If you’re looking for a festive salad this winter, then this pomegranate salad is for you! Packed with pomegranate seeds, candied pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, apples, cooked quinoa, and a pomegranate salad dressing, this salad is healthy, festive, and delicious!
When pomegranates are in season, then this recipe comes out! I’m a sucker for a fancy salad recipe. Long over are the days when just a bag of lettuce with dressing would suffice. When you finally discover the great flavor combinations you can have with salads, there’s really never going back.
And don’t get me started on how well pomegranate and Gorgonzola cheese go together! Let’s just say, it’s a breakthrough in the flavor combination arena.
Whether you want a fancy fall salad or a fancy holiday side, this salad is the ticket! The pomegranate salad dressing is the perfect balance of sweet and salty to pair well with, well, really just the best salad topping combinations out there — except, perhaps, in my strawberry spinach salad.
- Mixed salad greens — You can also use baby spinach to make it a pomegranate spinach salad
- Pomegranate arils — aka pomegranate seeds.
- Pecans — Toasted or candied pecans
- Gorgonzola cheese — Crumbled (pro tip: if you’re looking to spice up a salad recipe, add a delicious cheese 😊)
- Apples — thinly sliced
- Cooked quinoa — I love adding cooked quinoa to salads as it adds not only a healthy component but added protein so the salad is more filling!
- Pomegranate juice — Pomegranate juice is super healthy for you!
- Honey — Adding a little sweetness to salad dressings is key. Using honey instead of sugar is a way healthier option.
- Lemon juice — Pairing acidic ingredients with olive oil gives us that classic salad dressing flavor and mixture.
- Balsamic vinegar — I like the balsamic vinegar of Modena
- Dijon mustard — Dijon mustard is different than honey mustard, so stick to dijon
- Salt — A little salt gives us a great balance of the sweet and salty for the perfect salad dressing!
- Olive oil — The building block of salad dressings
How to Make Pomegranate Salad Dressing
- In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk the pomegranate juice, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, and Dijon mustard and salt.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil. Whisk vigorously until emulsified and combined.
- Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. Before serving, give the dressing a good stir!
The salad dressing makes 1 ½ cups’ worth of salad dressing.
How to Assemble Your Pomegranate Salad
- To a large bowl add the spinach.
- Drizzle some salad dressing overtop and toss to coat. (Use as much or as little as you like).
- Top with pomegranate arils, pecans, gorgonzola cheese, and apples.
- Serve immediately. (Salad doesn’t keep well once you have added the salad dressing).
You can switch out the apples for pears if you prefer.
If you won’t be eating the salad right away, don’t add the salad dressing to the salad. You can put the toppings on and store it in the fridge and then add the salad dressing once served. Or you can store the toppings in separate containers in the fridge and assemble the salad prior to serving.
You won’t use all the dressing. You’ll have leftovers. But for the salad portion, you can have 4 servings if each person gets 2 cups of salad greens.
If you don’t like/want to use Gorgonzola cheese, you don’t have to. You can add any cheese variety that you like. I’m quite fond of the softer cheeses such as bleu, goat cheese, and feta.
If you don’t want to make your own candied pecans, grocery stores carry pre-made candied pecans or “praline candied pecans”.
What are pomegranate arils?
These are the pomegranate seeds inside the skin of the pomegranates. They are seeds with little pockets of pomegranate juice/flesh surrounding it.
How to deseed a pomegranate
This can be tricky. But here’s the best and easiest way to peel or deseed a pomegranate. Over a bowl (to catch any falling seeds or juice), cut the top off of the pomegranate, not cutting too into the fruit so as to not cut into the seeds. You’ll see white ribbing showing sections of the seeds. Cut down the sides of the pomegranate skin along the white ribbing, not cutting into the seeds and not cutting all the way down. Fan out the sections of the pomegranate like a flower opening its petals. Remove any of the white ribbing covering the pomegranate seeds. Flip the pomegranate over with the seeds face down over the bowl. Fan out the sections so the pomegranate looks like a star. Using the back of a wooden spoon, hit the pomegranate one section at a time, allowing the seeds to fall into the bowl. Do this for each section. When done, flip the pomegranate skid over and hand pick the remaining stray pomegranates left.
More Salad Recipes
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- 8 cups mixed salad greens - can also use baby spinach, basically whatever greens you like!
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 cup pecans - candied pecans or toasted (I used Costco's "praline pecans" and those are delicious in this salad)
- 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese - crumbled
- 2 small apples - thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- In a large liquid measuring cup whisk the pomegranate juice, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, and Dijon mustard and salt. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil in. Whisk vigorously until emulsified and combined. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. Before serving, give the dressing a good stir!
- To a large bowl add the salad greens (note: you can make this in individual portions too! Have all of the ingredients out on the table and let people make their own salad).
- Drizzle some salad dressing overtop and toss to coat. (Use as much or as little as you like). Top with pomegranate arils, pecans, gorgonzola cheese, quinoa, and apples. Serve immediately. (Salad doesn’t keep well once you have added the salad dressing).