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Chopped salad with spinach, pomegranate seeds, mango, apples, and pears

Chopped salad with fruit, pomegranates, nuts, and Gorgonzola cheese

I love pomegranate seeds and eat them pretty much as is, as a mid-day snack, but I also started looking for good recipes that call for actual pomegranate seeds. I just found and tested this one from Epicurious.com, and it is a keeper! Everybody who tried this salad so far has been in awe. And because it’s so colorful and festive and has lots of seasonal fruit (apples and pears) plus pomegranates and hazelnuts, I will be serving it this Christmas!

This salad is good on so many levels. First of all, the combination of flavors is out of this world! It’s fruity, tarty, crunchy, sweet and sour – all at the same time! It’s like a fruit salad, but with a big savory side coming from spinach and Gorgonzola cheese. Pomegranates with their unusual sweet-tart flavor add their own amazing dimension. Definitely serve it with the cheese – the Gorgonzola cheese to this salad is akin the icing to the cake.

Second, the salad is very versatile. In place of spinach, you can use any other salad greens: baby greens, romaine hearts, Arugula. You don’t have to use Fuji apple – any sweet, firm apple will do. Same goes for Asian pear – use any firm pear (not overly ripe, you want pear slices to keep their nice square shape).

Chopped salad with fruit, pomegranates, nuts, and Gorgonzola cheese

I also found that you could actually eat this salad without dressing, especially if your salad has been refrigerated for several hours: the fruit from the salad produces juices and if you mix the refrigerated salad, you might decide not to use any dressing at all! Or you might use very little. Or a lot. Mix the salad and taste it and decide for yourself. I actually ate it without any dressing the next day, which makes the salad even healthier!

Here are the changes I made to the original recipe on Epicurious.com. I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, because I like balsamic vinegar so much better in a salad dressing. I omitted shallots in the dressing, omitted red cabbage (don’t like either in a fruit salad) and decided not to coarsely chop hazelnuts but keep them whole, for more crunch. Also, instead of blue cheese, I am using Gorgonzola cheese, which in my experience is milder and suits salads much better than blue cheese.

Chopped salad with fruit, pomegranates, nuts, and Gorgonzola cheese

Chopped salad with spinach, pomegranates, mango, apples, pears, and Gorgonzola cheese

This recipe is adapted from this one from Epicurious.com.

Prep time: 35 min

Salad Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 Fuji apple, cored, diced
  • 1 Asian pear, cored, diced
  • 1 mango, peeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted, husked
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey

1) In a large salad bowl, combined chopped spinach, diced apple, dice pear, diced mango, hazelnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Mix ingredients well.

2) To make salad dressing: in a separate small mixing bowl, mix vinegar with olive oil, honey, whisking until emulsified.

3) Add dressing to the salad and toss until well mixed. Top with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.

Chopped salad with fruit, pomegranates, nuts, and Gorgonzola cheese

Note: When I made this salad, we ate only portion of it for lunch, and I placed the rest of the salad (without dressing) in the refrigerator. By dinner time, the juices from the fruit moistened the salad so well, I didn’t even have to use the dressing! It was great as is, without any dressing. So, if you plan to keep the portion of the salad refrigerated, mix the salad really well and taste it before adding salad dressing – it might not need any.

Chopped salad with fruit, pomegranates, nuts, and Gorgonzola cheese

More recipes with pomegranate seeds:

Participating in the Bookmarked Recipes Event hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes.

{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Christin@fortmillscliving December 4, 2012, 6:31 am

    Gorgeous Salad Julia! Love the combination of flavors and that you kept the hazelnuts whole. Going to try that- at first I thought they were chickpeas in the picture.

    • Julia December 5, 2012, 1:45 pm

      Ha-ha, they do look like chickpeas, but I can guarantee you they’re hazelnuts. :). I’ve been husking them for hours, what a pain! Next time, I’ll buy them already husked.

  • Ashley December 4, 2012, 7:00 am

    Love this salad! I need more salad in my life right about now – too many cookies, cakes, candies… the list goes on.. haha

    • Julia December 5, 2012, 1:45 pm

      I feel the same way! That’s why I am loading on pomegranates and greens :).

  • Laura Dembowski December 4, 2012, 10:03 am

    Chopped salads are so good! I made one in the food processor the other day with carrots, cabbage, zucchini, and Brussels sprouts with a vinegar based dressing. Pomegranate seeds would have been a great addition.

    • Julia December 5, 2012, 1:46 pm

      Brussel sprouts, carrots in a food processor – that sounds so yummy! I’ve got to try that!

  • Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen December 4, 2012, 2:44 pm

    This looks delicious, Julia! I hardly get the chance to use pomegranates, but they’re like 39 cents at Aldi this week, which pretty much means I’ll be having some in a few days! Plus, my daughter adores them. The only downside is I’m the one who ends up peeling them…

    The salad looks delicious!

    • Julia December 5, 2012, 1:48 pm

      That’s a good price!

  • Katie December 5, 2012, 10:49 am

    I could eat salad every day and this one is definitely pretty enough to eat. My daughters love it when I make a chopped salad. They call it “Goodies Salad” because it less about the greens and more about the goodies that they’re mixed with. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julia December 5, 2012, 1:49 pm

      I haven’t made chopped salads in a while, so with this one, I’ll be making them them regularly again: so easy, pretty, and delicious.

  • Nik@ABrownTable December 5, 2012, 2:07 pm

    I’ve been having such a hard time finding whole or any kind of hazelnuts here. Any suggestions on what I could substitute in this beautiful and colorful salad ?

  • Christine @ Cooking Crusade December 5, 2012, 8:31 pm

    What a great combination of colours and flavours :)

  • Baltic Maid December 5, 2012, 8:52 pm

    I love the combination of flavours. What a beautiful, tasty, and healthy salad!!!

  • Simone December 5, 2012, 11:20 pm

    Ah that is à salad close to my heart as it has a lot of my favorite ingredients in there. I have in fact still pomegranate, hazelnuts and arugula in de the fridge so I might go along and make something similar for lunch!

  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies December 6, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Ahh, such a beautiful salad! I can’t get enough pomegranates right now–this looks like the perfect way to use them!

  • Jacqueline December 30, 2012, 4:06 am

    That looks really fresh and delicious Julia. It isn’t flavours I have thought to put together in a salad before, but I can almost taste it looking at that mouth watering photo and it tastes good.

  • Kathy January 17, 2014, 11:56 am

    Easy way to get pomegranate seeds out. Cut in half. place cut side down on cutting board. Bang on outside with something hard, mallet, etc.. Seeds come right out!

    • Julia January 17, 2014, 2:34 pm

      Hi Kathy, thank for the tip – I’ll have to try it out to save myself some time. Even though the pomegranate might not like it if I bang it with something hard on the outside. :)

  • Ch Wheeler January 17, 2014, 4:59 pm

    Your sight looks really interesting! Can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

  • Ch Wheeler January 17, 2014, 5:01 pm

    Your website looks interesting! Can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

  • Anne June 2, 2014, 11:08 pm

    I love this salad so much; I’ve already made it at least 3 times and am eating while I type! As I chop the fruit I put the dice into a bowl with a juiced lemon and water. That helps keep the apple/pear from browning. I’ve been using candied pecans. Pomegranate seeds make this salad though; once Trader Joe’s didn’t have them and I used blueberries and it was a bit of a dud. It makes a great office lunch for about four days.

    • Julia July 8, 2014, 3:03 pm

      Anne, I love this salad too! In the winter, I eat it all the time! Keeping the fruit in a bowl with juiced lemon and water is a great idea to keep fruit from browning! Candied pecans sound delicious in this salad – I’ve got to try that version! :)

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