fig and cantaloupe salad with watercress and creamy garlic lime dressing

fig and cantaloupe salad with watercress // brooklyn supperI decided I’d only worry about the garden through July. After that, I let it all surrender to the squash bugs, at least one groundhog, a few squirrels, possibly a deer, and powdery mildew and blight of all manner. But even as they weather the onslaught, the tired-looking plants still spew fruit. Most of my outdoor plants have had a banner year, especially considering my gardening-in-Virginia track record. All the plants, except the fig.

fig and cantaloupe salad with watercress // brooklyn supperfig and cantaloupe salad with watercress // brooklyn supperfig and cantaloupe salad with watercress // brooklyn supperI have a little potted fig tree, a Mother’s Day gift from last year, that bore a full round of figs last summer. This year, I spotted only a single, tiny one. No matter, I have my eye on a few local trees, and in a week or two, will do my best to endear myself to, or possibly steal from, the owners of these more productive fig trees.

Or, I may do just as I’ve done here, and get them at the store. No matter how you come by your figs, after an old fashioned cramming figs in your face sit down, a savory salad should be in order. For this one, I threw together heaps of figs, some over-ripe cantaloupe, and a bunch a peppery watercress. The salad gets pungent notes from a sliced red onion along with tang from a creamy garlic and Greek yogurt dressing. Herbs, especially mint, bridge the whole mess, and you are left with a quietly celebratory late summer salad.

fig and cantaloupe salad with watercress // brooklyn supperfig and cantaloupe salad with watercress // brooklyn supper

Fig and Cantaloupe Salad with Watercress and Creamy Garlic Lime Dressing
serves four to six

for the creamy garlic lime dressing
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (preferably the full fat variety)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1/2 a lime –– save the other half for serving)
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

This dressing improves with time, so if you have time to make ahead and refrigerate for a while, I’d recommend it. If not, it’s still going to be great.

This dressing is easily made in the blender, but you can also whisk it all together. For the blender method, add all the ingredients and pulse until emulsified. Otherwise, whisk the Greek yogurt and olive oil together in a small bowl. Add lime juice, and then the onion, garlic, honey, sea salt, pepper, and finally, the Parmesan.

for the salad and assembly
8 – 10 figs, stems removed and quartered
1 small cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 bunch watercress
1/2 a red onion, sliced paper thin
4 sprigs fresh mint
Several leaves fresh basil, torn or cut chiffonade
Parmesan shavings
lime wedges
sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large bowl or on a platter, arrange the watercress. Drizzle leaves with several tablespoons dressing, and turn with fingers to coat. Next, layer on cantaloupe segments, red onion slices, and figs. Drizzle with more dressing. Finish salad by sprinkling on the herb leaves, adding a few Parmesan shavings, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a pinch each of sea salt and pepper.


    • Elizabeth says

      Kelli, Lucky! There’s really nothing like an abundance of figs. And I secretly love how hard they can be to find. It just doesn’t get better than homegrown.

  1. says

    totally loving all these lovely flavors going on here, especially imagining what the figs taste like with a cream garlic-lime dressing! total yum!

  2. says

    The color in this salad is incredible! I have never had fresh figs, as I just don’t think they are available in the interior of British Columbia. So I might just try this with dried figs (I know, I know, not the same).
    Beautiful photos, by the way!

  3. BarbinDC says

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made it yesterday for a “Goodbye to Summer” dinner for my neighbors. I had some beautiful figs from Trader Joe’s and just googled for a recipe and yours came up. Picked up the rest of the ingredients from the farmers market and went to town. Made the dressing in advance and prepped the rest of the stuff the night before and just assembled it all at the last minute. It was a real hit with everybody and I have enough ingredients left over to make it again this weekend. Thanks again!

    • Elizabeth says

      Hi Barb, Your comment made my day! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that you made and loved this recipe. It’s definitely a summer fave for us. Thanks!

  4. Bryan F. says

    In a cruel twist of fate, I couldn’t find figs at the grocer. I instead went a little bit more summery than perhaps intended by replacing the figs with avocados and upping the lime a bit in the dressing. I also added grilled shrimp as a protein topper. It was a big hit. Otherwise the recipe was left in tact. Can’t wait to try it as intended.


  1. […] Make a variety of easy salads with produce that is overflowing at the farmers market, and whatever fresh ingredients you might have already. These salad starters can be made beforehand, and then just tossed with greens and dressing the day of. Highlight special produce, like figs in this salad with cantaloupe. […]

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