Just call me Elaine Benes, because I love a big salad. The bigger the better. “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.” If I order a salad and it fits in a cereal bowl, I feel dejected and let down.
My salads tend to be 5% dressing, 15% lettuce or spinach, 80% other stuff. The “other stuff” is really why I eat salad, and I doubt I’m alone in that. If I could order a salad without lettuce, I would probably do it. No… not probably. I would. I absolutely would.
Once the weather starts warming up and I realize I can no longer hide beneath hoodies and puffer vests, salads make their way back into my daily meal rotation. But since I’m not one of those women who can start eating measly little meals that are in no way fulfilling, I just eat tons of salads. Big salads.
This is a salad for people who love salad. If you look at a salad and go, “Eh.”… this isn’t the salad for you. It’s piled high with a ton of fruits and vegetables and will leave you feeling full, but in a good way. In a healthy way. Not the way you feel after you eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s – as delicious as it is while you’re eating, you’re left feeling like a cow by the time you’re done. Moooooo.
My key to a really great big salad? A big dressing. And I don’t mean that in the sense that I use a large amount of dressing, but that I use a dressing with big flavor. I like to make a raspberry vinaigrette, but this time I was on a serious pomegranate kick so that’s the route I took. It is so good. It has so much flavor and it complements the salad perfectly.
Speaking of cows, here’s a quick aside – how cute is this little jar? I went to dinner at this fantastic restaurant in Groton, MA called Gibbet Hill Grill (pronounced “Jibbet”) and when you order coffee they bring out the milk in this completely adorable jar. Turns out they sell them, so obviously I got one. I love to use it for milk, dressings, caramel sauce, and anything else that requires pouring or drizzling.
Back to the salad: Sometimes the ingredients vary – sometimes I add avocado, egg, carrots, cucumber… it really comes down to what I have on hand (and what’s in season). I desperately wanted pomegranate seeds this time around, but they’re not in season in New England. Sadface. So I went on the quest of a lifetime looking for one, and I ended up finding a packaged container of seeds at Whole Foods so I gave it a shot – and they’re actually pretty close to eating them fresh out of the fruit itself! I was very pleasantly surprised. I also always use SunBursts instead of grape tomatoes – they’re sweeter and I love their flavor.
The mixture of sweet, tart, soft and crunchy ingredients in this salad have the perfect balance and there’s never a boring bite.
I’m not gonna lie to you – it’s a fair amount of prep work. But if you’re already putting together a week’s worth of mason jar salads, you won’t notice the effort to put together one more (or two, if you’re nice enough to make one for a guest). The recipe below is written for two people, but just cut the ingredients in half if you only need enough for you. And remember – this isn’t meant as a side salad. This isn’t rabbit food. This is an epic and colorful entrée that deserves to be the center of attention. Enjoy it!
- 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 cups lettuce (chopped) or spinach
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup SunBursts (sweet golden tomatoes), sliced in half
- 1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
- 1/2 cup diced pear
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup grapes, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup Diamond of California chopped walnuts
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring pomegranate juice to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer to a small heat-proof bowl and let cool completely. Add olive oil, honey, vinegar, pepper and salt and stir until well-combined.
- Store in sealed container in the fridge until ready to use.
- Chop and rinse lettuce and divide between two large serving bowls.
- Rinse and chop/dice all remaining ingredients and divide between the two bowls.
- Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately. Enjoy!