Salads are best when the veggies are fresh — direct from the farmer’s market. But even in winter, I find myself needing a good salad every now and then. Fortunately, it’s pomegranate season so there’s no excuse for not finding something to do with this wonderful fruit. Although pomegranate juice is available year-round, the fresh fruits themselves only show up for a few short months in winter. The fruit is a pain to peel and the seeds are a challenge to remove, but if you do it in a bowl of cold water, there is less likelihood of making a big mess in the kitchen.
To make the salad extra tasty, I decided to add pomegranate juice to a vinaigrette dressing. For salad dressings, extra virgin olive oil is a must as this is the olives’ first pressing and the delicate flavor of the oil is still intact. I used lemon juice instead of vinegar for that extra citrus zest. In place of sugar, I used our favorite sweetener: agave nectar (available at health food stores like Strawberry Fields or Natural Gourmet). This super-concentrated all natural sweetener from the agave plant tastes great and may also be better for you than highly refined sweeteners like sugar.
Be sure to top the salad with freshly ground pepper just before serving. Enjoy.
(Preparation time: 15 minutes; serves 3)
• ¼ cup pecan pieces
• 1 tbsp butter (or Smart Balance)
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• juice of ½ lemon with some zest (grated lemon rind)
• 4 tbsp pomegranate juice
• 1 teasp agave nectar
• salt to taste
• 1 head Boston lettuce, hand-torn into bite-size pieces
• 1 avocado, cut into ½ inch cubes
• ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
• 2 cups pomegranate seeds
• freshly ground pepper to taste
• tangerines or clementines for garnish
- In a sauce pan, sautee pecans and butter until browned.
- In a bowl, mix pecans, olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate juice, agave nectar, salt; mix thoroughly.
- Add lettuce and toss until coated with dressing.
- Portion salad onto serving plates, top with avocado, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds.
- Top with freshly ground pepper and garnish with tangerines.