Powerful Pomegranate Spinach Salad with Turmeric Vinaigrette

‘Tis the season…for pomegranates! You may have noticed these round, deep red fruits in the produce department and wondered, “what the heck is that?” or, “What do I do with that?” Unlike most fruit, the seeds are actually the edible part of a pomegranate. While they may be unfamiliar to you, pomegranates actually date back thousands of years, often appearing as a symbol of fertility in multiple religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This is likely due to their phytoestrogenic properties (phyto=plants, estrogenic=relating to, or acting like estrogen), so pomegranates may also be helpful in reducing the symptoms and effects of menopause like hot flashes, depression, and bone loss.

Pomegranates also contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties (greater than green tea or red wine) that may be beneficial in preventing:

  • Heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.

  • Cancer – studies have shown that pomegranate extract inhibits the growth of cancer cells in cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, skin, and liver.

  • Osteoporosis and joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Pomegranates are also a great source of fiber, which can be helpful for weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and digestive health. Note that you want to eat the whole seeds in this case, as juicing removes much of the fiber, which is true of any fruit or vegetable.

You can buy pomegranate seeds that have already been removed from the fruit, but it’s more cost-effective and easy to do it yourself. There are a couple of ways to extract the seeds from a pomegranate, but my favorite way, and the way that maintains the most nutrition, is:

  • Roll the whole fruit on the kitchen counter to loosen the seeds inside

  • Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally (not through the stem)

  • Hold a pomegranate half in your hand, seed-side facing down over a bowl. Take a heavy spoon in your other hand and whack the top of the pomegranate so that the seeds fall out into the bowl.

You can add the seeds to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, cooked dishes, or eat them on their own as a snack. Pomegranate season runs from October through January or February and you want to look for fruit with a deep red color. An uncut pomegranate should last about 3 weeks in the refrigerator and the seeds will last about 3 days if refrigerated.

Here’s an easy way for you to give pomegranates a try. This beautiful salad is paired with a turmeric vinaigrette for a powerful anti-inflammatory punch.

Pomegranate Spinach Salad with Turmeric Vinaigrette

4 servings

Vinaigrette: Adapted from:

  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

  • 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh dill weed

  • 2 teaspoons of honey

  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar

  • 1/4 cup extra light/ extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in a glass jar or shaker bottle with a tight fitting lid. Shake well! Should keep for at least a week in your refrigerator, possibly less if using fresh herbs. Note: For a creamy dressing, you can put all of the ingredients in a blender and add ¼ to ½ an avocado and blend well.

Salad (courtesy of Nasha Snipes):

  • 6 cups (about 5 ounces) spinach leaves, washed and dried

  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)

  • ⅓ cup crumbled goat or feta cheese

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Top the spinach leaves with pomegranate seeds, goat cheese and walnuts, and toss with the turmeric vinaigrette.

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