Have you ever tried a pomegranate seed salad? Once I read Pomegranate: Powerful Protection For The Diabetic Heart from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz, I knew I wanted to incorporate pomegranates into my diet and I thought a salad would be an easy way to start.
Techniques for Extracting Pomegranate Seeds
If you’ve never worked with a fresh pomegranate before, you should know that you only eat the seeds, not the light-colored membrane connecting the seeds. There are two basic techniques I’ve discovered for extracting the seeds and both work equally well. It’s just a matter of whether you need to relieve stress by whacking on a pomegranate or not.
- Fill a large bowl about halfway with water. Cut the pomegranate into quarters and work on on quarter at a time. As you pop out the seeds, let them fall into the bowl. If any of the membrane gets into the bowl, it will float to the top and will be easy to discard (the seeds will sink to the bottom). Dry the seeds on paper towels.
- Slice the pomegranate in half crosswise and hold it cut side down over a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to whack the pomegranate half until all of the seeds pop out.
Making the Pomegranate Seed Salad
This salad features spinach, squash, and a sweet maple vinaigrette to offset the tartness of the pomegranate.
I found the cutest little winter squash at the farmers’ market with color of a butternut squash, but shaped like a pumpkin. It tastes a lot like a butternut, but its texture is a bit stringier. It’s also a lot easier to cut than a butternut. The farmer told me what it was called, but I didn’t write it down because I just knew I would remember. Guess what?
Make It Ahead: Roast the squash, extract the pomegranate seeds and make the vinaigrette ahead of time. Refrigerate all three. The squash will be best if eaten within 24 hours.
This Roasted Squash and Pomegranate Seed Salad would look beautiful on your holiday table.
Roasted Squash and Pomegranate Seed Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
- 1 acorn squash or any other round winter squash of a similar size, halved top to bottom and seeded (about 1-1/4 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup preferably Grade B
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons coarse grainy mustard or Homemade White Wine Mustard
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut each squash half lengthwise into 6 wedges. Arrange squash wedges cut side down on baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, flip squash over, then roast another 10 minutes or until tender. Remove pan from oven and let squash cool on pan.
In screw-top jar, mix maple syrup, vinegar, oil and mustard. Shake until well-combined. Toss a little bit of the dressing with the spinach in a large bowl (you won’t use all of the dressing). Divide spinach among 4 serving plates and top with squash wedges and pomegranate seeds. Season to taste with pepper.
Make-ahead tip: Roast the squash, extract the pomegranate seeds, and make the vinaigrette ahead of time. Refrigerate all three. The squash will be best if eaten within 24 hours.