Posted by: Kennedy | January 4, 2012

“Pretty up” your plate with pomegranate

Over the holidays, I’ve had a bit of a vacation from the kitchen. Both my mom and grandma have been filling my belly every night with amazing home-cooked meals.

So yesterday I thought: it’s January 3rd, I should probably return the favour. So… I made a side dish.

I know. Daughter of the Year, right here.

I didn’t have a recipe in mind. Instead, I just hunted in the pantry and the fridge and picked a bunch of random ingredients to turn into a killer quinoa salad – fingers crossed.

http://twitter.com/#!/kl_bakes/status/154324295735185408

I wanted chickpeas for the extra protein, but was inspired to add the pomegranate by a school friend who shared a quinoa recipe with the pretty red seeds in her Food Demonstration:

Gorgeous, right? It added colour and a nice tart flavour to her dish, and I’ve been meaning to try out my own version ever since.

But pomegranates don’t just pretty up your plate – they pack a mean nutritional punch, too.

The seeds contain fiber, healthy unsaturated oils, and micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B5 and potassium. They also contain a whole whack of polyphenols (tannins, flavonoids) and phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, scavenging free radicals and reducing harmful effects of oxidation. Less free radical damage = lowered risk of disease such as cancer and heart disease.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, pomegranate seeds are considered a bitter/astringent component, ideal for balancing out a diet high in sweet/fatty foods. So if you’re a Kapha type, pomegranates are a great choice!

As you can tell, I could go on and on about the mighty pomegranate all day… but I know you want me to get to the good stuff already, so here it is: Kennedy’s Killer Quinoa Salad recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

1.5 cups vegetable broth

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 green onion, chopped

½ cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 avocado, peeled and chopped

2 cups greens of your choice, chopped (I used romaine lettuce)

1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup pomegranate seeds

Juice from ½ lemon (approx. 2 Tbsp)

1 Tbsp parsley

1 tsp cumin

Sea salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook 1 cup quinoa in 1.5 cups vegetable broth (or water) as per directions.

While quinoa is cooking, chop all vegetables, prepare chickpeas and squeeze lemon juice. Remove seeds from pomegranate. *Tip: immerse fruit in a bowl of warm water and gently pull seeds out, keeping both hands under the water. This helps prevent the juice from spraying everywhere.

When quinoa is finished cooking, simply add to a large bowl and mix in all the ingredients, stirring well.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes a great side dish or main course, 4-6 servings.

This recipe literally took 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish – though I should mention I had some help from my mom. If she hadn’t been there to take out all the pomegranate seeds, who knows how long it would have taken me… thanks, Lor!

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