When I was in middle school, our faculty would pass out pomegranates to the students during the fall. Kids being kids, instead of eating the fruit, they would smash them on the floor, walls, and ceilings to create one giant mess. Needless to say, the faculty soon stopped giving out free fruit. Now as an adult, I wish someone would give me free fruit every month. What a treat that would be! Kids really don’t appreciate the little things. Anyways, I decided to highlight the wonderful pomegranate today in a Honeycrisp apple pomegranate salad finished with goat cheese croutons, smoky pepitas, roasted sweet potatoes, and honey pomegranate vinaigrette. If this isn’t one salad that doesn’t scream fall, I don’t know what is!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I’ve been preparing more and more vegetarian salads and to be honest, I don’t miss the meat. Salads like this Honeycrisp apple pomegranate salad that are loaded on ingredients not only taste amazing, they keep you satisfied.
Let’s start by roasting the sweet potatoes. I used an Asian sweet potato but the reddish sweet potatoes are also great for this salad. Peel, cube, and toss the sweet potatoes in oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Remove the sweet potatoes and reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
Next, make the smoky pepitas. Pepitas or pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium and just overall great for you. We’re going to season the seeds with cinnamon, chili powder, and honey to give it a nice smoky-sweet flavor and finish them in the oven.
As much as I love pomegranates, I despise preparing them. I’ve tried all the tricks in the book and the best approach I have is to separate the fruit by its membranes. When you cut into the pomegranate, you will find several sections divided by a thin white skin. By working in sections, you can easily take out the seeds. It also helps to keep the fruit in a bowl of cold water while removing the seeds so that they don’t splatter everywhere. My husband ruined one of his shirts trying to help me because the juice squirted everywhere. It’s a dangerous task.
Now for the goat cheese croutons. Okay so technically, these are panko-crusted goat cheese nuggets but same difference, right? Make the seasoned breadcrumbs by toasting them in oil with parsley, lemon zest, and garlic powder. Cut the softened goat cheese into bite-size pieces and coat them in the breadcrumbs. Much easier than frying the cheese and the cheese actually keeps its shape.
Blend together the pomegranate dressing and you’re all ready to assemble the Honeycrisp apple pomegranate salads. I always switch between salads but this one has been on rotation for quite a while and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. All in all, delicious!
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