This gorgeous Pomegranate Salad features roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and a handful of other simple ingredients drizzled with a pomegranate vinaigrette. It’s one of those hearty salads that’s perfect for a weeknight meal and fancy enough to serve on your holiday table!
Let’s talk salads for a minute, shall we?
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of #SaladsThatDontSuck. These are salad recipes that are a far cry from many of the lifeless, bland, or boring salads out there. I know you know what I’m talking about!
This beautiful salad includes everything needed for fullness AND satisfaction. Carbs, fat, plant-based protein, plus flavor, texture, and varying temperatures. It can be served as a main dish or side dish, and it’s easy to modify if you want or need to.
Why You’ll Love This Pomegranate Salad
- Did you catch a glimpse of those gorgeous colors? A variety of colors provides a variety textures and fresh flavors.
- The homemade dressing is simple to throw together with a few ingredients. Make it ahead of time or double the batch for other recipes.
- Meal prep is no problem, especially if you leave the salad undressed. The prepped ingredients are sturdy enough to last for several days if you need a ready-to-eat option in a couple days.
Pomegranate Salad Ingredients
We’re nearing the time of year when pomegranates are readily available. Hopefully you’re able to find fresh pomegranate seeds (pomegranate arils) in your local grocery store. You’ll also need:
- Leafy greens, such as baby spinach, spring mix, or chopped romaine lettuce
- Sweet potato
- Canned chickpeas
- Dried cherries or dried cranberries
- Cracked black pepper
And for the salad dressing, make sure you have:
- Pomegranate juice
- Olive oil
- Dijon mustard
- Honey or maple syrup
- Fresh thyme
- Salt, pepper, or All-Purpose MSG Seasoning
Pomegranate juice is something I always have on hand in my fridge. It’s a versatile, nutrient-packed option and it tastes so dang good! I add it to DIY sports-drink mixes, smoothies, cocktails and mocktails, savory braised dishes, and now I can add this simple dressing to the list!
I love this OXO Salad Shaker for mixing up my own dressings at home. In fact, ever since I got it I rarely purchase bottled salad dressings because it’s so easy and quick to make my own. This shaker is basically like a measuring cup with a tight-sealing lid that lets me get the ratios and measurements just right. After I give it a vigorous shake, the top spout opens easily with one hand! It’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe so I definitely get a lot of use out of it.
How to Make a Pomegranate Salad
This pomegranate salad is super easy to make with just a few easy steps. The whole thing comes together in just 20-30 minutes! I recommend starting with the roasted sweet potatoes. This allows time to complete everything else while the bake in the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prep a baking sheet by lining it with foil or parchment paper, or spraying with nonstick cooking spray.
- Peel the sweet potato. Then, using a sharpened knife and cutting board, cut into a rough dice. They don’t have to be perfect, just close to the same size so they cook evenly.
- Spread them in a single layer, season lightly with salt, pepper, or a seasoning blend, a bake for 10-12 minutes. Flip once to ensure even browning.
In the meantime, prep the dressing by combining all ingredients in a measuring cup, small bowl, or small jar with a lid. Whisk or shake to combine, and adjust the flavor according to your taste preferences.
To build the salad, drain and rinse the chickpeas, wash the salad greens (if needed), and dice or slice the creamy avocado. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, build the pomegranate salad in a mixing bowl or on individual salad plates. Layer all ingredients, then drizzle with the pomegranate vinaigrette. Serve with a little bit of cracked black pepper on top and enjoy!
Swaps and Substitutions
As I mentioned above, it’s very easy to turn this salad into a brand new version of itself with some simple swaps or subs. Here are some options to get your culinary creativity flowing:
- Add other roasted veggies like Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, or mushrooms.
- Top with goat cheese, feta cheese, blue cheese, or fresh mozzarella.
- Swap the pecans for walnuts, almonds, or pistachios. You can also add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or anything else you like for that nutty flavor.
- Add thin slices of fresh pear or your favorite type of apple. My personal pick for this is a honeycrisp apple.
- Top with any type of protein, such as rotisserie chicken or sliced chicken breasts, grilled pork tenderloin medallions, or seared tofu.
Note that as written, this recipe is fully vegan (100% plant-based) but if you make some of these changes, it will no longer be vegan.
Here’s the recipe for this Vegan Pomegranate Salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette dressing!
Pomegranate Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas
- cutting board and sharpened chefs knife
- vegetable peeler
- medium baking sheet
- aluminum foil or parchment paper, or nonstick cooking spray
- measuring cups and spoons
- salad tongs
- 6 cups spring mix or baby spinach
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced small
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 medium avocado, diced or sliced
- cracked black pepper, to taste
Creamy Pom-Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
To Make the Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and whisk to combine. Alternatively, you make combine in a jar with a sealed lid and shake until fully mixed. Adjust seasoning based on your taste preferences.
To Make the Salad
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining with non-stick foil or parchment paper, or spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the diced sweet potatoes in a single layer, then bake for 10-12 minutes. Flip once and remove from oven once edges begin to brown and sweet potatoes are fully cooked.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooling, add the lettuce mix to a large mixing bowl. Add the chickpeas, pomegranate arils, pecans, and dried cherries and mix to combine.
- Drizzle the prepared dressing over the top and toss to combine. Arrange the sliced or diced avocado on top and sprinkle with black pepper. Serve immediately.
I hope you enjoy this delicious salad as much as we do. It’s a reliable enough for a weeknight meal or meal prep, but feels fancy enough for a holiday menu, too.
As always, thanks for stopping by the Street Smart Nutrition blog. Cheers to more fearlessly nourishing meals and salads that don’t suck!
Disclosure: This post was created as part of my ongoing partnership with the Produce for Better Health Foundation. I was not compensated for my time. It was originally published in January 2020 and has since been updated to improve the overall quality of the information and/or images.