Orange Pomegranate Salad

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This show-stopping Orange Pomegranate Salad is topped with clementines, pomegranate arils, candied almonds, sliced avocado, and feta cheese. It’s dressed in an irresistible citrus vinaigrette that takes minutes to whip together.

Pair Orange Pomegranate Salad with a hearty main dish like this Shepherd’s PieChicken Chili, or this Spaghetti Bolognese that is made in the slow cooker.

 

Overhead image of Orange Pomegranate Salad.

Orange Pomegranate Salad

This salad is light, refreshing, and the perfect complement to the heartier and heavier holiday side dishes. I love filling my plate with plenty of mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and this Thanksgiving dressing, but it’s nice to have a lighter dish on the plate to cut through all that richness! This Orange Pomegranate Salad is exactly that — a light side dish filled with good-for-you ingredients and pops of gorgeous, ripe, in-season fruit.

 

Process shots-- images of the pomegranates, oranges, and avocados on the salad.

Let’s talk candied almonds

We love quick stovetop candied almonds on this Orange Pomegranate Salad, but if you’d rather, honey roasted almonds are also amazing. If I’m not candying the almonds, I use a bag of store-bought honey roasted almonds.

Here’s how to make your own candied almonds:

Place 1 cup sliced almonds and 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir constantly. The sugar will begin to melt, become a sticky liquid, and then stick to the almonds. This takes about 3-4 minutes; watch carefully and stir constantly to avoid burning the nuts. As soon as the sugar starts turning liquid-y, remove the skillet from the heat and continue to stir until almonds are well coated. Spread the candied almonds onto a sheet of parchment paper and let cool. Once hardened, break apart and add to this Orange Pomegranate Salad.

QUICK TIP

This is more almonds than you’ll need for the salad, but sugaring the almonds works best with this volume. Store leftover almonds in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months or in the pantry for 2-3 weeks. Use leftover almonds as a snack, or as a topping for yogurt bowls, acai bowls, or another salad recipe.

Orange Pomegranate Salad Shortcuts

  • Skip candying the almonds and use store-bought honey roasted almonds.
  • Use canned mandarin oranges (thoroughly drained) to save time peeling and segmenting clementines. Fresh clementines can be hard to find at certain times of the year.
  • Grab pre-seeded pomegranate arils 

QUICK TIP

Already seeded pomegranate arils are typically sold in small plastic cups in the produce section of the grocery store. They can sometimes be tricky to find and are usually only sold in the States from October to February.

Process shots-- images of the dressing being made and then being poured over the salad.

Make Ahead Tips

If you’d like to make this Orange Pomegranate Salad ahead for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, follow the tips below:

  1. Prep the fruit. Peel and segment the clementines. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Cut and deseed the pomegranate; store pomegranate seeds in a separate airtight container (or bag) in the fridge.
  2. Prep the dressing. Give it a quick whiz in the blender and then store it all together in a mason jar until ready to dress the salad. (Give it a quick shake in the jar before dressing the salad.)
  3. Add almonds and feta cheese to small individual containers/bags. Divide out the almonds and cheese and add these to individual bags or containers so they’re ready to grab on the go. 
  4. Lettuce and avocado. These last two ingredients are tricky to prepare in advance. For the lettuce, I usually buy a large plastic container of mixed greens. I just leave it in the fridge and take out when ready to prep the salad. The avocado can’t be prepared too far in advance as it will brown. I recommend chopping/dicing the avocado right before eating this Orange Pomegranate Salad. If you do need to chop it up ahead of time, squeeze some lemon juice on the avocado to keep it from browning.

QUICK TIP

Arils are the fleshy covering of the seeds found inside a pomegranate. They’re sparkly, brilliant and delicious! The translucent, ruby-colored flesh coats a tiny, white or pink seed, but the entire aril can be eaten. Because there’s an actual seed there (similar to a grape seed) they do crunch when you chew them. You can also slurp them down, crunching them to get the juice out, but swallowing without actually chewing.

Overhead image of Orange Pomegranate Salad dressed and ready to be served.

Orange Pomegranate Salad Leftovers

Once dressed, this Orange Pomegranate Salad doesn’t store very well. The dressing makes the lettuce wilt and the avocado begins to brown and change texture.

I’d recommend only dressing what you will enjoy the same day. See tips in the section above for storing the dressing and salad components separately. Try to only cut avocados that will be consumed immediately after making.

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Orange Pomegranate Salad

5 from 6 votes
This delicious winter salad is topped with mandarin oranges, pomegranate arils, candied almonds, sliced avocado, and feta cheese.
Print Recipe

Orange Pomegranate Salad

5 from 6 votes
This delicious winter salad is topped with mandarin oranges, pomegranate arils, candied almonds, sliced avocado, and feta cheese.
Course Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy
Keyword Orange Pomegranate Salad
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Calories 389kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $7.41

Ingredients

  • 8 cups (5oz.; 145g) mixed greens (spinach and lettuces)
  • 2 cups (290g) clementine or mandarin oranges (~4-6 clementines)
  • 3/4 cup (119g) pomegranate arils
  • 1 large avocado chopped or thinly sliced (or use 2 small avocados)
  • Optional: lemon (to keep the avocado from browning too quickly)
  • 1/4 cup (30g) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup (61g) sliced honey-roasted almonds (See Note 1)

Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons (64g) juice from a large orange
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup (50g) olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch of ground pepper
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Instructions

  • DRESSING: In a blender or food processor, combine all of the dressing ingredients (except the poppy seeds). Pulse to blend and then taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference. Stir in optional poppy seeds. (The dressing is fairly thin, but it adheres to the lettuce/ingredients nicely!) Transfer dressing to a Mason jar and store in the fridge until ready to dress the salad. Shake before dressing the salad.
  • SALAD ASSEMBLY: Fill a large bowl or salad platter with the mixed greens. Top with peeled and segmented clementines. Add seeded pomegranate arils (See Note 2), and chopped or thinly sliced avocado. (If desired, squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the avocado to keep it from browning too quickly.)
  • DRESS: Right before enjoying the salad, toss it with the dressing, almonds, and feta cheese. You may not use all the dressing (depending on how dressed you like your salads). Store leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week and use on other salads or drizzle over roasted vegetables. Once dressed, this salad does not sit or store well. If you'd like to prepare in advance, read the tips in the blog post.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: I use a bag of store-bought honey roasted almonds or make my own candied almonds (see blog post for recipe).
Note 2: Cut and deseed the pomegranate or to save time and effort, purchase pre-seeded pomegranate arils; these are typically sold in small plastic cups in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 301mg | Potassium: 991mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 3694IU | Vitamin C: 123mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 3mg

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9 Comments

  1. This salad is so gorgeous! I love all the colors in there. You are so right – toasted almonds really take salad to the next level.

  2. Such a vibrant salad… I really like it, and since I’m vegetarian, I’ll be having few other salads on a Christmas table instead of ham… 😉

  3. I just learned how to easily get the seeds out of a pomegranate so have starting using it like crazy in everything!! This salad looks so good – I am definitely going to try it! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Planning on making this for a dinner party for 10 this weekend…any help with how many this was designed to serve as a salad course?

  5. 5 stars
    Just made my grocery list to get everything I need for this gorgeous salad! Thanks for the inspiring recipe! The photos are stunning!

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