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.

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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