Perky 3-P salad: Pomegranate, Pecans, and Onion?

I love salad. Growing up, we had some type of salad or vegetable with dinner every night. My dad also really likes salad. In the dead of winter, it might have been a plate of sliced cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes. In the summer, it would be a giant bowl of garden-fresh greens.

As a child, I never liked salad dressing. I always preferred to have a naked salad. I thought the dressing overpowered the clean flavor of the greens and made it difficult to taste each item individually. I usually just called it “icky.” The dressing also made the salad less crunchy. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to like salad dressing. I am still a bit particular about the dressings I like and am very judicious in how much I use. I like my salad to be scantily-clad.

This is the salad I served for Passover Seder. For this meal, you need a special salad, something that goes beyond the basic Monday-night side salad. I adapted this recipe from one in the February/March edition of Fine Cooking magazine. It seems strange to have a recipe for a salad. Shouldn’t it just be a bunch of raw vegetables thrown into a bowl? Perhaps. Yet this is so much more than that.

Salad with 3 P’s*
Serves 4-6
1/2 head of Romaine lettuce
1/2 head of Boston or Bibb lettuce
1 avocado
1/4 c. pecans
seeds from 1/2 of a pomegranate
1/4 red onion

2 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried mint
1/2 tsp. dried basil

1. Thinly slice red onion.
2. Soak onion in champagne vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes.

pickling the onions
3. Wash and dry lettuce. Tear into pieces.
4. Separate pomegranate seeds from white pith. Tip: wash seeds in a bowl of water, the white pieces will float to the top. Pat seeds dry.
5. Add pomegranate seeds and pecans to lettuce.
6. Cut avocado into cubes and add to salad.
7. Toss to combine ingredients.
8. Strain onions, reserving vinegar. Add onions to salad.
9. To champagne vinegar, add red wine vinegar and olive oil.
10. Whisk to combine.
11. Add salt, pepper, mint and basil to dressing.
12. Whisk to combine.
13. Dress salad and serve.

3 P salad - pecan, pomegranate, and pickled purple onion

Feta cheese or Parmesan shavings would be a tasty addition to this salad as well.

* If you were wondering what the 3 P’s are: Pecans, Pomegranate seeds and Pickled Purple Onion. Technically it’s a red onion, but I think the color is far closer to purple than red, don’t you?