Pomegranate Cranberry Qunioa Salad, Plus 13 Random Pomegranate Facts

Pomegranate Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Fair warning dear reader before I share my recipe for Pomegranate Cranberry Quinoa Salad, I'm going to get a little geeky on you.  When I sat down to write this post, I had so many different angles in mind on how I wanted to approach the subject of the pomegranate and I guess that's just a testament to how flippin' cool this winter fruit is.  Not only does it provide an amazing element of surprise to a dish, with it's deep ruby red exterior and burst of a combination of tart and tangy yet sweet juice that explodes on contact with biting down teeth, this fruit is chock full of a rich history.  Because I was personally curious, I thought I'd dig up some fun facts on the pomegranate:
  1. The pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits
  2. It is believed to be native to Iran
  3. Pomegranates were a symbol of fertility and were planted outside temples because their leaves were green year round, symbolizing eternal life
  4. Due to it's high nutrition content, the pomegranate is said to bring about emotional an physical peace
  5. Pomegranates were prominently featured in early Egyptian and Greek art
  6. Pomegranates play a role in Greek mythology and came to symbolize marriage in Greece, with married women wearing headdresses made of pomegranate leaves to signify their marital status
  7. In Buddhism, the pomegranate is considered to be a blessed fruit and one of the greatest gifts
  8. In early Japanese art, the pomegranate is often depicted as something used to ward off evil spirits
  9. In early European days, the pomegranate was a symbol more than a food.  Depicted in art, literature and most prominently in medicine
  10.  Henry VIII is said to have planted the first pomegranate tree in Britain
  11. Pomegranates were also heavily depicted by such famous artists as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali 
  12. The first Pomegranate plants in North America were planted in Mexico 
  13. Thomas Jefferson planted them in Monticello and attempts were made to plant them in New England colonies but harsh winters prevented them from growing (bummer)

See? Wasn't that fun? I'm a total sucker for the symbolism and unique food history.  Through in some myths and magic and superstitions and I'm hooked.  Nerd alert, right? Anyway, the real point of this post is not to go on and on with the history of Pomegranates (as fun as that was) but to provide you with my latest little creation utilizing them.  This has all the makings of a favorite recipe.  It's easy to make, doesn't include a crazy long list of ingredients, it looks impressive and most importantly, it's insanely delicious.  Oh, and it's healthy too if you're into that sort of thing.  Not to mention, this packages up perfectly for a nice little work lunch and it's delicious hot or cold.  Enjoy!

Pomegranate Cranberry Quinoa Salad
*Serves about 4

- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics the best)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Juice of 1/2 an orange
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbs slivered almonds

To make the quinoa, you can use one of two methods: rice cooker method or on a stovetop.  (You cook quinoa the same way you cook rice: using a two parts liquid to one part quinoa.) For the stove top method, start by bringing the chicken stock to a boil.  Add the quinoa, cover and reduce head to low.  Let the quinoa simmer until the liquid has evaporated.  For the rice cooker method, add the stock and quinoa cover and hit start.

Once the quinoa is done, set it aside and let it cool slightly.  Add some olive oil to prevent clumping.  Once the quinoa has cooled slightly, add the orange juice and cranberries.  Toss to combine, salt and pepper to taste.  Gently mix in the pomegranate seeds and top with almonds.  Serve either warm, room temperature or cold.  In addition, pulled chicken would be great in here or for an entirely vegetarian option, you could sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock.


art and lemons said...

Love this post and the encapsulated pomegranate history! The salad looks fantastic as well...

Megan said...

I never knew I could use my rice cooker for quinoa! Thanks for the tip. Now I will make it a lot more often. I love it, but every time I go to make it, I spend forever figuring out how I'm supposed to cook it. You'd think I'd remember by now.

The salad looks really tasty. I love pomegranates and agree they have such interesting history behind them.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I use my rice cooker all the time for rice and I've been cooking my quinoa in it too. It is so easy and no-fuss...and it gives you time to prep other ingredients while the quinoa is cooking!

Daisy said...

loved the little pom history lesson. stuff like that is cool and interesting to me to. I find I am always wiki-ing random food items lately! your creation looks yummy, although i have never had quinoa. (I know, what kind of blogger am i?)

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Love those facts! I am a nerd at heart and definitely enjoy learning about food history too. I love how anything with pomegranate looks so festive!

Shannon said...

love pom's! and i'm a fan of quinoa in the rice cooker, definitely speed things up :) this salad looks great... off to seed the pom's i just picked up!

Anonymous said...

Love poms! I have two on the counter just begging to be eaten. This dish looks awesome!

Kerstin said...

I've never cooked quinoa in my rice cooker before, that's a great idea, I can't get enough of it! Such a lovely way to feature pomegranates!

Alicia said...

I love quinoa - its such a versatile grain. I'd never thought to use pomegranates in a dish with it - what a great contrast of flavor and texture!

Chung said...

Looks very interesting...I hate to admit it but I have never had quinoa. (My confession for the day) However, this looks so good that this recipe will definitely be one of my next concoctions. Thanks again for always coming up with unique and tasty dishes!!

Jen said...

This looks AMAZING. Quinoa makes a great side dish. I've never bought a pom myself. This recipe might be enough of a reason to do so.

Boston Food Diary said...

When you told me about cooking quinoa in a rice cooker-I looked at you in shock in awe. I wanted to say that I am still in shock and awe over your find! Great idea SBK! And um yum to pomegranates-I heart when they are around!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

I love all of these facts! Pomegranates are so pretty and delicious. I wish I did more with them.

travel system strollers said...

It is a good food post. I really like your Pomegranate Cranberry Quinoa Salad recipe. Its looks so tasty and delicious.

spider veins said...

Wow.. It looks so good, this recipe will be my next mixture. Thanks again for Sharing this unique and delicious dishes!

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