As cooler months rolls around, the persimmon tree bears fruit. This Vegan Persimmon Salad is the perfect way to take advantage of its short season. Pair it with an earthy and tangy beetroot dressing for a delicious savoury fruit side dish.
Why I Love Vegan Persimmon Salad with Beetroot Dressing
I can always tell that autumn has come around because Phen starts to distribute persimmons to Sammy and I. Their family tree simply bears too much fruit, and she has to give them away before they go to waste.
So, of course, the time comes when we get creative and start to make some new salads.
This vegan persimmon recipe is no exception, and we’re always excited to get a whole bag full. The persimmons were perfectly round, so sweet and crunchy. Love cutting into them and you can hear that snap.
For this recipe, I decided to pair it with a beetroot vinaigrette to give it a pop of colour, earthiness and tang from the sticky pomegranate molasses. I love fruit side dishes which is why I added some apples and dried apricots.
Difference Between Fuyu And Hachiya Persimmons?
If it weren’t for the stem and leaves on the crown of both the persimmons, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were 2 different fruits.
From an appearance perspective, the fuyu persimmon, which is the persimmon used for this recipe, is round and short. Some may refer to it as squat-shaped and has a similar shape to that of a beefsteak tomato.
The hachiya persimmons, on the other hand, are longer in shape with a slightly pointy end, resembling more of a Roma tomato.
The most significant difference between the 2 fruits is its astringency, and this affects the appropriate time for consumption.
Astringency refers to that funny feeling in your mouth when it goes dry due to the level of tannin found in the fruit if eaten before they are completely ripe.
The hachiya persimmon is more astringent than the fuyu persimmon and therefore, they can’t be eaten until they are fully ripe. When they are ripe, they are very soft, and its consistency is compared to that of an over-ripe tomato.
They are therefore not so suitable for a salad as it would just turn it into a soggy mess. It would, however, work as a salad dressing if you put it in a food processor with some vinegar and olive oil.
The fuyu persimmon is much less astringent and hence can be enjoyed when it’s not fully ripe.
In fact, there are 2 types of fuyu persimmon eaters. Either you prefer the crunch, or you like it soft and squishy. I have always enjoyed it crunchy and don’t like it at all when it’s too soft.
As a result of this lack of astringency, fuyu persimmons make for fantastic salad ingredients. Evident also in our Persimmon Salad with Candied Hazelnuts and Coconut.
What Exactly Are Mixed Leaves?
At The Devil Wears Salad, we use a lot of mixed leaves, and it occurred to me that it may be a term that not everyone is familiar with. Some of you may prefer to use the term mesclun.
Gone are the days when iceberg lettuce takes centre stage for a salad. I actually find iceberg lettuce to be quite hard in texture and doesn’t allow for the kind of salad assembly and plating that I am accustomed to.
Mixed leaves are essentially a mixed variety of different salad greens, rather than just using the one kind.
We’re lucky here in Australia where I can purchase mixed leaves by weight, so nothing goes to waste. Instead of buying a whole bag of rocket and a whole head of radicchio, for instance, I can buy a mixture of a variety of greens to create the salad I need.
Oh, how I wish they did this with herbs! So sick of having to buy herbs in a whole packet and finding it hard to consume it all at once.
A typical mixed leaf ensemble will include rocket, radicchio, spinach and a lettuce of some kind.
My absolute favourite mixed leaf combination is baby tatsoi, chard and mizuna. Not so easy to find, but luckily for me, it’s available in one of my fine grocers.
Watercress, endive, escarole are all also fantastic mixes to add to any salad.
At the end of the day, what we’re after is a softer variety that’s delicate with a combination of very green, peppery and even slightly bitter undertones.
These are great to offset sometimes overly sweet or tangy ingredients within the recipe. Also, they’re incredibly good for you so can’t go wrong with overeating mixed leaves!
How to Make Vegan Persimmon Salad with Beetroot Dressing
How to Prepare the Salad
With a small knife, remove the stem and leaves of the fuyu persimmon and discard.
Peel them. Cut one persimmon into 8 wedges and slice the other crosswise into large wheels. You want to cut them crosswise so that you can see the natural star indentation in the middle of the fruit.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves, 1 tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and massage the leaves gently.
In a small fry pan, dry toast the almond flakes for 2 minutes. Toss as you go, so they don’t just burn on the one side.
Cut the apple in half and slice thinly. Keep it intact.
Cut dried apricot into small bite size pieces.
How to Make Beetroot Dressing
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the large beetroot and boil for 20-25 minutes until soft. Remove, peel and cut into small pieces.
Using a hand blender or food processor, blitz the beetroot, juice of ½ lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, pomegranate molasses, red wine vinegar and some salt to taste.
Pour beetroot salad dressing into a small bottle or nice bowl. The dressing is to be added by your guests when they have served themselves some salad.
The reason I want to do this is because this dressing is on the denser side. If I tossed it with the delicate greens, it would just end up being a pile of mess that is stodgy. So, adding it when it’s time to eat will allow the salad to look fantastic when it hits the individual plate.
How to Assemble the Salad
Select 3 of the best-looking persimmon wheels and set aside.
Place ¾ of the massaged mixed leaves on ¾ of the serving plate or platter.
Sprinkle half the dried apricots, flaked almonds and pepitas.
Place the persimmon wedges and all but 3 of the wheels nicely around the salad.
Place ½ the sliced apples on one side of the plate amongst the leaves and the other half on another side of the plate.
Place the last 3 persimmon wheels you had set aside to the part of the plate that is exposed to showcase the beautiful fruit.
Add the remaining mixed leaves on top.
Add the remaining dried apricot, flaked almonds and pepitas on top.
Season with pepper to taste.
Serve with the beetroot dressing on the side and for guests to help themselves.
This is yet another example of how I like to layer my salads. And the reason I don’t just chuck all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and then pour it onto a platter is because the presentation matters to me.
You want to be able to see all the components while showcasing the persimmons.
Also, salads don’t always have to be a heap in the centre of the plate. Skewing them to one side gives it a little bit of a difference. Enjoy this gorgeous vegan salad!
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Vegan Persimmon Salad with Beetroot Dressing
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Remove the stem and leaves of the fuyu persimmon and discard. Peel them. Cut one persimmon into 8 wedges and slice the other crosswise into large round wheels.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves, 1 tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and massage the leaves gently.
- In a small fry pan, dry toast the almond flakes for 2 minutes. Toss as you go, so they don’t just burn on the one side.
- Cut the apple in half and slice thinly. Keep it intact.
- Cut dried apricot into small bite pieces.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the large beetroot and boil for 20-25 minutes until soft. Remove, peel and cut into small pieces.
- Using a hand blender, blitz the beetroot, juice of ½ lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, pomegranate molasses, red wine vinegar and some salt to taste.
- Pour beetroot salad dressing into a small bottle or nice bowl. The dressing is to be added by your guests when they have served themselves some salad.
- Select 3 of the best-looking persimmon wheels and set aside.
- Place ¾ of the massaged mixed leaves on ¾ of the serving plate or platter.
- Sprinkle half the dried apricots, flaked almonds and pepitas.
- Place the persimmon wedges and all but 3 of the wheels nicely around the salad.
- Place ½ the sliced apples on one side of the plate amongst the leaves and the other half on another side of the plate.
- Place the last 3 persimmon wheels you had set aside to the part of the plate that is exposed to showcase the beautiful fruit.
- Add the remaining mixed leaves on top.
- Add the remaining dried apricot, flaked almonds and pepitas on top.
- Season with pepper to taste.
- Serve with the beetroot dressing on the side and for guests to help themselves.
- For this recipe, the hachiya persimmons won’t be suitable.
- Select fuyu persimmons that are not too crunchy but not too ripe either. We’re looking for a bit of crunch.
- You can use any dried fruit you wish. Cranberries, blueberries and peaches would work well.
- You can substitute pepitas with sunflower seeds if that’s your preference. Or you can use both if you have some handy in the pantry and need to get rid of them.
- A flaked nut is best used in this recipe as there are quite a few hard, crunchy and chewy components in this recipe. The flaked almonds give the recipe a softer texture. You can dry toast flaked coconut if you prefer.
- You can substitute pomegranate molasses with balsamic glaze.
- The Beetroot Dressing is served on the side as it has a dense consistency. Mixing it through the whole salad would cause the leaves to get crushed and wilt. Adding it only when it’s time to eat will allow the salad to continue to be light and not a whole stodgy mess.
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