I’ve said before that whenever we go to our friends’ Dave and Kylie’s for dinner, we bring a salad (or when they come over, they bring the salad). This was my most recent creation for dinner at Dave and Kylie’s.
I have to admit, I am kind of a salad freak. I love them, and I eat a salad every day for lunch. Don’t I get tired of it? No, in fact I find the vegetables very refreshing, and if I eat anything else for lunch, I kind of feel like garbage in the afternoon. I think my body is just used to it. Anyway, I really enjoyed this particular salad, with the sweetness of the fruits, the pop of the pomegranates, and the crunch of the almonds. If I wasn’t pregnant, I would have topped it with feta, but as it is I used sharp white cheddar. This would be awesome as a main course topped with some grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp (if that’s your thing). Besides being delicious, this is obviously very healthy. It won’t wreck your New Year’s resolution, if you made one.
Confession time: this was my first time using a pomegranate. I guess I have always been intimidated by them. Really, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought. I went with the underwater method I learned by watching Rachael Ray (thwack the pomegranate with the back of a wooden spoon a couple of times, cut it in half, submerge it in a large bowl of water, and scrape out the seeds with your fingers). This worked really well and the seeds came out easily. The only thing is that some of the white pithy material came out too, and I think I made a misstep by pouring everything through a colander. Then, the seeds and the pith were mixed together and I had to sort through them which was a pain. Next time, I’ll just pull the seeds out of the water, which will be easier because they sink and the pith floats. Or maybe I’ll scrape the pith out and then strain the seeds.
As with most of the recipes I share, you can customize this. Use whatever kind of apple you like. I used Fuji for sweetness, but if you want something tart, go with a Granny Smith. Pick your favorite type of pear. Switch up the nuts and use walnuts, pecans, or pistachios. We’ve already talked a little about the feta/white cheddar cheese situation, but maybe you want to use bleu cheese. And as always with salads, these amounts are approximations. The salad I made was big enough for probably 8 people, so keep that in mind. Just make as much as you need.
For the dressing, I made a homemade vinaigrette, which I really like to do because I can control the quality of ingredients. I just happened to have pomegranate red wine vinegar and pear balsamic vinegar. I don’t expect you to go out and buy specialty vinegars just for this, so obviously feel free to use regular red wine vinegar and regular balsamic…or whatever else you have that sounds good to you. If you happen to have a bottled salad dressing that you’re fond of, go ahead and use it. I won’t judge.
Winter Chopped Salad with Pear, Apple, and Pomegranate
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 4 cups of baby spinach
- 1 Fuji apple
- 1 Asian pear
- 1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds
- 1/3 cup of chopped whole roasted almonds (I used unsalted), roughly chopped
- 1/4 of a small head of red cabbage, shredded
- 3-4 scallions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of cheese (feta, bleu, or shredded white cheddar)
- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
For the dressing:
- 3 Tablespoons pomegranate red wine vinegar
- 1-2 Tablespoons pear balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup canola oil (or extra virgin olive oil – I use canola so I can refrigerate it)
- about 2 Tablespoons of honey, more or less to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop pear and apple in bite sized pieces. Treat each with a Tablespoon of lemon juice to keep from browning. Toss the romaine, pear, apple, pomegranate, red cabbage and green onions together. When ready to serve, add cheese and nuts.
For the dressing, whisk or shake all ingredients well. Taste and adjust flavors if needed. You can store extra dressing in the fridge for several weeks, but remember, if you use olive oil, it will solidify in the fridge. That’s why I use canola in salad dressings.
Top salad with dressing when ready to serve.