Eat Smart: Pomegranate adds a healthful punch
Break open a pomegranate, and it’s easy to understand why the fruit is often called the jewel of autumn.
The arils inside, nearly bursting with juice, resemble shimmering rubies.
This is the season for pomegranates, and although their beauty attracts some, (many pomegranates find their way into Thanksgiving centerpieces and Christmas decor), the juice inside is the real gem.
Pomegranate juice contains three valuable types of antioxidants, plus vitamin C and potassium. The seed kernels are a good source of fiber, too.
In cooking, the juice can be reduced to syrup that adds a tart-sweetness to dishes, similar to balsamic vinegar.
The arils can be eaten as snacks or added to a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Sprinkling them on a salad is the easiest way for pomegranate novices to try them.
To obtain the juicy seeds without a lot of mess, score the fruit’s skin with a knife, then crack it open in a bowl of cool water. Loosen the arils — they’ll drop to the bottom of the bowl — while the creamy membrane floats.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the membrane and skin, then strain the water to drain the arils.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Pomegranate and Orange
Makes 1 serving
1 sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 4 ounces
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups mixed salad greens
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
1/4 cup mandarin orange slices, drained
1/2 tablespoon pecan halves and pieces
2 tablespoons pomegranate arils
Coat a grill pan with nonstick spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill about seven minutes, flip and continue to cook until chicken reaches 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from grill, let rest five minutes, then slice.
While chicken is cooking, toss salad greens with oil and balsamic, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mound dressed greens on plate, top with sliced chicken breast. Arrange oranges, nuts and arils on top.
If desired, garnish with a drizzle of extra balsamic vinegar.
Lisa Abraham is the food editor at The Columbus Dispatch.