You’ll just love this grilled persimmon salad recipe with tomatoes, mixed greens and feta cheese tossed in a rich and creamy tahini mustard dressing. It’s a vibrant, healthy autumn or fall salad recipe which is perfect to use up all those deliciously sweet persimmons. You then finish this Mediterranean-style salad off with a sprinkle of crunchy pecans and a handful of aromatic fresh parsley.
What are persimmons?
The persimmon, which is part of the Diospyros genus is one of the oldest cultivated plants going back some 2000 years. It was first cultivated in China and only much later, in the 19th century, introduced in to the USA (in California) and Southern Europe. The various types of persimmon can be divided into the astringent and the non-astringent type.
The astringent type is filled with tannins, giving a very unpleasant and pungent sensation and kind of a rough feeling in the mouth. This means that astringent persimmons are only edible when they are very, very ripe and soft. The most known is the hachiya persimmon.
Non-astringent persimmons like the fuya and the ‘Spanish persimon‘ are very pleasant to eat even when they are not fully ripened. This is also the type of persimmon which is used for this recipe and which I will continue talking about.
What do persimmons taste like?
Persimmons look like a mixture between an apple and a plum tomato, with a hue that ranges from yellow-orange to deep red-orange. They have a delicious sweet and rich taste, with slight notes of apricot and honey melon. The flesh is quite firm but tender with a bit of a crunch. A persimmon can be eaten like an apple, including the peel, which is a bit firmer than that of an apple. When cut in half, from side to side, not from top to bottom, a beautiful shape of a star appears in the middle of the fruit.
When is persimmon season?
Persimmons are a typical fall and winter fruit and can be found from October to January in the northern hemisphere and from May to August in the southern hemisphere. As persimmons can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, they are the perfect fruit for the various celebrations in autumn and winter like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Which ingredients to use
- Persimmon fruit: Definitely use the non-astringent type, like the fuyu or the ‘Spanish Persimon’ for this persimmon recipe. Use preferably a slightly harder fruit since it will be grilled. The softer ones are not that good for grilling as they will fall apart.
- Feta cheese: The saltiness balances out the sweet tones of the grilled fruit.
- Tomato: The slight level of acidity pairs really well with the persimmon and feta cheese.
- Lettuce greens: Any type of lettuce combines well with the other ingredients of this recipe. Use a mix of your favourite lettuce greens for the base salad.
- Spring onion: Use both the white and green of the spring onion for extra flavour.
- Pecans: Adding pecans gives this salad a nice extra crunch. Use the nuts either raw or lightly toasted
- Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley adds flavour and colour to this salad. Garnish with parsley just before serving.
How to make this persimmon recipe
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cut the persimmon: Start by removing the leafy top. The easiest way is to slice the top off just under the leafy crown. Since we are going to grill the persimmon, I prefer to slice the persimmon in half or full rounds. Place the fruit on its side and cut equally sized slices of about half a cm or 0.2 inches thickness.
- Grill the persimmon slices: Place a grill pan over medium heat. Brush a thin coat of olive oil on the persimmon rounds and grill each side for 2 minutes. The persimmon is ready when the flesh is soft with slight grill-marks on each side.
- Assemble the salad: On a large serving plate, place lettuce greens and tomato wedges and combine with crumbled feta cheese, spring onions and chopped pecans. Divide the grilled persimmon on top of the salad. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss gently and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Which salad dressing to use
This Mediterranean style salad calls for an olive oil based salad dressing. The vinaigrette I would usually use is this honey mustard dressing, which pairs really well with a whole range of different salads and combines perfectly with the grilled persimmons. But for this salad with persimmons I decided to pair it with the nutty and earthy flavour of tahini which makes this salad just divine and so good.
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It adds a lovely rich and creamy Mediterranean taste to a salad dressing. The base of this tahini salad dressing is the same as the honey mustard dressing, just add a teaspoon of tahini paste, then mix it into a rich dressing and pour over the salad just before serving.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can eat the persimmon skin. The skin is only slightly harder than that of an apple. I never peel a persimmon, but some people do, especially when using in a salad. However, since the persimmon is thinly sliced and grilled, the skin will soften and is great to eat.
Can this salad be made in advance?
The salad dressing can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to a week. Persimmons can also be grilled about an hour in advance and kept aside and combined with the salad just before serving. Grilled persimmons do taste nice when cold, but I prefer to eat this salad with freshly grilled warm fruit.
What can I use as a substitute for pecans?
You can basically use any nuts you like. Most nuts will taste nice with this salad. Consider almonds, walnuts, pine nuts or even pumpkin seeds.
More Fall salad recipes to try
- Pear and gorgonzola salad
- Fresh fig and feta salad with pomegranate
- Grilled halloumi salad with sweet potato
- Belgian endive salad with apple and ham
- Roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash
- Spanish garlic mushrooms
Grilled persimmon salad with feta cheese
- 2 persimmons sliced
- 1 tomato cut in wedges
- 7 ounces (or 200 grams) mixed lettuce leaves
- 4 ounces (or 100 grams) feta cheese crumbled
- 1 tablespoon spring onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon pecans chopped
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- fresh parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- salt and pepper to taste
For the tahini mustard dressing
- In a small bowl, combine the tahini paste, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, honey, salt and pepper and mix well.1 teaspoon tahini paste, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, salt and pepper
- Slowly add the olive oil while whisking well to combine it all into a thick, creamy consistency.2 tablespoon olive oil
For the persimmon salad
- Wash the persimmon under cold running water and remove the leafy top with a sharp pairing knife. Place the fruit on its side and thinly slice equally sized rounds (around 0.2 inches or ½ cm).2 persimmons
- Heat a griddle or place a grill pan over medium heat. Brush a thin coating of olive oil over the sliced persimmon rounds and place them in the pan. Grill each side for 2 minutes until the flesh is soft and slightly charred.2 persimmons, 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Combine the mixed lettuce greens and tomatoes on a large serving plate. Place the grilled persimmons on top together with the crumbled feta cheese, spring onion and pecans. Drizzle with salad dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve with chopped fresh parsley.2 persimmons, 1 tomato, 7 ounces (or 200 grams) mixed lettuce leaves, 4 ounces (or 100 grams) feta cheese, 1 tablespoon spring onion, 1 tablespoon pecans, fresh parsley