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Can you eat pomegranate seeds in a salad?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can absolutely eat pomegranate seeds in a salad! Pomegranate seeds, also known as arils, add a pop of juicy sweetness and beautiful color to all kinds of salads. Their crunchy texture and tangy-sweet flavor pair well with a variety of greens, cheeses, grains, proteins and dressings. Some popular ways to use pomegranate arils in salads include sprinkling them over spinach salads, grain bowls, fruit salads and green salads. They work well in both savory and sweet salad recipes. As a bonus, pomegranate seeds are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to salads.

Pomegranate Seeds Nutrition Facts

Here is an overview of the nutrition facts of pomegranate seeds:

Nutrient Amount in 1/4 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
Calories 72
Carbohydrates 13 g
Fiber 3 g
Sugar 8 g
Fat 1 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin C 6 mg (8% DV)
Vitamin K 5 mcg (4% DV)
Folate 6 mcg (2% DV)
Potassium 122 mg (3% DV)

As you can see, pomegranate seeds are low in calories but pack a good amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into a small serving.

Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds

Here are some of the top health benefits associated with eating pomegranate seeds:

  • High in antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagic acid
  • May help reduce inflammation
  • May lower blood pressure
  • May reduce oxidative stress
  • May have anticancer effects
  • May protect brain health
  • May improve memory
  • May boost immunity

The antioxidants in pomegranate seeds can help combat free radicals and inflammation, which are linked to chronic diseases. Studies show pomegranate antioxidants may help reduce the risk factors for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Delicious Ways to Use Pomegranate in Salads

Here are some delicious salad recipes that showcase pomegranate seeds:

Spinach Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

  • Baby spinach
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Instructions:

  1. Toss spinach, pomegranate seeds, cheese and walnuts together.
  2. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette right before serving.

Pomegranate Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

  • Mixed greens
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Diced avocado
  • Red onion
  • Lemon vinaigrette

Instructions:

  1. Toss greens, pomegranate, avocado and red onion together.
  2. Top with lemon vinaigrette.

Pomegranate Quinoa Fruit Salad

Ingredients:

  • Cooked quinoa
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Diced apple
  • Diced pear
  • Dried cranberries
  • Honey lemon dressing

Instructions:

  1. Combine quinoa, fruits and pomegranate seeds.
  2. Toss with honey lemon dressing.

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • Shredded roasted chicken
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Diced celery
  • Chopped pecans
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix together chicken, pomegranate seeds, celery and pecans.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and mayonnaise.
  3. Fold dressing into chicken mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Kale Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

  • Chopped kale
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Diced cucumber
  • Crumbled feta
  • Lemon olive oil dressing

Instructions:

  1. Massage lemon olive oil dressing into the kale to soften.
  2. Add cucumber, pomegranate seeds and feta. Toss to combine.

Tips for Preparing Pomegranate Seeds

Here are some tips for preparing and handling pomegranate seeds:

  • Cut off the crown with a sharp knife, then score the pomegranate peel into sections.
  • Immerse the scored pomegranate in a bowl of water. Separate the sections under water to free the arils.
  • The arils will sink to the bottom and the peel and white pith will float. Drain and discard peel and pith.
  • Spread the arils out on paper towels to dry fully.
  • Store prepared arils in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Adding seeds just before serving will help keep salads crunchy.
  • Take care when mixing arils into salad dressings, as the juice can bleed and discolor other ingredients.

With these simple tips, enjoying fresh pomegranate seeds in salads is easy!

Potential Issues with Pomegranate in Salads

While pomegranate arils add lots of benefits to salads, there are a couple potential issues to keep in mind:

  • Pomegranate juice can cause other fruits and veggies to brown or discolor.
  • The tart taste may clash with some salad ingredients.
  • Crunchy seeds can fall off greens and collect at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Some people find eating many seeds annoying or messy.

You can mitigate these issues by:

  • Adding pomegranate seeds right before serving instead of during dressing.
  • Mixing them into heartier salads with nuts, cheese and proteins.
  • Balancing the tartness with sweeter ingredients like fruits or honey dressing.
  • Chilling salads thoroughly so greens don’t wilt under juicy seeds.

Overall, the benefits of the beautiful color, juicy texture and nutrients in pomegranate seeds outweighs any potential downsides. With a little forethought, they make an amazing addition to salads.

How to Select and Store Pomegranates

Picking high quality pomegranates ensures you’ll get the most sweet and crunchy arils:

  • Choose fruits that feel heavy for their size with tight, leathery skin.
  • Avoid pomegranates with soft spots, cracks, bruises or mold.
  • Unripe pomegranates have a pale, solid yellow skin.
  • Ripe fruits develop a deep red hue with some brown tones.
  • Store whole pomegranates in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.
  • Refrigerate arils in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze arils for later use for up to 6 months.

With proper selection and storage, you can enjoy pomegranate’s unique flavor and texture even when they are out of season.

Conclusion

Pomegranate arils are a nutrition-packed and visually appealing addition to a wide variety of salads. Their sweet tart flavor, juicy crunch and vibrant color elevate the flavor, texture and health benefits of green, grain, chicken and fruit salads. While they do have staining potential, with some care you can prevent discoloration of other ingredients. Selecting fresh, ripe pomegranates and preparing the arils properly ensures you’ll have delicious seeds to sprinkle over all kinds of salads for a pop of flavor, nutrients and color.