Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

Two delicious fruits are currently in season: Pomegranates and Satsuma Oranges.

When I was a kid my dad would buy pomegranate as soon as it appeared in stores. Back then the fruit wasn’t “cool” and no one was talking about how it was a good source of antioxidants. In fact, I would take it to school for lunch and other kids would ask, “What is that?” (I got that a lot — I always had the most “interesting” brown bag lunches.) I’ve adopted my dad’s habit, and hop on pomegranate season as soon as the fruits look bright and red and juicy. I put them in salads (like this one with kale and delicata squash or this one with brussels sprouts) and add the juice to smoothies. My favorite is my dad’s Pomegranate Sorbet (!), but this wild rice salad is a a healthier way to enjoy the flavor.

Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins
Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

When it comes to citrus fruits, I’ve never been the biggest fan — it’s not that I don’t like oranges, there are just other fruits I like more. BUT during citrus season, when everything is at it’s peak and you can find blood oranges and ruby red grapefruits and mandarins… that’s when I get on board. Satsuma Mandarins are the best, aren’t they?!

These two fruits together sing winter to me — they are a pop of fresh in an otherwise dull season, little gems in this wild rice salad.

Wild rice, by the way, is another key here. It’s nuttier than white rice and gives this salad great texture and flavor. Either use leftover rice or cook the rice ahead of time. You can do this in an Instant Pot (affiliate link!) by placing 1 cup water and 1 cup wild rice in the pot and setting it to High Pressure for 28 minutes, and then allowing the pressure to release naturally.

The whole thing is tossed with arugula (which is why it can be called a salad 😏). The bitterness of the greens are a good balance to the sweetness of the fruit and nuts. Add toasted pecans on top of that, and every bite is a combo of nutty and fresh and savory and sweet.

Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

Published January 10, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled wild rice (leftover rice does great!)
  • 3-4 Satsuma Mandarins, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate perils 
  • 3/4 cups toasted pecans
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Make the vinaigrette: Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar. Close jar and shake to combine.
    2. Assemble salad: In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, wild rice, mandarins, pomegranate perils, and toasted pecans.
    3. Drizzle vinaigrette over rice salad to taste, adding additional salt & pepper to your preferences. Toss and serve.

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    Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

    Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

    The day you read this, it will be the fourth day of 2018, and I will be headed to Monterey, California, but as I write it's only a few days after Christmas.

    My office closes for the holiday, and I have the entire week to do whatever I want. A week ago I had tried to corral friends into organizing a trip to Red Rock Canyon (we went last year, and it was so so beautiful), but I had been late to the punch and it seemed everyone already had other things going on. Still, I didn't give up on my wanderlust: even early on Christmas eve, and I pieced together a half-baked plan to go to Santa Fe. Drive time, a place to stay, and a list of possible climbing spots. And of course, swooning over images of turquoise doors, cliff dwellings, and desert sun. 

    I could almost feel the heat, even there sitting at my computer. But instead of warming in the sun, hot air was blasting from the vents as our thermostat worked to combat the dropping temperatures outside. Wanderlust had me riveted, and begged me to go. Visions of a simpler time, when I was ten or so, floated through my mind: I had dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer, but at some point convinced myself that it wouldn't work. I liked traveling, sure, but I like being home too. I knew I would tire of being on the move. Plus, adults had bills to pay, and art wasn't stable...even my overly mature ten-year old self knew this. But right then, looking at images of Santa Fe, regret poured over me. I wanted--no, needed- to go. 

    Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie
    Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

    My bubble deflated as the coffee set in and I came down from the clouds: a six-and-a-half hour drive on icy roads and in a foot of snow? "Fun" isn't the right word for a road trip like that. And I had been craving snow, fiercely. So instead we bundled up (long under wear, wool socks, snow pants, down coats, snow boots, gloves, and hats) and made our way through the white winter wonderland just outside our door, to hike through the foothills. 

    The cold preserved individual snowflakes, creating the fluffiest snow possible: not a spot of slush or sludge. Overcome with a childlike happiness, wanderlust momentarily forgotten, I wanted to plunge straight into the snow and make snow angels. Frozen pine needles glowing in the winter light; sparkling hills; the smell of winter in the air. Such beautiful things, right here under my nose. Besides, in just one short week I'd be in the California sunshine. 

    This smoothie takes the freshest, brightest flavors of winter and throws them all into a jar. The result is a gradient of pinks and magentas--a bold spot of color on a winter morning. When you're stuck looking at images of exotic places, or find yourself wishing for some adventure, try this smoothie. It's a rejuvenating splash of bright and bold that reminds you that there's no where better to be than in the now. 

    Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

    Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

    Published January 4, 2018 by
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    Serves: 2   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 banana, frozen
    • 1 grapefruit, peeled, plus two grapefruit wedges of garnish (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated on microplane
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice

    Directions:

    1. Combine first four ingredients in a blender (affiliate link) and puree until smooth. Divide evenly among serving glasses.
    2. Slowly pour half of the pomegranate juice into each glass. It will sink to the bottom, creating a gradient effect.
    3. Garnish with grapefruit wedges and serve immediately.

    4 Comments

    Roasted Eggplant Salad

    Roasted Eggplant Salad  with pomegranate, pine nuts, and tahini sauce

    Remember how I told you that I didn’t know how to cook eggplant? Well, I’ve been practicing a lot since then. I thought I’d share some of the tips I’ve discovered along the way you with, and an easy recipe! 

    How to roast perfect eggplant: 

    • Whether dicing or slicing, make each piece the same size. This will ensure everything is done cooking at the same time! 

    • Use plenty of oil. Don’t skimp. Eggplant is like a sponge and will soak it up plenty of oil, but that makes it get crispy in the outside. Use a Silpat (affiliate link) to keep the eggplant from sticking to your pans. Parchment works too.

    • Since you’ll be using plenty, use an oil with a taste you enjoy. While it’s not a high heat oil, we like the flavor of olive oil roasted eggplant more than others. Experiment with an oil that tastes good to you! (I also like avocado oil.)

    • Season with salt, pepper, and garlic before you roast. (Or harissa. Harissa is amazing.)

    • Cook with a high heat: when in doubt, I go to 450°F for eggplant, but if you’re looking to char your eggplant (like, for a smokey baba ganoush) you’ll want to use your grill.

    • Have patience. Wait until the eggplant is super soft when you bite into it. Set a timer, leave the kitchen, and do something else. No foamy eggplant, ok?! 

    • Top it with a sauce or something fresh. A drizzle of yogurt and a scoop of tomato-cucumber salad is great, but this roasted eggplant salad calls for a creamy tahini sauce.

    Now, on to why I love this recipe! 

    Roasted Eggplant Salad  with pomegranate, pine nuts, and tahini sauce
    Roasted Eggplant Salad  with pomegranate, pine nuts, and tahini sauce

    Put on some classical music and thrown on your apron. Cooking this salad makes me feel like Ottlenghi, and you will too if you're in the right mindset. 

    While eggplant is a summer crop, I like it best when it’s been roasted in the oven for sometime, making it something I prefer to cook when it's a bit cooler. Biting into a forkful of cold romaine lettuce on a snowy day? No thanks! We can do better, and in this case, better is roasted. This roasted eggplant salad is exactly the kind of thing I want to make for lunch when there’s a chill in the air.

    Topped with parsley, pomegranate, and a creamy tahini sauce, it’s also vibrant with wintery colors: red, green, and soft white. It goes great with the side of roasted chicken, quinoa, or hummus… buuuut we eat this as a whole meal, split between two people. 

    Roasted Eggplant Salad  with pomegranate, pine nuts, and tahini sauce
    Roasted Eggplant Salad  with pomegranate, pine nuts, and tahini sauce

    Roasted Eggplant Salad

    Published December 7, 2017 by
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    Serves: 2 as a main course, 4 as a side   |    Total Time: 45-50 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 2 medium eggplants (Italian variety) 
    • 2 large shallots 
    • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil (or cooking oil of choice)
    • Sprinkle of salt
    • Sprinkle of garlic powder
    • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley 
    • 1/4 cup pomegranate perils 
    • 1/3 cup toasted pinenuts 

    • For the Tahini Sauce:
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 3 tablespoons tahini
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 
    • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 
    • 1/16 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • Salt to taste

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Slice eggplants into 1/2 inch thick rounds, and arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet (or two). Slice shallots into wedges, and add to baking sheet. Brush everything with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is golden and cooked through. TIP: You can add the pinenuts in the last 3-5 minutes to get them nice and toasted if they are not already. Watch them closely to avoid burning.
    2. While the eggplant is cooking, make the tahini sauce: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth, seasoning with salt to taste.
    3. Assembly: use a spatula to transfer cooked eggplant and shallots to a serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley, pomegranate, and pinenuts. Then, drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve warm.

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