Pomegranate Quinoa Salad – Gluten Free

Cue the fireworks, its pomegranate season.

I have a great affection for those ruby red orbs, it started when I was a kid growing up in Vancouver.

My Grandmother, who was born in South Africa, was raised on pomegranates. She and her sisters would eat them and then crush any seeds that were left and use them as rouge and lipstick stain.

Every Halloween my Gran gave my siblings and I a pomegranate as a treat. One taste of those sweet and slightly crunchy red seeds and a food memory was born. Halloween may conjure up food memories like pumpkins, candy apples, and Trick or Treat candy for most people. For me my food memories all about my Grandmother and pomegranates.

I’ve always said that if a food stains your clothes it’s good for you. I didn’t coined the phrase, but I can’t remember who did! Pomegranates totally stain your clothes, chopping board, fingers, whatever they touch and I don’t give a hoot. I know I’m eating something delicious tasting and good for you and I happen to be really good at getting stains out of clothes!

1 ½ cups (375 mL) cooked quinoa, cooled – see below
½ cup (125 mL) diced red pepper
½ cup (125 mL) diced yellow pepper
¼ cup (60 mL) diced red onion
1 cup (250 mL) cilantro or flat leaf parsley for the cilantro haters
¾ cup (180 mL) dried cranberries
2 cups (500 mL) pomegranate arils – that’s food-lingo for the seeds – see below
¾ cup (180 mL) crumbled feta, use goat, sheep or cow, your choice
½ cup (125 mL) raw pumpkin seeds, those are the green ones sometimes called pepitas
¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed canola oil
3 Tbsp (45 mL) fresh lemon juice

1. In a large bowl toss together: cooled cooker quinoa, diced red pepper, diced yellow pepper, red onion, cilantro or parsley and cranberries.
2. Add arils and toss well.
3. Add feta and pumpkin seeds toss well.
4. Pour the oil over the salad and toss, add lemon juice, one more toss, and serve.

Makes 4 generous servings

Adapted from & with permission by:
Pom Wonderful Chef Series Pomegranate Series Cookbook – Series 4

Cooked Quinoa:
You need cooked quinoa that has been cooled. I make a large pot of quinoa during the week, and then use extras in this salad or as a side with dinner.
For 1 ½ cups (375 mL) cooked quinoa use:
• ½ cup (125 mL) quinoa, rinsed well + 1 ½ cups (375 mL) water + a small saucepan
• Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15-20 minutes.
• The quinoa is cooked when the grains are translucent and the water has been absorbed.
• Fluff with a fork, cover and remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes

How to remove the seeds or arils from the pomegranate

a wooden spoon is hitting a pomegranate
Whack the pomegranate!

Cut a pomegranate in half. Hold the pomegranate over a bowl and whack it with a meat mallet or a heavy wooden spoon, my pasta spoon works really well. The seeds/arils tumble out. It can be messy, so put the bowl in the sink and wear an apron!

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