Salads are generally associated with hot summer days, and this isn’t without good reason. By definition, salads are full of any combination of vegetables (and fruit), are covered with a dressing, and are cold. Just because they are cold, though, doesn’t mean they can’t also be appropriate during any season.
Salads are an excellent way to incorporate a lot of seasonal goodness into the diet. They’re also pretty familiar as a component of meals, so palates and taste buds are more welcoming of them year-round.
This salad makes use of pomegranate arils, which lend the perfect amount of sweet, tart, and crunch. It can easily become a full meal with the addition of a lean protein on top. Tuna, roasted chicken breast, beef tenderloin, or chickpeas are all tasty options for making a well-balanced meal.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes prep time (if you are removing the arils from the pomegranate; less time if you purchase arils separated from the pomegranate "apple"), 0 minutes cook time
Serves: 8 (plus leftover dressing)
Salad 10 oz baby arugula or your favorite greens (about 12 cups, moderately packed) 1 shallot, thinly sliced 1 pomegranate (or 1 1/2-2 cups of arils) 1/2 cup raw, unsalted walnuts or your favorite nut
Dressing 1 clove garlic, minced 1 small shallot, minced 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 1 t Dijon mustard 3 t honey 1/4 t salt 1/4 t black pepper 3/4 cup + 2 T extra virgin olive oil
Directions: Rinse greens, and pat gently (or use a salad spinner) to dry. Place in a large serving bowl. Spread shallot, pomegranate, and nuts evenly over greens.
For the dressing, add garlic, shallot, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slowly add olive oil while continuing to whisk vigorously. This will help to emulsify the dressing, though it will likely still separate upon sitting.
Drizzle about half of dressing (~3/4 cup) over salad, toss, and serve. Or, salad can be tossed prior to dressing and divided into individual servings, with 2 tablespoons dressing drizzled over each.
Leftover dressing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It will solidify slightly when refrigerated, but running cool (not hot) water over it or allowing it to sit out at room temperature will bring it back to a liquid state.
Notes: Shallots are found in the produce department of the grocery store, near garlic and onions.
To save time during salad assembly, pomegranate seeds/arils can be removed ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until time to use. Or you may purchase arils previously removed from the whole pomegranate.
For the dressing, make sure to use a real balsamic vinegar—one that lists ‘grape musk’ as an ingredient, as opposed to a “fake” balsamic that is just vinegar with some added caramel color.
Variations If dairy is tolerated, a few fresh parmesan cheese shavings can be served atop salad as a garnish.
Walnuts or other nuts can be toasted to add an extra dimension of flavor. To toast, place nuts in a skillet over medium heat. Stir or shake continuously until nuts become golden brown and aromatic, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat immediately.
Benefits: If you use arugula, it is a cruciferous vegetable (just like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage) and excellent for hormone health. It’s also chock-full of nutrients, particularly calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C, and it’s lower in oxalates than most dark and leafy greens, which means that calcium absorption is more supported. Phytonutrients are abundant in this dish, with pomegranate bringing flavonoids and arugula bringing chlorophyll and beta-carotene—just to name a few. Pomegranate arils are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
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