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Fig and Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette

July 16, 2012

There’s something you should know: I get obsessed quite easily.

(I’m aware that “obsessed” is a bit hyperbolic; that’s never stopped me.)

I’ve been obsessed with grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, obsessed with Japanese flashcard-studying, obsessed with yoga (level 1 forever!), and recently obsessed with pickles (more pickle posts coming soon!).

Certain products have hooked me, too. I’m a recovering Sriracha addict (but my girlfriend will always be true to Tapatio), I’ve mentioned my love for Tomolives before, and if you bring me back a bag of apple chips from the store called Muji (Mujirushi) in Japan then I might just love you forever.

Over the past year, my girlfriend and I have become obsessed with Lucini’s Fig & Walnut Savory Balsamic, a self-proclaimed “Artisan Vinaigrette.”

It’s so so good. But I will never buy it again.

Walnut Oil!

Don’t get me wrong; this product is all natural, delicious, and probably one of the best bottled salad dressings I’ve tasted. But the problem with items that have “Artisan” in their titles is the crazy price mark-up.*

Lucini brand salad dressing is sometimes ON SALE for $7.99 a bottle. And at 8.5 oz., that’s not a very big bottle either.

So today I’m sharing my do-it-yourself (=budget) fig & walnut salad dressing, inspired by the Lucini one.

A double batch.

It’s delightfully tangy and tasty, with a little hit of garlic and pepper smoothed over by the fruity sweetness of figs and the toasty warmth of walnuts.

After spending $7.99 who knows how many times, I finally made this dressing my own! And these are my secret weapons: Walnut Oil (from the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market), and Fig Butter (thank you, Trader Joe’s).

So my version’s not quite as all-natural as Lucini’s, but only because in lieu of fig concentrate or fig paste, I used the already-in-my-fridge Fig Butter. One whole tablespoon of: “figs, water, sugar, lemon juice concentrate, pectin.” I can live with that.

The best part is how well it pairs with my type of salad. I celebrated my discovery of the perfect vinaigrette dressing ratios by drizzling it over this salad of mixed greens, white peaches, and shaved almonds.

Kitchen D.I.Y. money-saving tastes good.

*The same goes for restaurants with “Bistro” in their titles. (It’s true!)

Print this recipe.


Fig and Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette

(Makes about ½ cup)

~ ¼ cup olive oil
~ 6-7 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
~ 1 tsp. walnut oil (or roasted walnut oil)
~ 1 Tbsp. fig butter (or fig concentrate/paste)
~ 2 Tbsp. water
~ 1-2 small cloves garlic, pressed
~ sea salt, to taste
~ black pepper, to taste
~ 1-2 Tbsp. canola oil (not necessary, but it’ll need more shaking after being stored in the fridge without it)

How to make it:

1. Whisk all ingredients together. Taste test, and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

2. Funnel into a glass salad dressing bottle or jar, and refrigerate.

3. Serve on salads, or use as a marinade, or as a dipping sauce for artichokes or fresh-baked bread.

Print this recipe!

Related recipe posts:
> Strawberry Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese
> Grilled Apricots with Arugula and Burrata
> Warm Goat Cheese Salad

37 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 9:04 am

    It sounds wonderful. I’m going to have to pick up some fig butter next time I’m at TJ’s.

    • July 16, 2012 9:46 am

      Thanks! Yeah, I had some fig butter at home already, since I bought it to use with baked brie a while back. It’s pretty tasty on its own, or worth buying just to make this salad dressing. :)

  2. July 16, 2012 1:20 pm

    This vinegarette sounds absolutely gorgeous and flavoursome :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    July 17, 2012 12:48 am

    Oh wow, thank you for making this salad. Now you got me all curious and would love to try this. I have to find walnut oil first. I didn’t know TJ has fig butter (sounds yum!). I’d be totally happy with budget-friendly homemade recipe. Doesn’t need “artisan”. :-)

    I’ve never tried Muji’s apple chips. I think there’re stores in the US right? Forgot where it was… or wait, I might confused with UNIQLO. Sorry. I should give it a try next time I get home (and can send you some!).

    • July 17, 2012 1:34 pm

      Wow, that is so nice of you! I’d love that, although it might be just an impossible dream, since the chips are pretty fragile and crumbly… The next time you’re in Japan, you should definitely give them a try though! :)

      And I think there might be both a Muji and a Uniqlo in NYC (not sure about in California) but sometimes Mujis in other cities don’t have all of their products (I’ve even been to Muji in Seoul and Taipei in search of their apple chips, but they didn’t have any).

      TJ’s has several kinds of fruit butter, including fig and mango. I already bought the mango butter, too, but haven’t opened it yet, because there are already too many kinds of jam going on in my fridge…

  4. littlefashionistas permalink
    July 17, 2012 6:59 am

    Mmmm…I’ll try it, it looks delicious!!! Thanks for sharing ;-)

  5. July 17, 2012 7:16 am

    This sounds really delicious and interesting. My family has a fig tree in our front yard but we never use them. Glad to have a new recipe using them. Just bookmarked…thanks for sharing!

    • July 17, 2012 1:36 pm

      Wow, you’re lucky to have a fig tree! (Actually my landlords have one also, and have offered to let me have some, but it’s a small tree and I always feel bad taking too many.) If I were you, I would just eat them raw! (Or slice them and bake them onto a tart…)

  6. July 17, 2012 2:13 pm

    Looks / sounds great… can we make our own fig butter? Do you have a recipe? Thx

    • July 18, 2012 10:27 am

      I don’t have a recipe for fig butter, but my copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving has a recipe for Fig Jam… It calls for 5 pounds figs, 6 cups sugar, 3/4 cup water, and 1/4 cup lemon juice, and yields about 5 pints. I’d have to scale that back a little, or wait until fig season is really in full swing in Santa Barbara before trying it out.

      • July 19, 2012 7:01 am

        Thanks! We will give this a try when our figs come in later this summer…

      • July 19, 2012 8:45 am

        No problem! Let me know if you want more recipe details than that! (Or you could probably find a version on the Ball canning website, too…)

  7. July 18, 2012 1:04 am

    I found a new salad to make! This looks wonderful!

  8. July 18, 2012 10:42 pm

    I have fig butter, I have walnut oil, I have balsamic, and now I will have to make this dressing.

    • July 19, 2012 8:46 am

      Awesome! I had the same moment of elation, realizing that all of these things were already in my house! That’s the best feeling, once the cooking inspiration has struck.

  9. July 22, 2012 6:54 am

    I never thought to combine balsamic and fig before, but I’m digging the sound of that sweet and savory pairing! Glad you created a cost-effective and equally delicious homemade version, because no matter how good that dressing is, almost $1 per ounce is insane!

    • July 22, 2012 1:50 pm

      Oh man, I thought that salad dressing was expensive before, but from that perspective, the price really is insane, isn’t it… And yeah, it’s a pretty awesome sweet and savory pairing that I might never have thought of on my own. I think the homemade version is even better than the original, though, because you can tailor it exactly to your own taste!

  10. July 26, 2012 5:42 pm

    YUM!!! Great pictures as well!

  11. August 23, 2012 12:58 am

    This sounds delish! I’ll have to improvise a bit because we don’t have fig butter (or paste) in Greece, but we have plenty of figs especially at this time of year! By the way, next time I’m in the US, nevermind the sight seeing, I’m heading straight for Trader Joe’s!!!

    • August 23, 2012 8:27 am

      You’re lucky to have plenty of figs! That’s better than fig butter anyway, since I’m sure you could make your own… (I actually just made my own fig jam– I’ll post the recipe soon!– which I was hoping I could use instead of the TJ’s fig butter in this salad dressing recipe, but I ended up leaving too many whole pieces of figs in it, and making it too sweet for that. Maybe with a tad more lemon juice and a food processor, I could have made fig butter!)

      • August 23, 2012 12:41 pm

        Ooh you’ve just reminded me that I have an unopened tiny jar of homemade fig jam somewhere in the fridge – given to me by a friend. I look forward to your recipe so I can make some more!

  12. Jennifer permalink
    September 13, 2013 4:59 am

    I just found this recipe today and all I can say is THANK YOU! I found Lucini’s dressing on clearance a our local store a few times and discovered it makes a really great stir-fry sauce for fresh green beans. It’s one of the very few ways that my teenage son will even touch a green bean without gagging. Sadly, I can’t get the dressing here anymore (we live in a fairly small town.) I have some figs in the freezer and walnut oil in the pantry. Making this dressing this weekend!

    • September 16, 2013 8:05 pm

      You’re so very welcome! I was happy to get a comment like yours; I hope you and your son enjoy this version of the salad dressing. :)

      And yum… it does sound good as a stir-fry sauce for green beans, especially because the ingredients aren’t actually so different from how we often make green beans at my house– pan-fry in olive oil & garlic, then finish with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper; it’s only missing the fig and walnut flavors! I should totally try using my homemade dressing as a green bean shortcut sometime. Thanks for the idea!

      • Jennifer permalink
        September 17, 2013 8:08 am

        The family loved the dressing. When I stir-fried, I added just a little soy sauce and teriyaki sauce to the dressing. Maybe 2TB each to 3/4C dressing. Makes enough to stir-fry about a pound or so of beans. This got rave reviews from my kids and in-laws alike. Thanks again!

      • September 18, 2013 11:01 am

        Nice! I will definitely have to try that! Thanks for following up. :)


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