Fall Fest: Arugula-Fig Salad w/Blue Cheese & Warm Bacon Vinaigrette from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef

Fall Festis here and it’s a continuation of Summer Fest, a cross-blog recipe (and tip) swap. These events were started by Margaret Roach of Away to Garden and Deb Puchalla of Food Network. Previous themes were  Spinach and Apples. For this week, it’s all about Fall Salads.

Join and share yourblog write ups. Just post your link or recipe or idea in the comments below this post, and also share on the blogs of the other participants who are co-hosting as well.

Fall is the perfect time of year for salads because delicate lettuce and other greens start to flourish in the cooler Autumn air. Within a few day of sowing our seeds, tender sprigs of arugula and legumes start to peak out of the soil again. Another notable reason to indulge in salads is to start eating lighter before the onslaught of Holiday meals arrives!

Fall salads are particularly fun because of the wonderful savory and warm textures that the season brings. End of summer figs, pomegranates, toasted nuts, earthy beets, warm vinaigrettes and hearty cheeses are just a few examples of how we adorn our autumn greens. These robust platters of tender greens are a complete meal in themselves and serve as the perfect “good eating” before all the rich, festive holiday foods arrive.

Maybe it’s the cooler weather that makes us crave heartier salads. But earthy additions like roasted potatoes and beets make salads extra exciting. Toss in a few toasted nuts and we’ve just made the salads of champions.

Salads are also such a perfect dish to satisfy almost anyone we feed at home because they’re fresh and we can serve them to our gluten free guests! Thanks to our sweet friends Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern of GlutenFreeGirl.com, we can indulge in perfect gluten free salads from their fabulous new cookbook,Gluten Free Girl and The Chef.

We had the pleasure and honor of producing Shauna and Daniel’s cookbook promo video. That was a life changing experience to work with this these two fantastic individuals. And their gluten free recipes are amazing, out of this world delicious.

This arugula-fig salad is from their wonderful cookbook, Gluten Free Girl and The Chef and it is so perfectly adorned with all that we love in our fall salads! Crispy bacon, sweet end-of season figs, tangy blue cheese and a warm vinaigrette from the bacon drippings are all to die for!

Arugula-Fig Salad w/ Blue Cheese and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette Recipe

Yield: 4 servings.

Total Time: 10 minutes

Adapted from Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef by Shauna and Daniel Ahern. We can't describe it any better than Danny & Shauna did in their book. This salad is sensuous.


  • 2 slices thick-cut Smoked Bacon (cook in whole strips or cut slices)
  • 1 T Grape Seed Oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
  • 1 Shallot, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 4 t Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 t Dijon Mustard
  • Sea Salt & fresh cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 lrg bunch Baby Arugula, or Frisee (@ 1/2 lb)
  • 1 pint fresh Figs, we used Strawberry Figs, but Missions are great too
  • 1/4 lb (4oz) Smoked Blue Cheese, or other fav. tangy blue


  1. Over med-high heat, cook bacon until it just starts to crisp on the edges. Remove from pan & set aside.
  2. Pour off most of the bacon fat and reserve it for later. Leave a small skim of rendered fat at the bottom of the pan. Add sliced shallots to the saute pan over medium heat and quickly cook shallots until soft.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add the vinegar to shallot mixture. Whisk well. Then pour aside in a small bowl and add mustard, combine well.
  4. Pour about 3-4 tablespoons of the bacon fat back in to the saute pan and heat over medium heat. When fat is hot, carefully and vigorously whisk in the shallot mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss together arugula or frisee, strips of bacon, blue cheese and figs. Drizzle with bacon vinaigrette and toss into salad.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

Hello! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission and do not re-publish this recipe. Simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

More Fall Salad Recipes for Fall Fest. Share your links on our host’s blogs!

  • Paige at The Sisters Project – Chopped salad that is like an hors d’oeurve
  • Cate at Sweet Knicks – Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
  • Nicole at Pinch My Salt Spinach pomegranate salad
  • Jennifer at Gilded Fork: Red & White Salad with Candied Pecans, Figs & Chevre
  • Margaret at A Way to Garden: Why Beets Make the Salad
  • Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Salt-Roasted Beet and Potato Salad
  • Michelle at Cooking Channel: 5 Fab Fall Salads
  • Liz at Healthy Eats: 5 Favorite Fall Salads
  • Alison at Food2: Fall Salads, Deconstructed
  • Alana at Eating From the Ground Up: Kale Salad
  • Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Wheat Berry Salad with Apples and Pomegranate Seeds


{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Shanna ~ My Favorite Everything

    Yep, “Sensuous” was the perfect description! Stunning photo!

  2. My Barbarian Table

    beautiful & stunning!

  3. ozhan

    I love anything with fig, especially when the figs are such heavenly good. As for my contribution please check my arugula salad with pomegranate sauce recipe from the link below: http://www.thekitchenofoz.com/index.php/2010/03/arugula-salad-with-pomegranate-sauce/

  4. Scott at Real Epicurean

    Now *that* is what I call delicious!

  5. Garrett

    I love the videos you guys do. They’re just so damn awesome.

  6. Stephanie Meyer

    Stunning, as always. Inspired by your photos, as always. I enjoyed meeting you at BlogHer. And wish I had that salad for dinner!

  7. Carolyn Parker


  8. Lyrical Lemongrass

    We eat salads as our main course for dinner around 3 times a week to counter the effects of eating all the other fatty stuff the other days of the week! I LOVE figs, but unfortunately, we can’t get them here in Malaysia (or if we do get them, they cost an arm and a leg). Your pics make me want to take the first flight out. I’m so tempted!!

  9. Briana

    Looks delicious – what beautiful figs! Please try out my harvest orzo salad for a hearty fall entertaining dish: http://kitchenjourneys.com/2010/10/12/harvest-orzo-salad/

  10. Gosia

    I come here to devour the images, but without fail, I end up devouring the dish, too. I made this salad for the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner and it was stunning to look at and absolutely delicious to eat – delicate arugula paired with this serious dressing, but then mellowed down with the sweetness of the figs. Heaven! Thank you so much for sharing. Love everything about White on Rice Couple!

  11. Nicole Franzen

    Those figs look divine 🙂 YUM

  12. shirley@kokken69

    I am not a salad person but I am falling in love with this salad! I would totally order this if I see the photo on a menu!

  13. napa farmhouse 1885/diane

    i am so late to the party, but i posted a recipe for roasted beet, fig and orange salad. the figs and oranges are roasted too…and i used your recipe for fig & balsamic reduction! http://napafarmhouse1885.blogspot.com/2010/10/have-you-ever-roasted-oranges-and.html

  14. nicolette

    Just look at those figs! I know I should be posting a recipe for a fall salad, but I had to comment right away. Your shots are gorgeous!

  15. Liam O'Malley

    I always love your photos so much. This looks wonderful.

  16. Mini

    Looks colorful and mouthwaterin

  17. laura @ alittlebarefoot

    this is a combination of all my favorite flavors in one. must try it, thanks!

  18. Shauna

    Oh you two! These photographs are just gorgeous (no surprise). We adore you.

    Thank you, from all three of us.

  19. Julie @ The Avocado Pit

    That looks delightful. I love salads that mix savory and sweet tastes.
    For my autumn salad celebration, I made an Endive, Apple & Walnut salad.
    You can see the recipe here…http://theavocadopit.blogspot.com/2010/10/endive-apple-walnut-salad.html

  20. Soma

    The figs are so good. The deep pink inside is so very pretty. Haven’t seen a single one here yet.

  21. Rachel

    Looks great! I have never played with figs but I may need to give them a try soon. The salad I made for fall fest is a Fall Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Stilton

  22. nicole

    That looks so refreshing. I never thought about it but I have been craving salads again. I’ll have to try this one. Those figs look mouth watering.

  23. Kathleen

    Beautiful salad and I love the ingredients. My contribution is one of all time favorite salads that I first enjoyed in Paris.

  24. Maria

    Love the video and this recipe. I can’t wait to buy the book!

  25. Taylor

    You had me at Bacon, awesome pictures as always!

  26. Purple Cook

    For Fall Fest:
    This simple Arugula and Mustard Salad captures the taste of fall.

  27. Ranjani

    I’m drooling just looking at that ingredient list. I’ve never had bacon vinaigrette, but now I can’t wait to make some!
    This week I made a beet and apple salad:

  28. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    This looks fabulous! I am bookmarking this one for sure. Here’s a late summer salad perfect for this time of year with figs

  29. sandhya@vegetarianirvana

    Your picture of the bacon strip is so mouth watering, this life long vegetarian might even convert!
    Here are some ideas for salad toppings we can make ahead, which comes handy when you have huge holiday crowds.

  30. joudie's Mood Food

    This look so colourful. Perfect for Autumn. I love figs and their ruby centres. Just perfect witht he bacon. Yumm!

  31. Julie Church

    Here is one of my favorite fall salads.

    Apple-Pear Salad


    1 (16 oz.) package Romaine lettuce, washed and broken into bite-size pieces
    1 (6 oz.) block Swiss cheese, grated
    1 C cashews
    1/2 C sweetened dried cranberries
    1 large apple, chopped and rinsed in lemon water to keep from turning brown
    1 large pear, chopped and rinsed in lemon water to keep from turning brown
    Poppy Seed Salad Dressing (recipe below)


    Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl. Yield: 6-8 servings.

    Poppy Seed Salad Dressing


    1/2 C sugar
    2/3 C oil
    1/4 C vinegar
    1 t mustard
    1 t salt
    1-2 t poppy seeds


    Place in jar and shake to combine.

  32. Tokyo Terrace

    Beautiful! This looks like the perfect fall salad. I love warm bacon vinaigrette. It’s such a warm, welcoming, flavorful addition to salads. The first photo makes me want to sit at your table!

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