This is such a festive and yet simple salad that’s especially fitting for the holiday season when you’re likely to look for showy but not work-intensive dishes. The jewel-like pomegranate seeds that sometimes seem to be lit from within really liven up the dining table. That the individual components are easy to put together is just icing on the cake.
Radicchio is a cold season veggie, and has a touch of bitterness that pairs well with sweet salad fixings and dressings. It can also be grilled or pan-fried briefly in a bit of olive oil to take some of the bitter edge off, if you like. Pair with some scrambled eggs and you’ve got a healthy, scrumptious breakfast. Pile on those antioxidants!
To serve 3-4, you need
1 head radicchio, trimmed and separated into leaves, the leaves torn into smaller pieces if you like, rinsed and spun-dry
The seeds from 1 pomegranate
To make the tahini sauce, you need:
2/3 cup tahini (I like this one)
1/2 cup water
the juice of 1 medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a large pinch of salt (this is optional — I’ve found that the garlic doesn’t clash with the pomegranate in this recipe, but you can leave it out if you don’t agree)
salt to taste
A couple of notes on the tahini sauce: People seem to either love or hate tahini, as it’s such a strong flavor, especially if made with garlic. I love the contrast it brings to this salad in terms of flavor and color, but if you don’t like tahini sauce, you can leave it out altogether and the salad will still work.
Also, the recipe above produces a little over a cup of sauce, so you’ll have extra. You can either halve or even quarter the recipe if you don’t want that much sauce, or save for another use. Tahini sauce makes an excellent dip for crudites, and as a foil for grilled/roasted meats. It’s yummy especially on nightshades — tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers.
To make the vinaigrette, you need:
Equal parts pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar
Olive oil, equivalent amount to the molasses/vinegar combination
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
So for a cup of dressing, you’ll use 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Run in a blender, or shake in a jar, or whisk in a bowl until combined well.
In a large bowl, toss the sauce and the dressing with the radicchio leaves and the pomegranate seeds, and serve.
You can also turn this into a coleslaw type dish and use red cabbage instead.
Roasted red beets would also make a great addition.