DISCLOSURE: This post is in partnership with the California Fig board. I was compensated for my time writing and developing this recipe. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This flatbread pizza pairs dried figs and caramelized onions with creamy ricotta cheese for a delicious sweet and savory meal. Perfect to serve as a Thanksgiving day appetizer.

I remember the first time I ate a fresh fig. It was in California, during a grocery store tour for a client I was working with at the time. The store clerk handed me a fig. I stared at it, wondering if I was supposed to eat the skin. Others in my group clearly had eaten figs before, because they bit right into it. That was the day I learned that the entire fruit – skin, seeds and all –  is edible.

Figs came back into my life last month. I attended a bloggers meeting and members of the California fig board were there talking all about their fruit. The first night, there was a reception with a spread of delicious food for us to munch on as we mingled. That spread included a few different varieties of fresh figs. Being from Pittsburgh, I haven’t eaten many fresh figs in my life, but I sure did load up that night.  I had never realized how many different varieties there are, and how different the flavors are between them.

Once home, I was super excited to receive a sweet care package from the California Fig Board – including a few bags of dried figs. I couldn’t wait to get cooking! Flatbread was the first meal on my  list. Aside from trying figs, we also discussed the history, the nutrition and keeping figs fresh. Before I dive into the recipe, I want to share some of that. I have a thing for making sure everyone knows where food comes from, as well as an understand of how much work goes into growing it. Figs are no different.

{If you came just for the recipe, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post and print it.}

Some Fig History

Today, 100% of dried figs and 98% of fresh figs, grown commercially in the US, come from California. California fig farmers work hard to manage the soil and trees. It’s a year round process of soil preparation, monitoring and pruning, harvesting and drying the figs for shipment.

Six different variety of fresh figs are grown in California, all with various shapes, colors, flavors and textures. There are two primary varieties that are dried and found in grocery stores – Mission Figs and Golden Figs. These are the two that came in my care package.

I was most familiar with mission figs – the variety with black, or deep purple skin and a lighter interior. Other varieties have a lighter golden colored skin and can be light pink or greenish color inside.

Selecting and Storing Figs

Fresh California figs can be found in major grocery stores between the months of May and November. When selecting fresh figs, look for ones that are plump and have a little give when you touch them. They should be soft but not mushy. They are perishable, so you should store them in the refrigerator and use them within 5-7 days. You can also freeze them in a freeze-safe container for up to six months.

The Health and Nutrition Benefits of Figs

Like other fruits, figs are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without added sugars. And, they are a great source of fiber. Just 3-5 fresh or dried figs provides 5 grams of dietary fiber, with 1.5 of those grams being the soluble type. That’s the type of fiber linked to lowering blood cholesterol and improving blood sugar control. Figs also contribute to your daily recommended intake of calcium, potassium and iron.

Their natural deep color comes from their polyphenols and flavanols – those plant compounds with strong antioxidant properties. In fact, research shows that among dried fruits, figs rank with other high antioxidant foods, such as red wine and green tea.

Ways to Incorporate Figs into Your Diet

There are endless ways to incorporate them into your diet. So, slice it, dice it or eat it whole.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Fresh or dried, you can add them into meals to add flavor and texture.
  • Slice them in half and add them to a cheese plate or Charcuterie board. They’re color and chewy texture is a great pairing to cheese.
  • Smash fresh figs and use it as sweet spread for your toast.
  • Puree figs and spread the sweet
  • Add diced figs to your favorite trail mix
  • Toss fresh figs into a salad

Those are a few ideas to get you started, but California figs has loads of recipes on their website. They also just released a new cookbook – California Figs: A Collection of Recipes For Fig Lovers – that is filled with over 60 recipes showing you how to cook with figs. You can check it out and order here.

Fig, Caramlized Onion & Ricotta Flatbread

I’ve been experimenting with a few fig flavor combinations, and this flatbread is by far my favorite. Figs pair great with caramelized onions, and I also wanted to incorporate high-quality protein into the recipe. That comes from the ricotta cheese. I also added a few cherry tomatoes. Not only do they add color & more nutrients to the flatbread,  I freaking love tomatoes!

The most time-intensive part of this recipe is the onions.  It takes about 30 minutes for them to completely caramelize, but it is very worth it. While the onions are cooking, you can get the rest of your ingredients ready. Prepare your sheet pan, slice your figs & measure your cheese. I used Stonefire mini naan flatbreads for this recipe. They are the perfect size for one mini flatbread (~45 grams.) You can also buy the larger sized ones and cut them in half.

Once your oven is preheated and the onions are caramelized, make your flatbreads. Spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese onto each naan bread, then top with a generous layer of caramelized onions, sliced figs and a few cherry tomatoes (if you want.) Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the breads, add salt, pepper and fresh thyme and bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes. That’s it. You have a delicious sweet and savory meal.

If you try this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

This flatbread pizza pairs dried figs and caramelized onions with creamy ricotta cheese for a delicious sweet and savory meal. Perfect to serve as a Thanksgiving day appetizer.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Fig, Caramelized Onion and Ricotta Flatbread

This flatbread pizza pairs dried figs and caramelized onions with creamy ricotta cheese for a delicious sweet and savory meal. Perfect to serve as a Thanksgiving day appetizer.
Calories: 260kcal

Equipment

  • Oven

Ingredients

  • 4 each individually sized Naan Flatbreads (~45 grams each)
  • 1/2 cup Lite, Ricotta Cheese
  • 8 each Dried Figs
  • 2 each onions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 each cherry tomatoes
  • 8 each sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/12 tsp salt
  • 1/12 tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees, then line a baking sheet with Parchment paper.
  • Warm oil in a medium saucepan, then add the onions. Caramelize onions by slowly cooking them over low heat, stirring every few minutes until they are deep brown. This process takes about 30 minutes.
  • While the onions are caramelizing, slice the dried figs into circular pieces. If you are adding cherry tomatoes, slice 6-8 tomatoes lengthwise. Set aside
  • Place Naan bread on the prepared baking sheet, then spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese over the breads. Next add a layer of caramelized onions. Top with figs and tomatoes then sprinkle the remaining ricotta cheese over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for ~7-8 minutes.
  • Add fresh thyme, then cut into slices and enjoy.

Notes

  • Makes 4 Fig Flatbreads.
  • Serving Size: 1 Flatbread
  • Nutrition Facts (per serving): 260 calories, 43 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein, 6 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 8% DV for calcium, 10% DV for iron, 6% DV for potassium.
  • Meal Planning Servings: 3 CHO; 1 PRO; 1 FAT

Do you like figs? What’s your favorite way to eat them?

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?  Tag @heathermangieri  on Instagram and hashtag it #HeatherMangieriNutrition to all recipes.

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