Ah autumn and winter how we love you! Tis’ the season to enjoy this divine Persimmon Salad topped with moreish candied hazelnuts and flaky coconut chips.
Why I Love Persimmon Salad with Candied Hazelnuts and Coconut
I love being able to take advantage of seasonal produce as that means I can treat my guests with a salad that is not always readily available.
Persimmons make for the perfect salad ingredients as it’s naturally crunchy and sweet, making it a fantastic companion to yet another dinner party worthy leafy salad.
What Is a Persimmon?
A persimmon is a fruit that originated from China. It is also widely grown in Korea and Japan and is now much more widespread around the world.
There are 2 types of persimmons. The Hachiya, which is acorn or heart shaped with a paler coloured skin whilst the Fuyu persimmon is shaped like a tomato with a bright orange skin.
I grew up on the fuyu persimmon and over the years I have come to realise that there are 2 kinds of persimmon eaters.
Either you like it hard and crunchy or you wait until it’s really ripe and becomes soft and super sweet. I’m of the crunchy variety and in fact, think it’s gross when its soft and starts to take on a jelly like consistency. It is by no means off, just ripe.
When Is the Persimmon Season?
The persimmon is an autumn/winter fruit that is generally available for about 3-4 months.
Lucky for us, Phen’s in-laws have a fruitful persimmon tree and every year we’re graced with a generous bag of organically grown fruit. I naturally had to take full advantage of it and create a salad for the season.
What Are Some Persimmon Benefits?
Like most fruit and vegetables eaten raw, it has many wonderful health benefits. It is low in fat, high in antioxidants, a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
What is Pomegranate Molasses?
Pomegranate molasses is a staple in my pantry and it is one of my many go-to ingredients when making a salad dressing. Pomegranate molasses is simply pomegranate syrup or reduced pomegranate juice. You can buy this off the shelf easily.
This thick syrup is not sweet and in fact has a great tang to it, which is a great substitute for red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar when I want to sweeten a dressing up without having to add honey or sugar.
You can even make the pomegranate molasses yourself if you are so inclined.
Just blend up the arils of a pomegranate and through a sieve, extract the juice. Place in a saucepan with some lemon and sugar (if you wish) and let it simmer until its reduced to a thick syrup.
How to Make Persimmon Salad with Candied Hazelnuts and Coconut
How to Make Candied Hazelnuts
Candied nuts are so moreish. Once I start, I have to have great willpower to stop. And for this recipe, I couldn’t go past some candied hazelnuts to accompany the persimmon.
The first thing we want to do is to remove the skin of the hazelnut as it’s bitter and it’s not a flavour I was after for this persimmon salad.
Essentially, we are going to use the boil and rub method whereby you place the hazelnuts in a saucepan of boiling water for about 15 minutes.
Drain the hazelnuts and place them in a towel and rub off the skin. Sometimes I use my hands and it’s good enough. Occasionally the really stubborn ones need to be peeled with your fingers.
Once the skin is off, place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and put it into the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C or 350°F. We want them nice and roasted before caramelising them.
In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix 4 tbsp of sugar with 1 tbsp of water.
When the hazelnut is roasted, place them in the sugar and water mixture and coat them well. Return them to the baking tray and back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until caramelised to your liking.
How to Prepare the Persimmon and Apples
Whilst all that is going on, peel the persimmon. Cut them in half and then cut them into thin wedges.
Cut the apple into thin slices. Put them in salted water to stop them from browning. Wash them when you’re ready to serve to get rid of the saltiness but make sure they are dry. We don’t want a soggy salad!
How to Make the Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pomegranate molasses until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients together including the coconut flakes.
Pour in the dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss.
If persimmons are not a fruit you’ve come across or completely accustomed to, I implore you to seek them out during the fall or autumn season and give it a try.
This persimmon salad will make for a great addition to the Thanksgiving and Christmas table for our Northern Hemisphere entertainers!
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Persimmon Salad with Candied Hazelnuts and Coconut
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- Add hazelnuts into a small saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain. Use a towel to rub off the skin or rub/peel them with your hands. Placed the peeled hazelnuts onto a sheet pan lined with baking paper and roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C or 350°F.
- Remove hazelnuts and add to a mixture of 4 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of water. Pour mixture back onto the sheet pan and roast for a further 20 minutes until caramelised.
- Peel the persimmon. Cut it in half and then cut into thin wedges. Set aside.
- Cut the apple into thin slices. Place in salted water to stop the apple from browning. When ready to serve, wash the apples to remove the saltiness and dry on a paper towel.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pomegranate molasses until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the persimmons, mixed salad leaves, apple, coconut flakes and candied hazelnuts.
- Pour in dressing and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the salad until evenly coated.
- Serve immediately.
- If the hazelnuts are too big for your liking, you can chop them up into smaller pieces.
- You can pretty much candy any nut of your choosing. Consume the nut element raw to make this a low lectin salad recipe.
- You can toast the coconut chip if you’re after an extra texture although the persimmon and apple provide enough of a crunch element.
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