwiches or ham roll-ups with them and they’re great in my deviled ham spread too.

Fig Brown Sugar Glazed Ham


Course Main Course
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice Mission Figlets or Sun-Maid® California Mission Figs, stemmed (divided)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup grainy mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 pounds bone-in ham
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1/2 cup apple juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

  2. Make the glaze: combine ½ cup California Figs, Dijon, grainy mustard, and honey in a food processor or blender. Process well—the mixture will have some chunks in it. Set aside.

  3. Place the ham into a large baking dish. Add the carrots.

  4. Slather the glaze over the ham. Sprinkle with brown sugar, pressing it into the sides of the ham.

  5. Top the carrots with the remaining California Figs.

  6. Drizzle the juice around the bottom of the pan.

  7. Seal tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour (15 minutes per pound).

  8. Remove the ham and place it in a serving dish. Strain the sauce from the baking dish into a gravy boat to serve alongside. Nestle the carrots and figs drizzled with pan juices along the side of the serving dish.

Recipe and photo by Debra Clark

Preserved Lemon Chicken with Almonds and Figs

Preserved Lemon Chicken with California Figs and Almonds is a perfectly delicious main dish for Passover.

This Sephardic-inspired dish is one of our favorite chicken recipes for Passover Seders. With preserved lemon, a hint of sweetness from California figs, and warm spices of cinnamon and allspice, this dish of chicken with almonds is great the rest of the year too. Serve with quinoa or mashed potatoes to soak up the fragrant sauce.

One of the first fruits to be cultivated by people, figs are as meaningful and symbolic as they are sweet and delicious. Jews consider figs to be particularly holy because they were one of the seven staple foods, known as the Seven Species, eaten by Jews in the land of Israel during Biblical times.

Preserved Lemon Chicken with Almonds & Figs

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole cut-up chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 3 shallots, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon diced preserved lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
  • 5 sprigs thyme plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pat dry the chicken pieces and season well with salt and pepper.

  2. Place the chicken pieces skin-side down in the skillet and cook until the skin is golden brown, about ten minutes. Turn and brown the other side.

  3. Remove chicken to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.

  4. Add the shallots, garlic and preserved lemon to the pan and sauté over medium heat until softened, about five minutes.

  5. Add the cinnamon and allspice and sauté a few additional minutes until fragrant.

  6. Add the chicken broth to the pan and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.

  7. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, arranging them in a single layer. Add the figs and thyme and raise the heat to high.

  8. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the skillet and turn heat down to low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 20 minutes.

  9. While the chicken is cooking, toast the almonds in a dry skillet for a few minutes until golden and fragrant - watch carefully so that they don't burn.

  10. To serve, arrange the chicken and figs on a platter. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with toasted almonds. Garnish with a few additional sprigs of thyme if desired.

Recipe Notes

Note: A staple of Middle Eastern cooking, preserved lemons add a unique pickled tanginess to North African-inspired dishes such as this one. You can find jars of preserved lemons in good grocery stores or Middle Eastern markets or make your own. If you are not able to source preserved lemons, you can substitute cooked fresh lemon. Combine one thinly sliced lemon with a half cup of fresh lemon juice and two teaspoons of kosher salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lemon slices are tender, about ten minutes. Cool and chop.

Recipe and photo by Emily Paster

Spinach, Brie Grilled Cheese with Figs

Get your greens in with this spinach Brie grilled cheese.

Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese? Something about this cheese sandwich makes us want to melt. But, have you ever tried a Brie grilled cheese? This is a delightful way to dress up a familiar sandwich and the addition of spinach is a great way to get your greens in. We have a hunch that one taste of this spinach grilled cheese with Brie and our California Figs will make this a new family favorite.

Spinach, Brie Grilled Cheese with Figs


Course Main Course
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, sliced
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and drained
  • 8 slices sourdough or boule bread
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs, stemmed and thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, melt 1/4 tablespoon butter. Add onions and salt, and cook over low heat for 7-10 minutes. Remove onions and set aside.

  2. In same skillet, melt 1/4 tablespoon butter. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add spinach and stir until wilted.

  3. ONIONS OPTION: You can skip cooking the onions separately. If so, then DICE the onions, and add them to the skillet 2-3 minutes before adding the garlic.

  4. Lay 4 slices of bread on a flat surface. Spread cheese equally across all 4 slices of bread. Top with figs and then spinach mixture, all spread equally across bread slices. Cover each with top slice of bread, and butter the outside of the top slices.

  5. Turn on heat to medium. When skillet is warm, add sandwiches, buttered side down.

  6. Place another clean skillet on top of sandwiches, and press down. You should hear a little bit of sizzle. Toast bread for 3 minutes. Remove top skillet, and butter the bread. Carefully flip sandwiches over, and replace the clean skillet on top. Toast for another 3 1/2 minutes.

  7. Remove sandwiches and repeat with remaining sandwiches. Slice sandwiches in half, and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

NOTE ON CHEESE: I use 2 ounces of cheese per sandwiches. Of course, you can use more or less, to taste. With 2 ounces you won't get the dripping, melty cheese, but the cheese still melts beautifully into the sandwich.

Recipe and photo by Karyl Henry