Herbed quinoa salad with pomegranate and hazelnuts

quinoa salad

 

Can you believe it’s already December? I hardly can. The Christmas tree went up yesterday and my counselling sessions are already buzzing with questions about how to “survive” the holiday season. While I’ll touch on this topic in another post, it’s important to note that the holiday season shouldn’t be survivable, it should be enjoyable and healthful too. In fact, today’s recipe is just that, a combination of healthful foods and festive flavors. Get in the holiday spirit with fresh herbs, nutty quinoa, crunchy hazelnuts and sweet pomegranate.

Seasonal spotlight: pomegranate

It’s difficult to think of a more festive fruit. I mean, it’s almost ornament-worthy. Plus, pomegranates are bursting with antioxidant-power, mostly in the form of anthocyanidins, which act as a buffer to the damaging effects of free radicals. But despite its perks, the mere thought of seeding a pomegranate can discourage some from ever adding it to their grocery cart. Well, deprive yourselves no more. The no muss no fuss (or should I say, no mess) trick to seeding pomegranate  is actually quite simple; all you need is a bowl of water.

Start by slicing the pomegranate in half.  Then, under water, break the pomegranate into manageable pieces, making it easy to detach all the pomergranate seeds by running your thumbs along the membrane. You’ll notice the seeds sink to the bottom and the pulp float to the  surface, making it easy to remove with a slotted spoon. Strain the seeds and there you have it… pomegranate perfection!

Herbed quinoa salad with pomegranate & hazeluts

Makes:: about 3 1/2 cups   Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

For the salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium shallot, minced

2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 large bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)

1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

 

For the dressing

2 tablespoons 100% pure pomegranate juice

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 

 

 

 

Method

1) Basic Quinoa: In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the shallot and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

2) Add the quinoa, give it a quick stir then add the broth, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring up to a boil then cover and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes.

3) Remove quinoa from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Then, fluff with a fork, remove bay leaf and let cool.

4) In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, parsley, mint, thyme, pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts.

5) In a small bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, honey, olive oil and salt and drizzle over the salad. Toss to combine.

Serve and enjoy!

 

How do you de-seed pomegranate? Have you begun your holiday decorating? Do you agree that the holiday season can be enjoyable but healthful, too?

 

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