Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Feta and Pecans

I’d say it’s about we lighten up things a little, what do you think? After all, there’s only so much butter and sugar that one blog can handle. I’m talkin’ to you, stretchy pants.

As much as I love to play with my food, one thing that goes severely neglected is my salad creativity. I love to plan my meals in a particular way. First comes the proteins – buttery roasted chickens, perfectly pink steaks and citrusy salmons are faves. And then comes the carbs. Ohhh, baby. I see fluffy mashed potatoes, gooey mac ‘n cheese, and crisp, soft garlic bread in the cards. So, that often means that my veggies are an afterthought. Present, but not picked with carefulness… and usually just a boring salad. It’s gotta change, people.

Salad can be the star, too, OKAY?

Since I’ve been on a major sweet-salty kick lately (thanks to my little bun), this colorful winter salad was the perfect fit for getting my fix in a healthy way. Sayonara, salted caramel… at least for a couple hours.

Packed with creamy feta, Texas pecans, and a punch of sour-sweetness from fresh pomegranate seeds, all the flavors in this salad sang together in beautiful harmony! I tossed mine with a quick balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below), but your favorite dressing would definitely do the trick. I recommend a light oil-based dressing as opposed to creamier, though… you get enough of that from the feta!

Wait… who am I? Who is this person suggesting that you could have too much cheese?! Lesson learned: Don’t take my advice.

I digress.

Aren’t these pomegranate seeds so beautiful? Cracking into one every winter is something I genuinely look forward to. The splotchy pink stains on my white sweaters, not so much. But extracting these little burgundy jewels from their fruit is very satisfying to me. My friend Kelly from Just a Taste has a great tip for getting the seeds loose in her video, here. Saves so much time – and your cute sweaters from stains!

As part of HEB’s Primo Picks program, I was recently sent a huge stock of Texas-made goodies to sample. Tearing through it, each thing I found was better than the last! It was like Christmas! There were candy cane cookies, smoked gouda chips, sundried tomato pesto, and these perfectly chunky, crisp Texas pecans. I knew instantly what they inspired me to make – a fresh, wintery salad with lots of color and vibrant flavors!

Topped with pomegranate pearls, dollops of creamy feta, and an easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette, this light and healthy salad totally hit the spot. Toss it together for a quick weeknight meal and slide alongside a big fluffy roll. Or, serve this delicious salad as a starter for your upcoming special occasion meals! It’s a knockout beauty and totally scrumptious.

Plus, all those greens MUST offset dozens of buttery Christmas cookies, right?

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Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Feta and Pecans

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

For Salad:
6 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (from half of 1 fresh pomegranate)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) feta or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below), or your favorite

For Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

For Vinaigrette:

In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar with sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil gradually (or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine). Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

If not using dressing immediately, cover and refrigerate. Whisk or shake before use to redistribute ingredients.

For Salad:

Combine mixed greens in a large salad bowl with pomegranate seeds, feta/gorgonzola and pecan halves. Toss with half of vinaigrette before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding more of any ingredient or dressing.

Serve and enjoy!