How to easily (and cleanly) open a pomegranate, and a salad to work it into your holiday menu

In today's "Home with the Lost Italian," Sarah Nasello shares her tip for opening a pomegranate and putting it to good use in a delicious, nutritious salad.

Festive, bright and beautiful, Sarah's Pomegranate Pecan Citrus Salad is a delicious, healthy and easy way to celebrate the flavors and colors of the holiday season. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Pomegranates are now in season, and this gorgeous ruby red fruit is the perfect fruit to work into your holiday menu. After all, ‘tis the season for fruits and nuts, and this Pomegranate Pecan Citrus Salad is an elegant and simple way to showcase the colors and flavors of the holidays.

Color is definitely on display in this festive salad, which features a great spectrum of colorful ingredients including mixed greens, clementines, red onion, toasted pecans, Gorgonzola cheese and pomegranate arils.

Ruby red, tart and crunchy, the arils are the seeds of the pomegranate, and they can be eaten raw or processed into a juice. The arils enhance the texture and appearance of this salad, and also give it a spectacular punch of sweet-and-sour flavor.

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and a good source for fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, potassium and even a bit of protein. These nutrients can be helpful in reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure, and may even help to protect us from certain kinds of cancers.

Pomegranates are a terrific fruit to add to your winter diet regimen, and at the end of this article I share a great trick for extracting the arils from the pomegranate that is easy to follow and works like a charm, every single time.


Use a sharp knife to remove the crown from the pomegranate. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Once you find out how easy it is to open a pomegranate without butchering the fruit and making a grand mess, you will be looking for new ways to enjoy this winter fruit.

We enjoy this winter salad with a lively citrus vinaigrette that features a blend of clementine and lemon zest, garlic, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and good extra-virgin olive oil. Vinaigrettes are an oil-based dressing, and there are two tips to keep in mind to ensure the best result.

First, since the oil is also a flavor component, it’s important to use a quality oil, like Mistra Estates Greek extra-virgin olive oil, which has superior flavor and texture compared to simple olive or vegetable oil.

Second, the oil must be added to the vinaigrette in a slow, steady stream while whisking vigorously until emulsified (fully incorporated). The dressing is easy to make and can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for at least a week. Excellent with salads, this vinaigrette also works well with chicken, pork and fish dishes.

Festive, bright and beautiful, this Pomegranate Pecan Citrus Salad is a delicious, healthy and easy way to celebrate the flavors and colors of the holiday season. Enjoy!

How to easily (and cleanly) open a pomegranate

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water about 2/3 full.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut off the pomegranate’s crown, and then score the outside into sections from top to bottom, about half an inch apart.
    Score the outside of the pomegranate into sections from top to bottom, about 1 inch apart. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
  3. Place the pomegranate over the bowl of water. Use your hands to separate the sections into the water and then loosen the arils from the white pulp while underwater. The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the rest of the fruit will float to the top. Discard everything but the arils, and then strain the water. The succulent, ruby red arils will be ready for you to eat and enjoy.
    Over a bowl of water, use your hands to split the sections of the pomegranate apart and extract the arils from the flesh. The water will catch the seeds as they fall from the fruit. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Pomegranate Pecan Winter Salad

PRINT: Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe

Serves: 4 to 6


Salad ingredients:

5 ounces mixed greens

4 clementines, peeled and sectioned

1 cup pecan halves, toasted

½ cup Gorgonzola crumbles

¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup fresh pomegranate arils

Vinaigrette ingredients:


1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil



Prepare the vinaigrette: Place all the dressing ingredients, except olive oil, in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Add the oil in a slow and steady stream, whisking continuously, until well-combined and emulsified. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 week. Shake well before serving.

If using a Mason jar to prepare the dressing, simply place all of the ingredients in the jar, including the olive oil, and shake vigorously until well-combined and emulsified.

Place the mixed greens in a large bowl and toss gently with half of the vinaigrette until evenly coated. Arrange the clementine sections, toasted pecans and red onions around the top of the salad. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and scatter the pomegranate arils around the salad. Serve and enjoy.

Sarah’s Tips:

  • Vinaigrette may be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  • The citrus vinaigrette is also excellent with chicken, pork and fish dishes.

Recipe Time Capsule:

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at


Cut the bottom off the pomegranate. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

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