Spinach Salad with Pomegranate and Pepitas + Pomegranate Dressing

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Never wrangled a pomegranate? No worries! Watch my pomegranate public service announcement in a how-to video. 

Between the pomegranate and the red and green color motif (the latter was unintended), this may well be the perfect holiday salad. Yet it’s simple enough for everyday eating. This variant was created for my post-Thanksgiving dinner party (photos and menu here) and can be adjusted to suit your own tastes, as always. For my recipe, you’ll start with a healthful dark leafy green like spinach and top it with pomegranate seeds, spicy-sweet toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), scallions, and a pomegranate vinaigrette.

The pomegranate is what makes this salad unique as well as seasonal. After all, pomegranates are associated with the holidays in many cultures, as I discuss in my recipe for The Diva (aka, pomegranate martini). Which you should absolutely make as soon as possible, if you’re into that kind of thing. This may well be my cocktail of choice for tonight’s holiday activities.

But I digress.

Sure, you can use a simple EVOO and vinegar with this salad, but a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette is a real treat. Here’s the how-to.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

You’ll need olive or vegetable oil, pomegranate molasses, vinegar of choice (e.g., cider is terrific, but balsamic, red wine, white wine, or whatever will work just fine), shallots or garlic, honey, and fresh thyme. You’ll use a roughly 2:1 ratio (oil to vinegar), adjusting the proportions to suit your own taste. For more help, here’s a video where I made maple dijon vinaigrette; you’ll use similar quantities while substituting the pomegranate molasses for the mustard. Note that, despite the name, pomegranate molasses is not terribly sweet, so I add a touch of honey or agave for balance. If you can’t find the molasses, you can use pomegranate juice instead, in which case you’ll want to add a touch of dijon as well as honey for body. Remember: it’s all about options.

See how much fun making homemade dressing is? It’s quick, simple, and makes your salad dance with glorious flavor. It’s healthier for you, too, as explained in the above video filmed at the Boston Local Food Festival. Also note that you could easily make this recipe into a “big salad for dinner” by adding protein (or other stuff). Examples: Thai salad with tofu and spicy peanut dressingseared scallops with baby chard and peach vinaigrette; or pan-fried trout with fennel, herbs, and citrus dressing.

Yes, salads are indeed delicious, and people don’t eat nearly as many vegetables as they should. Thus, today’s post is not only a great recipe but also a gentle reminder to keep an eye on eating healthfully during the holidays to maintain calorie balance—i.e., not gain weight—in light of all those extra holiday goodies we’re all consuming. Like, say, chocolate biscotti and eggnog. I get it, believe me; it’s a challenge for me, too.

So . . . get your salad on!

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

Or something.

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Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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