This Spinach, Strawberry, Pomegranate, Feta Salad has marvelous flavors and textures that will tickle every palate. Plus, it’s made with my absolute favourite, go-to salad dressing, a classic Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe!
Bill would be happy with a lettuce and tomato salad topped with French or ranch dressing. I like mine a bit more jazzy, with fruits, nuts, and cheese. And almost always with a homemade vinaigrette recipe.
Why You Must Make
- If you’re like me, you may see beautiful pomegranates at the market and know what to do with them. This tasty salad is one solution!
- The balsamic vinaigrette is also delicious and you’ll find all sorts of other salads to dress with it.
- This salad has it all with sweet, tangy, creamy, and sharp flavors. It’s great for company, but also family dinners.
- I love the contrast of the jewel-toned strawberries and pomegranate arils with the beautiful green spinach leaves, some nuts for crunch, and some salty feta to round out this terrific salad!
- Kitchen Staples – Sugar, Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Pecan Halves – See the recipe on how to make sugared pecans
- Baby Spinach – More tender than regular spinach. Buy it packaged so it’s prewashed and dried for convenience.
- Red Onion – Soak slices in cold water to reduce the sharpness if desired.
- Fresh Strawberries – Look for fragrant, red berries with no white or green around the stem. The leaves should look fresh and the berries should be without soft spots or signs of mould.
- Feta Cheese – Buy a block to crumble for the best quality
- Small Pomegranate – See the frequently asked questions for how to release the seeds. You can often buy pomegranate arils in the refrigerated section in the produce department when they’re in season.
- Balsamic Vinegar – Use good quality, aged balsamic.
- Dijon Mustard – Gray Poupon is my go-to brand.
- Fresh Garlic Clove – Minced. I like using a garlic press to mince.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – California Olive Ranch is my go-to brand.
How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette
I like to make most of my salad dressings in a Pyrex measuring cup. The spout makes it easy to pour it into a jar to store, plus the markings along the sides help with measuring.
- Put your vinegar into your bowl or measuring cup first. Then whisk in any seasonings, mustard, and liquids except for your oil. The oil is the last ingredient to be added.
- PRO-Tip: Use a good aged balsamic vinegar. This is crucial. It should offer some sweetness and be slightly syrupy in texture. You can use other vinegar, but you may want to add a little honey or sugar to make up for the lack of sweetness.
- Once your vinegar and seasonings are whisked to combine, you can slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously. This allows the salad dressing to “emulsify” or thicken to a consistency that will not easily separate.
- Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil. For cooking, it’s fine to use regular olive oil, but extra virgin is the best for a salad dressing.
- PRO-Tip: The addition of Dijon mustard adds a bit of piquancy to the flavor, but it also helps emulsify the salad dressing. If you don’t like mustard, start with just a teaspoon, but it’s key for the perfect consistency.
So get out your whisk and make sure you use a top-notch balsamic vinegar. I use an 18-year aged version from a nearby spice shop.
How Else to Use Pomegranates
- Besides using the rosy arils in salads, break a pomegranate open and display it on a winter fruit tray with berries, pineapple, and kiwi. It creates an exquisite presentation when cracked open with a few of the gem-like berries spilling from the shell. They also look lovely on a cheese tray paired with crackers, nuts, and pear or apple slices.
- Use to garnish any cocktail using pomegranate juice like a Pomegranate Cosmo or a Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail.
- You can also sprinkle them in your breakfast yogurt, on avocado toast, or even use to garnish your grilled or roasted meat. The pop of red will make an appealing presentation.
Frequently Asked Questions
First look at the color. It can range from red to pink blushed yellow. You should not see any green or it was picked too early and will never fully ripen. A ripe pomegranate is dense and heavy. It will not be perfectly round, but slightly squarish in shape. See the photo above.
Yes, the seeds, also known as arils, and the juice are both edible. The tiny seeds are covered with a sweet, vibrant red pulp.
There are a couple of methods to extract the arils. First, remove the stem end. Then make shallow cuts from the stem end down to the bottom, using the section divisions, if they’re visible, to guide your slicing. Then pull open the sections and remove the arils.
You can place the pomegranate in a bowl of water so the juice doesn’t stain your hands or clothing as you remove the seeds. Or you can use the back of a spoon to tap the exterior to encourage the release of the seeds into a bowl.
In the United States, pomegranates are in season from mid-September through early January.
You May Also Like
1/2 cup sugared pecans (see below)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 ounces baby spinach
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces sliced strawberries
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Seeds (arils) from one small pomegranate
For the dressing/vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, premium, aged
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- To make sugared pecans, add the pecans plus 1 tablespoon sugar to a nonstick saute pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar melts and pecans are coated. Remove to non-stick foil or parchment paper to cool.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place spinach in serving bowl, top with onion, berries, feta, pomegranate arils, and cooled pecans. Toss with vinaigrette just before serving.
Use the best quality balsamic vinegar you can find. My favorite is aged for 18 years.
If you’re not a fan of the sharpness of raw onions, soak them in cold water before using.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 456Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 17 mgSodium: 572 mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 22gProtein: 6g