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Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

November 12, 2012

Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

As Thanksgiving approaches and my list of things-to-cook grows ever longer– in some kind of cruel inverse proportion to the rapidly shrinking hours of daylight– I occasionally need to step back and reach for something simpler.

Simple as, say, a recipe with a mere three ingredients!

(Three or four, that is… sometimes I just can’t resist.)

How to cut a pomegranate

This salad is yet another dish that I associate with my family’s beloved winter solstice party.

I think perhaps my mom made it up? It’s a winter salad, just as much as an autumn one: sliced crisp pears, drizzled in fresh lemon juice, and tossed with crunchy tart pomegranate seeds.* My only innovation has been to add hazelnuts!

Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

Though by no means necessary, the chopped hazelnuts make a nice addition to the tangy lemon-soaked sweet pears and juicy pomegranate seeds. The nuts mainly contribute more textural variation along with a nice subtle, comforting flavor; I’m sure pecans would work nicely, too.

Pomegranate and bosc pears for a fall salad

Hazelnuts or not, this salad is irresistibly tart, crunchy, and sweet.

Pomegranate Seeds

The last time I made it, I was a bit heavy-handed with the lemon juice, but somehow after the first lip-puckeringly sour bite of crunchy pear and pomegranate, I enthusiastically dug in for a second bite and then a third.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

Maybe I was dehydrated– I don’t know; but the lemony dish was so inviting and fruity, I devoured a whole little bowlful of the stuff as if it were a cold glass of water at the end of a yoga class.

In other words, this salad is like juice you can eat with a fork.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

Oh, and it’s also great for dinner/holiday parties or as a side dish/dessert for Thanksgiving! (Almost forgot to mention that part…)

How to cut a pomegranate

* Love pomegranate seeds, but you’ve never extracted them yourself from an actual pomegranate? See the recipe below for a tip on THE BEST way to cut open a pomegranate (taught to me by a friend who used to have a pomegranate tree in her backyard!).

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

(Serves 4-6)

~ 4-5 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds (from 1/4 – 1/3 of a pomegranate)
~ 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste (less than half of one lemon)
~ 3-4 pears (preferably Bosc pears)
~ 2 Tbsp. hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

How to make it:

1. How to cut a pomegranate: Use a sharp knife to cut a circumference– less than 1/4 of an inch deep– around the entire pomegranate. Use your hands to gently pull the two halves apart. Then cut into fourths using the same method: place each half face-down and cut a groove across the middle of it, then gently pull the two quarters apart. Use your fingers to gently pull apart the sections within each pomegranate quarter, and to loosen the seeds into a bowl.

How to cut a pomegranateHow to cut a pomegranate

2. Juice the lemon and set the lemon juice aside. Then thinly and evenly slice the pears, and place them in a bowl or serving dish, gradually drizzling them with lemon juice as you add more pear slices, to keep them from browning. Toss to mix very gently (if necessary to evenly distribute the lemon juice).

Making Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

3. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds (gently mix again if desired). Top with a dusting of chopped hazelnuts, and serve.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts

Pomegranate aftermath

Related recipe posts:
> Pear Brown Butter Buckle
> Baked Brie with Fig Jam in Phyllo Dough
> Chayote Mango Salad with Avocado

47 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2012 8:34 am

    Looks wonderful Allison! I adore Bosc pears – what a lovely way to eat them!

    • November 12, 2012 9:01 am

      Thanks, Shira! I love Bosc pears, too. Actually, I didn’t say so in the blog post above, but I’m sure this would be great with Asian pears as well…

  2. November 12, 2012 11:13 am

    Great seasonal dish! Very simple….but we like all the flavors…

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    November 12, 2012 11:45 am

    Beautiful, easy, delicious salad, and perfect to prepare quickly on busy Thanksgiving day!

    • November 12, 2012 5:05 pm

      Yes! Especially if you cut apart the pomegranate (and store the seeds in an airtight container in the fridge) the day before Thanksgiving! :)

  4. November 12, 2012 12:26 pm

    What a delicate dish my friend but one which is more than bursting with flavour :)

    Choc Chip Uru

    • November 12, 2012 5:14 pm

      Thanks! It is definitely bursting with an inviting fruity flavor. It would probably be good even without the lemon juice, but somehow that flavor brings it all together…

  5. November 12, 2012 12:48 pm

    This looks and sounds amazing, I will give this a go as soon as possible. Pear and pomegranate, yum!

    • November 12, 2012 5:06 pm

      Yes, it’s a lovely combination! I always think of pears as a little tart, but they are really quite sweet compared to pomegranate seeds, so the result is a nice mix of sweet and sour.

  6. November 12, 2012 1:49 pm

    That sounds so sweet-tart-good! I love the photo at the bottom. And I’ll certainly try your peeling method next time–so far my most successful trick is to peel them outside in old clothes. :)

    • November 12, 2012 5:12 pm

      Thanks! I took that last photo on a whim, and almost didn’t post it, but I liked it too :)

      You might still want to wear old clothes (or an apron) even with my pomegranate-peeling technique… but at least this way (versus cutting the whole thing in half, like I used to do), you’re not actually cutting through the middle of any of the seeds, so you can pop most of them out intact! (Not that it’s not still messy! Especially if you start to get impatient while doing it…)

  7. November 12, 2012 4:47 pm

    Looks beautiful and delicious Allison! So easy too!

    • November 12, 2012 5:14 pm

      Thanks! That reminds me that I should tag this as “easy,” since you’re right about that! :)

  8. November 12, 2012 9:00 pm

    Looks great! I love pomegranates! Your site looks great, too, by the way.

  9. November 13, 2012 7:36 am

    Amazing dish, Allison! Simple, fresh and …the pictures are great.

  10. November 13, 2012 10:50 am

    I love it all :-)

  11. November 13, 2012 10:51 am

    Just g-o-r-g gorgeous, Allison! Love it!

  12. November 13, 2012 1:25 pm

    Fresh and palate cleansing. Looks good as well.

    • November 14, 2012 9:21 am

      Thanks! It definitely adds a nice fresh component to a Thanksgiving / wintertime meal…

  13. November 13, 2012 2:43 pm

    Omg allison I just had a pear spinach salad tody @ a lunch n learn & wondered how to ! Sure enough you come with a great super easy recipe that I abs must try. CAn you poach the Pears. Pl pl share if you can

    • November 14, 2012 9:23 am

      I’ve only made poached pears once! (In red wine…) I forget exactly how I did it, but I’ll have to investigate doing that again soon– maybe for New Year’s!

      Also I looove putting pears on salads with greens like spinach or arugula. I also like pears on Warm Goat Cheese Salad.

  14. November 13, 2012 3:42 pm

    Sounds wonderful and refreshing! I love pomegranates, but feel like I always get dissuaded by the work to actually get them out. Someone gave me the great tip to open them under water, which saves alot of the mess! I’m re-inspired to maybe add them to some of my salads now!

    • November 14, 2012 9:26 am

      Glad this recipe could re-inspire you, pomegranate-wise!

      That is an awesome idea to try opening them underwater!! I’m sure it eliminates the mess entirely, though then again that might be slippery, time-consuming work… My way is still messy, but at least you get almost all the seeds out whole, instead of cutting through some of them right down the middle.

      Anyway, pomegranates are totally worth the work. Especially because you can peel one at the beginning of the week, pour all the seeds into a tupperware, and then sprinkle them on salads (or whatever) throughout the week!

  15. November 13, 2012 7:58 pm

    This looks outstanding! I adore pears and pomegranates, but am not sure if I’ve ever tried them together. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • November 14, 2012 9:27 am

      Thanks! Pears and pomegranates are pretty divine together… I often think of pears as tart, but paired with the tart pomegranate seeds they taste very sweet in comparison… (that’s where the lemon juice comes in and pulls the whole thing together!)

  16. November 14, 2012 12:43 am

    Oh I can just imagine the combination of sweet and tangy flavours! So creative – I can’t wait to try! :-)

    • November 14, 2012 9:28 am

      Thanks! It’s really a lovely combination, that’s equal parts tart, fruity, and sweet. Hope you like it! :)

  17. November 15, 2012 8:44 pm

    I can just imagine how juicy and refreshing this gorgeous salad is! Thanks for sharing :-)

    • November 16, 2012 2:31 pm

      Thanks for commenting! :) It’s definitely one of my favorite salads at this time of year, and so very refreshing.

  18. November 16, 2012 4:24 pm

    Simple and delicious is exactly what I could use now. I would just as happily snap this up as a light dessert, too. As much as I love the grand feast that is Thanksgiving, it just gets to be too much at a certain point, and these clean flavors would cut through all the richness nicely.

    • November 17, 2012 5:20 pm

      Exactly! I think on Thanksgiving especially this would work well as a dessert– it would definitely be unique, refreshing, and palate-cleansing among all the other typical (pie) dessert offerings. (The day I made it for these photos, though, I enjoyed it as an afternoon snack :)

  19. November 18, 2012 12:22 pm

    A lovely, easy to compose & seasonal salad, Allison! Beautiful!

  20. petit4chocolatier permalink
    November 18, 2012 3:47 pm

    Perfect dish!!

  21. December 4, 2012 7:04 pm

    Yum! So glad I came over for a look – can’t wait to see more. Such beautiful colours!

  22. biggsis permalink
    December 5, 2012 11:35 am

    Beautiful and simple. And it looks very Christmas -y! Might try it on the Christmas table. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 6, 2012 9:36 am

      Thanks! And yes, I usually make it around that time of year (my mom often makes it for our winter solstice party) instead of in November. It’s definitely colorful and Christmas-y! Hope you enjoy it! :)


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