Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

This recipe is adapted from a recipe by POM Wonderful, a California pomegranate grower. The jumbo pomegranates now on the market yield 1-1/2 to 2 cups of arils (those tangy red seeds). Made with quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) it is nutty, crunchy, gluten free and looks fabulously festive.

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup pomegranate arils
1 cup cucumber in ¼” dice, drained
½ cup green bell pepper in 1/4” dice
½ cup chopped green onions {including green parts}
¾ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted in pan
¾ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted in pan
¾ cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped mint leaves
¼ cup each of – lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Rinse quinoa in sieve under cold water (without this step, quinoa can taste bitter). Bring water to boil on high heat. Stir in quinoa. Return to boil. Turn heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Turn off heat, cover and let pot sit on burner for 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff. Cool to room temperature.

Put quinoa in large bowl. Add pomegranate, cucumber, green pepper, green onions, almonds, parsley, cilantro and mint. Toss gently.

In large measuring cup, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa mixture, toss gently to combine. Makes about 7 cups.