The ruby pomegranate seeds look like little jewels in this couscous, arugula salad with pomegranates. This winter-time salad will be welcome at your holiday table.
The combination from the sweetness of the red pomegranates seeds and the spicy green arugula, plus the white Israeli couscous give this salad a festive holiday color. Creamy roasted butternut squash has been added along with crunchy toasted walnuts and a little saltiness from the Asiago cheese. We have used a light and tangy champaign vinaigrette that has a touch of honey and balances out the flavors in the salad.
Pomegranates have a short season and this salad is one way to take advantage of their delicious fruit. The technical name for the pomegranates pretty red fruit ‘seed’ is arils but I still call them seeds. It is a messy business to remove the seeds from the fruit and without gloves it stains the fingers. The seeded fruit is available in small plastic containers located in the cooled section of the produce area of grocery stores.
I have found that the pomegranate seeds freeze well which extends their deliciousness beyond their season. Last year we enjoyed our frozen pom seeds way into March.
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced into rings
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- Pomegranate seeds from 1 pomegranate (about 1 cup)
- 2 ounces Asiago cheese, diced
- 1/4 cup champaign wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F
- Add the squash to a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. The squash should be a little firm but tender. Allow to cool then refrigerate until chilled.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-size saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil, add the couscous and the salt, reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain in a mesh strainer and refrigerate until chilled.
For the Champaign Vinaigrette:
- Using a small canning jar, add the champaign wine vinegar, olive oil, grated garlic, honey and season with the salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake to combine.
- To assemble the salad:
- In a shallow salad bowl add the arugula, chilled couscous and roasted squash, the red onion slices, walnuts, pomegranate seeds. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle the diced cheese over the top of the salad and serve.
If you don't want buy a fresh pomegranate the arils (seeds) can be found in small containers usually in the cool section of the produce area of grocery stores.