Shockingly, this is a salad I ate all throughout my childhood. Yes, a vegetable-based dish that I actually loved as a kid, but have somehow never made for myself! So here’s the official recipe, a combination of all of my favorite things.
Arugula is the best leafy green because it’s so peppery and a little bitter, avocados are one of my favorite foods of all time in any recipe, and I love pomegranate seeds, so much so that they were the *only* fruit I would eat as a young child. This combination of my personal favorites gets topped with a delicious citrus vinaigrette that uses white balsamic vinegar. White balsamic is perfect here because it doesn’t affect the colors of the dish, and it has a slightly more mild flavor, so it let’s the ingredients in the salad really shine. I top it all off with candied pecans for some much needed crunch, and in about 15 minutes total, you have an elegant salad with beautifully balanced flavors. It’s perfect as an appetizer or side in the summer, and would make a great meal with the addition of your favorite protein!
1. White Balsamic
White balsamic is really just baby balsamic vinegar! It’s pressure cooked to keep the grapes from browning, and is only aged for a couple of years. (To compare, regular balsamic is aged for a minimum of 12 years!) It has a light golden color, and is mildly sweet, fruity, and tangy, a wonderful addition to vinaigrettes and vegetables!
2. Nuts in Salads
I love adding nuts to salads for so many reasons. They’re crunchy, salty, and add heft and meatiness (protein!) to a dish that is usually mostly vegetables. Candied nuts are even crunchier, and add sweetness to the mix, so they balance out tangy vinaigrettes beautifully.
3. Avocado and Arugula
You might have noticed there’s no cheese in this salad, and that’s because the avocado brings all the same creamy, fattiness that cheese usually would. Arugula is the perfect green in this combination because its peppery, bitter flavors bring contrast to the sweet and sour flavors throughout the rest of the dish!
Arugula Avocado Pomegranate Salad
For the Citrus White Balsamic Dressing:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
- 1 (5 ounce) container baby arugula
- ¾ cup candied pecans, roughly chopped
- 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1 inch chunks
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- In a small bowl, add olive oil, white balsamic, orange zest and lemon zest and juice and whisk together to combine. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper, as needed. Set aside until ready to use.
- In a large mixing bowl toss together baby arugula, candied pecans, avocados, pomegranate seeds and ½ cup dressing. Then divide among 4 plates and serve immediately.
- Store extra dressing in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.