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Like many at this time of year, I wake to a new year with the pressure to make a new start, clean up my act, do things differently, rush to the gym to start a new regimen. I look around my house and think of all the things that, this year, I will improve upon.
Today I’m going to simply continue my desire to feed my family and myself good quality, flavorful, nutritious foods. We will continue to gather, celebrate and nourish our minds bodies and souls. This beautiful arugula salad with a pomegranate ginger vinaigrette is a perfect choice for celebrating the New Year and all the hope and potential it offers.
This time of year pomegranates are fresh and delicious. They add a sweet citrus crunch to salads. If you are intimidated by opening one to extract the beautiful arils of pomegranate you can purchase them already seeded. Like most things, however, fresh is usually best. If you want the full fresh sweet flavor, cut one open and pull it apart to expose the jewels inside.
The easiest way to open a pomegranate is to cut it in half. Place the halves open side down in a bowl of cold tap water big enough to put your hands into. Using your hands, break apart each half by pulling the sides of the skin away allowing the seeds to fall away from the skin. The white pith that separates the seeds will float to the top making it easy to remove, while the seeds will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Simply remove the pith then drain the water and enjoy your seeds.
Here, the peppery arugula balances with the tender buttery bib lettuce. The warm caramelized sweet potato makes this salad more substantial while the avocado’s creaminess and the zing of the ginger pomegranate dressing finish it perfectly. As with any salad you can add and subtract ingredients to your liking. Play with it to make it your own.
Arugula Salad With Caramelized Sweet Potato, Avocado and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette
For the Salad
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 sweet potatoes, sliced in 1/2-inch thick 1/2 rounds
- salt + pepper
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 6 leaves Boston bibb lettuce
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 pomegranate, arils removed
- 1 seedless cucumber, sliced
For the Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 garlic clove, freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Pre Heat oven to 425°. Place cut sweet potatoes on a sheet pan tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast until toasted on edges and fork-tender.
- Turn sweet potatoes over, add a sprinkle of brown sugar change oven to broil and cook until edges are caramelized.
- Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add the walnuts. Toast until they are slightly golden and fragrant, stirring and shaking the pan as they toast, for about 5 minutes.
- Add the arugula and lettuce to a large bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the avocado, pomegranate arils, cucumber, walnuts and squash pieces.
- Drizzle with the pomegranate dressing.