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Vegan for the Holidays


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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel



SALADS LOVE POMEGRANATE SEEDS

Removing Pomegranate Seeds


With only five ingredients layered to create dramatic color contrast, this stunning salad is one you can proudly show off at the holiday table before tossing. In addition to thoroughly enjoying its lively flavors, you'll notice this salad features a dazzling presentation that makes its best showing in a wide, shallow salad bowl.

In addition to their blazing red beauty, pomegranate seeds contribute delightful crunchiness and a healthy dose of fiber and potassium. Because it takes extra prep time to remove the little seeds from a pomegranate, many cooks don't want to bother with them. Those poor, juicy, red beauties don't get to enjoy the loving attention they deserve.

But, then, there are others, who like me, have an affinity for these divine and voluptuous fruits and are thoroughly jazzed to give them the TLC they need to take a bow on the autumn stage.

Removing the pomegranate seeds from a fresh pomegranate is easy.

Here's the handy technique:

  1. Place a colander into a very large bowl and fill the bowl with enough water to submerge a large pomegranate. A salad spinner is the perfect bowl.
  2. Put the pomegranate on a cutting board and cut the top off. Carefully, cut the pomegranate vertically into six sections.
  3. Working with one section at a time, lower it into the water. Turn the section so the seeds are facing downward. Use your fingers to release the seeds into the water.
  4. Most of the seeds will sink to the bottom, while the pith floats to the top for easy removal. Repeat the process with the other pomegranate sections. Then, simply lift the colander and shake off the excess water.

SPINACH SALAD WITH BEETS AND POMEGRANATES

Spinach Pomegranate Salad Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1 (8-ounce/226g) package baby spinach
    3 beets, peeled, cubed, and cooked, or 1 or 2 (15-ounce) cans diced beets, drained
    2 carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
    2 large pomegranates
    1/4 red onion, cut in half vertically, then sliced into half moons

    2 cups (480 ml) Maple-Dijon Salad Dressing

  1. Place the spinach in a large, wide salad bowl and heap the beets into the center. Sprinkle the shredded carrots in a ring surrounding the beets.
  2. Cut the pomegranates into quarters. Carefully remove the seeds with your fingers. Form a 2-inch ring of pomegranate seeds next to the carrots, leaving a generous border of spinach at the outer edge.
  3. Finish with a sprinkle of onions around the outer edge. Bring the salad to the table to show it off. Toss it thoroughly with Maple-Dijon Dressing or another of your choice.

Maple Dijon Salad Dressing

This is my vegan, oil-free counterpart to the standard honey-mustard salad dressing.

Yield: 2 cups (480 ml)

    1 cup (240 ml) water
    1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
    3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
    1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender. Process on high speed for 1 1/2 minutes to allow the xanthan gum to lightly thicken the dressing, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar.
  2. Using a funnel, pour the dressing into a narrow-neck bottle for easy serving. Shake well before using. Covered tightly and refrigerated, Maple-Dijon salad Dressing will keep for 2 weeks.


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