This winter pomegranate salad recipe includes plenty of nutritious winter produce like kale, cabbage, pecans, and pomegranate arils. It's topped with a homemade orange-maple vinaigrette salad dressing.
It's filled with some of my favorite winter flavors, like pomegranate arils, candied pecans, and a tangy maple-orange vinaigrette dressing. Chopped kale and cabbage serve as the base, and can easily be subbed with any greens you have on hand.
Serve this winter salad at your next holiday meal, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years. It also makes a great side salad for a weeknight family meal at home. You may also enjoy my winter fruit salad recipe as a sweeter alternative!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Greens - Chopped kale and cabbage can be substituted with any greens you have on hand. Sliced brussels sprouts make a great substitute for cabbage.
- Candied pecans - Can be substituted with any candied (or not) nuts you can find, like walnuts or hazelnuts. Your candied pecans can be store bought or homemade. Try my recipe for candied pecans.
- Pomegranate arils - Add a hint of sweetness to the salad. Could be substituted with dried cranberries or raspberries if desired.
- Onions - Add flavor and crunch to the salad.
- Crumbled blue cheese - Can be substituted with feta cheese.
- Maple syrup - Can be substituted with honey.
- Olive oil - Serves as the base of the salad dressing.
- Orange juice & zest - Adds citrus flavor to the dressing. I don't recommend omitting these ingredients!
- Dijon mustard - Adds a bit of tang and flavor to the dressing and also acts as an emulsifier.
- Seasoning - Salt & pepper lightly season the dressing.
Tips and tricks
Chop into bite-size pieces - Chop your kale and cabbage into bite size pieces for easy eating.
Massage your kale - Kale is a very hearty, tough green, and needs to be scrunched around in the bowl before adding the rest of your ingredients. Take about one minute to scrunch the chopped kale with your hands to soften it slightly. Massaged kale will look slightly darker and softer.
Use a whisk - Give your dressing ingredients a good whisk to fully incorporate them together.
Frequently asked questions
Since this salad uses very hearty greens like kale and cabbage, it can be made ahead and served the next day. I'd recommend preparing your salad ingredients and dressing separately, then dressing the salad just before serving.
Leftover salad will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. However, it will wilt over time and is best served just after dressing.
You're welcome to use your own favorite salad dressing, store bought or homemade, instead of the listed homemade vinaigrette dressing.
Winter Pomegranate Salad
- 4 ounces curly kale
- 4 ounces cabbage
- ½ cup candied pecans
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- ½ red onion, diced
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Remove ribs from kale by slicing down each side of the rib with a knife. Then, chop kale leaves into bite size pieces and add to a large bowl. Massage kale leaves for one minute - lightly knead and scrunch leaves with clean hands until kale appears slightly darker and more tender. Chop cabbage and add to bowl with the kale. Last, add candied pecans, pomegranate arils, red onion, and blue cheese.
- In a separate bowl, add olive oil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine, then pour over salad ingredients and gently toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately.
- This recipe will make six side salads, or four larger lunch-sized salads.
- Salad is best enjoyed the same day, but will keep for two or more days in the refrigerator as a leftover.
- If making ahead, prepare salad and vinaigrette in separate bowls, then toss salad in dressing just before serving.