6 Seasonal Salads and Sides Bringing Juicy Pomegranate to the Table

Ruby-red pomegranate is one of the winter season’s finest delicacies. The fruit’s boldly flavored seeds — or “arils” — are bursting with juicy goodness in each satisfying bite, and are used to accent dishes both savory and sweet. Pomegranate is a particularly popular accoutrement in seasonal salads and side dishes, a lusciously complementary flavor to cheeses, veggies, nuts, lentils, and more.

Serve any of these 6 salads and sides this season to take advantage of what pomegranate has to offer.

Salad, pomegranate, cheese, nuts

Source: iStock

1. Radicchio, Pear, and Gorgonzola Salad With Pomegranate and Walnuts

For a truly standout salad this season, we recommend you try Blogging Over Thyme’s Radicchio, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad With Pomegranate and Walnuts. Bitter radicchio is offset by sweet seasonal pears and a fig vinaigrette, and gorgonzola cheese lends a creamy aspect to the dish. Pomegranate and crunchy walnuts top off this exceptionally textured salad — perfect to serve as a starter, side, or the main course itself. The recipe takes 15 minutes to make and yields 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar (or high-quality balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons toasted walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 1 head of radicchio
  • 2½ ounces mixed baby greens
  • 2 Bosc pears, cored, quartered, and sliced into ½-inch chunks
  • ¾ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • 3 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Slowly pour in the walnut oil, followed by the olive oil, whisking continuously with your other hand, until the mixture is emulsified. Smash the garlic clove with a side of a knife and add it to the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Slice the radicchio in half, remove the core, and slice the radicchio perpendicularly into ¾-inch thick ribbons. Combine the radicchio and mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Add the pear chunks, walnuts, and pomegranate arils. Slowly add the vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens, and gently toss the salad. Top the salad with the crumbled gorgonzola cheese and serve immediately.

Pomegranate

Source: iStock

2. Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pepitas and Pomegranate Seeds

Cara’s Cravings offers Brussels sprouts like you’ve never had them before with this zesty maple-mustard treatment. Each bite of these Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pepitas and Pomegranate Seeds is accented with zesty ground mustard, delicately balanced by the addition of maple syrup to the dish. Light seasonings bring all of the flavors together, while tart pomegranate seeds lend an exceptional “sparkling” effect to the dish’s appearance.

Ingredients:

Pepitas:

  • ½ cup shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • generous sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds trimmed Brussels sprouts (trim the bases and peel away the outer, darkest leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds

Directions: Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate. Place the pepitas and maple syrup in a nonstick skillet and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Spoon the pepitas onto the parchment in a single layer and allow to cool. When cool and crisp, break into small pieces.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Using the slicing attachment on a food processor, slice the Brussels sprouts. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the Brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until browned in spots. Add dressing and toss to coat. Toss in candied pepitas and pomegranate seeds. Adjust seasonings to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm.

Rinsing Quinoa

Source: iStock

3. Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Quinoa

Mild, heart-healthy quinoa is a refreshing change from the butter-loaded dishes that typically populate our holiday tables. This tangy seasonal dish from Cupcakes and Kale Chips combines a quinoa base with light seasonings, butternut squash, and juicy pomegranate seeds, culminating in a distinctive and exceptional taste. Sprinkle a bit of goat cheese over this Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Quinoa for a full appreciation of its sweet and savory complexity.

Ingredients:

For the butternut squash:

  • 2 cups butternut squash, in approx. ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the quinoa:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock/broth
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: ¼ to ½ cup crumbled goat cheese

DirectionsFor the butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray.

Toss the squash with the olive oil and salt, and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until tender, tossing after 10 minutes.

For the quinoa: While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa according to the package directions, substituting stock/broth for water
In a bowl, combine the squash, quinoa, and remaining ingredients. If desired, serve with goat cheese sprinkled on top.

Pomegranate Kale Salad, pears

Source: iStock

4. Crispy Kale Salad with Pomegranate

How Sweet It Is’ recipe for Crispy Kale Salad with Pomegranate balances spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg with sweet potato, apple, and other flavors for what will likely be the most unique dish on your table this season. Roasting your kale will mellow out the leafy green’s flavor, while topping it all off with pomegranate and pine nuts will add a final dash of elegance to the holiday-appropriate salad. This recipe takes 35 minutes to make and yields 2 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of kale, torn from stems and torn into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh apple cider
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.. Place kale in a large bowl and massage olive oil, apple cider, ⅛ teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper into for 1 to 2 minutes. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes. Toss well and roast for 5 to 10 minutes more, until slightly crispy but not golden.

While kale is roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered (about 2 minutes), then remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Add the shallot, garlic, sweet potatoes and apples to the skillet, tossing with remaining salt and cinnamon. You want the sweet potato and apple finely diced, about the same size as the bacon bits and only slightly larger than the pom arils and pine nuts. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.

In a small saucepan, add pine nuts and toast over low heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside.

Combine kale with apples and sweet potatoes, pine nuts, goat cheese and pom arils. Serve.

Eggplant with pomegranate and cumin

Source: iStock

5. Roasted Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce and Pomegranate

For a warm, hearty side dish to add to the dinner table this season, try whipping up this Roasted Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce and Pomegranate from Autumn Makes and Does. The dish capitalizes on fall and winter flavors with the crunchy scarlet pomegranate seeds and a beautifully caramelized kabocha squash. Tahini dressing ties these disparate flavors together into one phenomenally flavor-packed dish. This recipe takes about 40 minutes to make and yields 4 servings as a side dish.

Ingredients:

For the roasted squash:

  • 1 small (about 2-pound) kabocha squash cut into moons that are about 1 inch thick at the thickest point
  • 2 tablespoons solid coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the tahini sauce:

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

To assemble:

  • ¾ cup pomegranate arils, about ½ a small pomegranate

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the squash wedges on a large parchment lined baking sheet.

Using your hands, massage the coconut oil into the squash wedges. The heat of your hands will help make the oil liquid enough to evenly coat the squash on both sides. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, or until brown on the bottom and just beginning to brown on the top.

While the squash is baking, whisk together the tahini, warm water, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside. To assemble, arrange the roasted squash wedges on a small platter, drizzle with tahini sauce, and sprinkle with pomegranate arils.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

6. Pomegranate-Pistachio Couscous

Couscous is a wonderful departure from the typical side dishes of the season. Veggieful’s Pomegranate-Pistachio Couscous offers a bounty of fresh flavors, with juicy bits of pomegranate and chopped pistachios, which add delightful texture to the dish. The dressing offers a unique blend of tastes to the side dish, with notes of tangy lemon juice and dijon mustard to lend the dish a zestful flare. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups dried couscous
  • 1¼ cups boiling water or veggie stock
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • ½ cup roughly chopped pistachios
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion (optional)
  • parsley leaves to garnish

Dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup tightly packed parsley leaves

Directions: Add the couscous, salt and pepper and boiling water to a bowl and stir until combined. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so until all of the water has been absorbed. Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add the pomegranate seeds, pistachios, pine nuts, parsley and red onion to the bowl with the couscous. Toss to combine. Set aside.

Add all dressing ingredients to a processor and pulse until combined. Pour the dressing evenly into the bowl and carefully toss until combined.

Garnish with extra parsley leaves and serve immediately.

More from Life Cheat Sheet: