Arugula salad with persimmons, beets and burrata

arugula salad with persimmons, golden beets and burrata | pamela salzman

I have a bad habit in my classes of demonstrating a recipe and then going on and on about all the ways to tweak it.  It’s one of my favorite dorky cooking things to do.  I’ll say, ” … and then you can sub avocados for the cheese for a different twist.  And if you use avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds would be a nice addition.  And if you happen to have leftover roasted red onions lying around, add those too.  If you add roasted red onion, take out the grains and add roasted butternut squash for a completely different dish.  And then in the summer when peaches are in season….”  I can do this all day.  If your brain works this way too, we should hang out.  There will never be a dull moment between the two of us.


But I learn a lot from my students about different styles of cooking (e.g. measuring everything) and what people are afraid of (e.g. improvising).  I was talking to some ladies about the nectarine salad I posted over the summer and I mentioned that I was going to tweak it for fall by subbing persimmons for the nectarines and beets for the tomatoes and maybe a sherry vinaigrette.  “Are you going to post that?”  To which I responded, “If I posted a picture on Instagram, would you still need a recipe?”  Duh, was the look I got.  Ok, then.  Ask and you shall receive.

arugula and dressing

Even though I am obliging by posting this recipe, I would like to point out that the most flexible recipes are salads, where ingredients can always be substituted in or out.  In fact, if you have one good basic salad dressing like my Everyday Salad Dressing #2, you can have an infinite number of great salads any time of year.  And they can usually be put together at the last minute with items from the crisper drawer and the pantry.  I am crazy about this fall combo of arugula, persimmons and golden beets.  Doesn’t it look like an autumnal tree?  Or at least a tree of a lot of caretenoids?  My favorite part is the very thin slices of Fuyu persimmon, which is a crunchy, sweet variety of persimmon very different from the ones you have to eat super soft.  I sliced both the persimmons and the beets uber thin using the adjustable slicing blade on my food processor, but a mandoline can do the trick, too.  Otherwise do your best with a very shape knife.  Persimmons and beets, which are also slightly sweet, are such  great contrast to peppery arugula.  People are always surprised to know that arugula is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and has all the tremendous health benefits to go with it.  But feel free to use a more mild lettuce like butter lettuce if arugula isn’t your thing.

arugula salad with persimmons, golden beets and burrata | pamela salzman

I used burrata as a special treat in this salad.  It’s not something I eat often, and when I do it’s just a couple bites.  Burrata is a ball of mozzarella on the outside and mozzarella and cream mixed together on the inside.  Very delicious, but rich.  If you do not eat dairy, I usually sub avocado for cheeses since it can provide the same creamy factor.  In LA, my favorite brand is Di Stefano which can be found at my local Whole Foods and at the Cheese Store in Beverly Hills.

arugula salad with persimmons, golden beets and burrata | pamela salzman

One of my go-to classic salad combos is greens, fruit, cheese and nuts, so I couldn’t help but add walnuts here for a little nugget of crunch in every bite.  You can add pomegranate seeds instead if you are nut free.  I have over-dressed this salad the day I took these images, but try not to when you make it!  I have also used a non-dressing dressing of drizzling everything with olive oil, aged white balsamic and a  sprinkle of maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Very easy and also rather tasty.  Other ways you can go are thinly sliced pieces of Manchego instead of the burrata, radicchio and endive for the arugula, and even a sprinkling of cooked quinoa in there.  If you use quinoa, feta would be nice instead of the burrata.  And there I go again.  Let me know if you make this and what your spin is!

arugula salad with persimmons, golden beets and burrata | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
arugula salad with persimmons, beets and burrata
Serves: serves 4-6
  • 1 bunch baby golden beets, greens removed and saved for another time
  • vinaigrette: (or don't make a dressing and just drizzle with olive oil, aged white balsamic and salt and pepper)
  • 3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons mild flavored raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 1 persimmon, sliced crosswise as thinly as possible
  • 8 ounces burrata
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • Maldon sea salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub beets and place in a pie plate or a baking dish with ½ inch of water. Tightly cover with foil and roast beets until tender, about 45-50 minutes. You should be able to insert a paring knife easily into the center of the largest beet.
  2. Set beets aside uncovered until cool enough to handle. Peel and slice crosswise as thinly as possible.
  3. Make the vinaigrette: whisk together all ingredients until emulsified or shake in a screw top jar.
  4. Place the arugula on a platter and drizzle with just enough dressing to coat lightly.
  5. Tuck the slices of persimmon and beets throughout the greens.
  6. Tear the burrata into bitesize pieces and arrange over the salad.
  7. Scatter the walnuts over the salad and drizzle with a little more dressing. You may not need to use all the dressing.
  8. Sprinkle salad with a couple pinches of Maldon salt.



Arugula and Farro Salad with Peaches Recipe

arugula and farro salad with peaches

Mr. Picky is my third child, my 10-year-old son. He is a perfect child in every way, however he is rather picky when it comes to food. I know some people think that Mr. Picky is not at all picky because he eats things like lentils and beans and salmon. True. But he won’t eat an unbelievable amount of other, basic things, like eggs, cheese, and most cooked vegetables. Mr. Picky thinks the name I gave him is funny and doesn’t want me to refer to him as anything else on my blog. And since I am not worried that he is picky, the name can stay for now.

Ripe, but firm peaches that smell fragrant

“Would Mr. Picky eat this?” That’s what many of my cooking class students will ask me when we are making something outside of the kid cuisine box, so to speak. Most people have a picky child and therefore struggle will meal planning and mealtime. I can get frustrated too, but in general I don’t sweat it because I truly believe that if I continue to provide a wide variety of nutritious whole foods on a regular basis, something will click one day and he will turn into a better eater. This is not a post about raising a healthful eater, but more to address how I make something like this delicious Arugula and Farro Salad with Peaches and get my son to eat it. It’s called “deconstruction.”

I like to layer arugula then farro then peaches

I know what Mr. Picky won’t eat, in the case of this salad that would be vinaigrette, arugula and cheese. No problem. First I ask him if this is the day he would like to try the salad with vinaigrette. 90% of the time he says, “I’m not ready yet.” No problem. So I deconstruct the salad and give him a scoop of plain farro (it’s like brown rice, I tell him), almonds and peaches. If I have some romaine lettuce in the fridge, I’ll give him some of that, too.

shave the cheese with a vegetable peeler

Arugula is a peppery, almost a little spicy, green. I love it, but I didn’t when I was 10. But I just can’t see only making recipes that are Mr. Picky-approved. That would be cooking to the lowest common denominator and that’s never a good idea.

making dressing

I taught this salad last summer in my classes and just last week in Jenni Kayne’s Fourth of July class with The Chalkboard. This is the perfect salad for entertaining and I have even eaten a version of this for a lunch at home with my Everyday Salad Dressing #2. You don’t need the farro, but it does make the salad heartier which is helpful if you don’t want to eat the ribs or steak options at your BBQ. And if you are gluten-intolerant, unfortunately you can’t eat farro, but millet or quinoa would work well here.  In any case, everything can be prepped in advance so all you have to do is assemble at mealtime. I have also done a version of this salad with pitted cherries and Pecorino. I think nectarines or blackberries would also be amazing. For that matter, any stone fruit or berry would be perfect. Yay summer!

arugula and farro salad with peaches

arugula and farro salad with peaches

5.0 from 1 reviews
Arugula and Farro Salad with Peaches
Serves: 6
  • ¾ cup farro*
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 ounces arugula
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • ¼ cup chives, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • a sprinkle of chopped or sliced nuts, such as almonds or walnuts (I used Marcona almonds here)
  • a sprinkle of cheese, such as feta, gorgonzola or shaved Manchego, Parmesan or Pecorino (I used shaved Manchego here)
  1. Place farro in a medium saucepan with water to cover by at least three inches and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. If using right away, rinse with cold water to cool down.
  2. In a medium bowl or a glass jar with a fitted lid, combine all dressing ingredients.
  3. Place the arugula, farro, chives, and peaches in a serving bowl and drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat. Toss gently.
  4. Add chopped nuts and/or crumbled cheese, if desired.
*about 2 ¼ cups cooked


Grilled chicken paillard with arugula and lemon vinaigrette

chicken paillard with arugula

By now you have figured out that I promote one meal for the whole family.  I think there is a beautiful connectedness that comes from everyone sharing the same meal and sharing the same energy from that food.  In addition, I believe that we help our children develop better eating habits when we expose them to a wide variety of foods during their lives and we encourage them to try new things.  By giving in to the picky eater in the family and making him chicken tenders or buttered pasta every night because he won’t eat grown-up food, we are basically ensuring that he will grow up with only a taste for “kid cuisine” and the flavors associated with it.  Not only that, who in the world has time to make more than one meal every night?

Mr. Picky is my 7-year-old and he is a challenge at mealtime even though I have done everything right.  I am a great eater and I have set a good example for him (the most important thing.)  I have exposed him to every vegetable and whole grain countless times.  He has helped me prepare dozens of meals.  We have gone shopping together at the supermarket and farmer’s markets.  We have planted seeds and grown our own food.  And he is still a total pain in the ass neck and still quite picky, although he is slowly coming around.  But I am not stressed out about it because Daughter #1 was the exact same way, even worse!  Until one day something clicked and now she eats everything I eat from beet greens and bok choy to millet and muesli.

What does this have to do with chicken paillard and arugula salad when 99% of kids hate arugula?  Of course they hate it.  It is peppery and bitter and their tastebuds haven’t developed to the point that it tastes good to them.  I didn’t like arugula when I was 7, but I am a maniac for it now.  I even grow tons of it in my garden.  So should I cater to the lowest common denominator in my family and prepare arugula-less meals?  Heck no!  I want arugula salads every now and then with a lemon vinaigrette and thinly pounded chicken breast.  It’s one of my favorite quick-fix meals.  But this is where I think flexibility should play a role.   I will cut the chicken into strips and lay them on top of the arugula so that  it is more appealing to my son and I allow him to eat just the chicken.  He can look around the vegetable crisper and see if there’s something else that he would like, such as a raw carrot.  In this way, I am not making him a whole different meal for him and the rest of us get to eat what we want.

No one likes everything, not even me.  I very much dislike papaya, tarragon and poached or runny eggs.  If you dislike arugula, feel free to substitute spinach or a crisp romaine.  If you dislike chicken, you can add steak or chickpeas and shaved parmesan cheese.  This is a great recipe to make for a crowd or for just one.  The photo below shows a big platter I made when my cousin Joanna and her husband Anthony stopped by for dinner.  I literally came home after they arrived at my house and whipped this together in front of them.  The other finished photo at the top is my lunch yesterday when I was working at home testing recipes.  As luck would have it, Mr. Picky came home for lunch and asked if I would share my chicken with him.  My pleasure, as long as I get all the arugula for myself!  One day he’ll be asking for that, too.


chicken paillard with arugula


5.0 from 1 reviews
Grilled Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette
Serves: 4
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice of 1 lemon + 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces arugula
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  1. Place the chicken breasts one at a time in between to pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound to a ¼-inch thickness. You can use a meat mallet or a rolling pin. The idea is to get the chicken to an even thickness all around. Remove from the paper and place in a glass baking dish and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon on top. Drizzle with an equal amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Heat the grill to medium. In the meantime, prepare the salad dressing. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a medium bowl with the cut side of the garlic. Add the garlic to the bowl. To the bowl, add 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk to combine. Pour ½ cup olive oil into the bowl, whisking constantly to emulsify. Taste for seasoning and tartness. Add more oil if necessary.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade and grill a few minutes on both sides until golden brown. Place on a cutting board. Arrange the arugula on a platter and drizzle with enough of the dressing to coat lightly. Cut the chicken into strips and arrange on top of the arugula. Scatter tomatoes on top and drizzle a little more dressing. Or arrange the chicken on a platter and top with dressed arugula leaves and tomato.
I also love this salad with chickpeas, olives, shaved parmesan cheese, or thinly sliced fennel.

Do ahead: you can make the dressing several days in advance and wash and dry your greens in advance, too. Just wrap them in a damp kitchen towel and store in the refrigerator.