Until this weekend, pomegranates were pretty foreign to me – I’ve had plenty of pomegranate flavored teas and yogurts, but never actually prepared the arils for myself! I picked up a few from the store and I will admit, found a video on YouTube explaining how to open and seed the juicy, red fruit. After learning the proper technique I dove right in! It may seem like a tedious process but it was actually pretty quick and simple. I learned afterwards that I should have worn an apron – my shirt was covered with speckles of red juice, oops!
I got about 2 cups of arils from 1 pomegranate. Now that I had the arils it was time for figure out what to do with them! I decided to make a salad with butternut squash, pomegranate, spinach, and Israeli couscous . I found the recipe on the POM Wonderful website, but made a few changes in order to avoid another trip to the store. Here’s the recipe:
Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate, Spinach, and Israeli Couscous Salad
- 1/2 cup arils
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil blend
- 1/2 cup arils
- 1 cup Israeli couscous, cooked according to package directions
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
For the vinaigrette – Prepare fresh pomegranate arils if necessary. Place the garlic and salt in a bowl and smash into a paste with a spoon. Add 1/2 cup of arils to the bowl and gently crush (watch out for juice splatter!). Transfer garlic, salt, and pomegranate mixture to a large bowl and add the apple cider vinegar and black pepper. Stir to combine. Slowly drizzle oil into the mixture while whisking to form the vinaigrette.
For the salad – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash with olive oil and spread out evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside. Heat a medium skillet with vegetable oil over high heat. Add the Israeli couscous, spinach and butternut squash. Saute for a few minutes until the spinach is wilted and the mixture is warm. Transfer the couscous mixture to the vinaigrette bowl and gently toss so that the vinaigrette is well distributed. Top with the feta cheese and remaining 1/2 cup of arils. ENJOY!
Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate, Spinach, and Israeli Couscous Salad: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! This salad is both pretty AND delicious! The bright colors from the squash, spinach, and pomegranate look beautiful together. The vinaigrette is sweet and tangy and would taste great on it’s own in a regular green salad. This salad makes for the perfect addition to a holiday dinner or potluck party. Plenty of in-season produce in this recipe makes it budget friendly and will sure to be a crowd-pleaser!