In the summer, there are SO many ingredient options for salad. It seems like everything is in season, and you just throw them all together to make a salad. In the winter, it’s slim pickings for in-season salad ingredients. However, those pickings happen to include oranges and pomegranates—two of the stars of this Pomegranate and Toasted Walnut Salad with Orange Vinaigrette!
One of the redeeming qualities of winter is the amazing citrus fruit. I’m a particular fan of grapefruit. Navel oranges and clementines are high on my list, too. The fruit itself is so sweet in the winter, and I love adding citrus zest to recipes to brighten them up.
For this salad, I used the juice of an orange and some orange zest to create a citrus-packed salad dressing. It’s made completely in the blender, so it takes just a few minutes to make. There’s the typical vinaigrette ingredients (red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon), plus the addition of a shallot, orange juice, and orange zest. The shallot adds a nice savory flavor, and the zest makes the citrus flavor pop.
I topped the salad with another in-season ingredient: pomegranate. I love the sour, cherry-like flavor of the arils (the technical name for the seeds). They pair really nicely with the orange vinaigrette, and also with the other topping: toasted walnuts.
Plain walnuts are great, but toasted walnuts? Toasted walnuts are so much better. I sauté them in a dry pan for 3–4 minutes until they smell fragrant and nutty. The microwave works well for toasting, too. You can microwave them in 20–30 second increments until the nuts are toasted.
For the greens, I chose a mixture of arugula and mixed greens. I think the combination of the bitter greens with more mild, tender lettuce creates a more interesting salad.
I served the Pomegranate and Toasted Walnut Salad at a dinner party alongside my Detox Vegetable Turkey Soup and Easy Garlic Bread. The dinnerware is courtesy of Q Squared. They create beautiful, shatter-resistant dishes that mimic pottery, ceramic and porcelain. When I first saw these plates (from their Potter collection), I thought for sure they were pottery! But they’re made of a mixture of melamine and bamboo. In addition to being shatter-resistant, they’re heat-resistant and about one-third the weight of ceramic dishes. Here’s more of their gorgeous dinnerware collections!
Pomegranate and Toasted Walnut Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup fresh orange juice from about one orange
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 1 small shallot
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- 5 oz baby arugula
- 5 oz mixed greens
- Place the orange juice, orange zest, shallot, olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, and kosher salt in a blender. Blend on high until the mixture looks creamy and the shallot is incorporated, about 20 seconds.
- Place the walnuts in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the walnuts are fragrant and toasted, about 3–4 minutes. Watch carefully so that they do not burn.
- Place the arugula and mixed greens in a large bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the top and toss gently with salad tongs or clean hands. Taste and add more dressing if desired.
- Transfer the greens to a large platter. Top with the walnuts and pomegranate arils. Season lightly with additional kosher salt, and serve immediately.