Salads and Dressings

Big Salad with Caramelized Pumpkinseeds, Pears, and Pomegranate

Recipe credit: New Vegetarian (Chronicle Books, 2009) by Robin Asbell. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.


  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw pumpkinseeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small pomegranate
  • 1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 large Bosc pears, sliced
  • 4 ounces pecorino cheese, sliced


  1. Heat the 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil over high heat for 1 minute in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the pumpkinseeds and toss in the pan until the seeds are popping and browning, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar, tossing continuously until seeds are coated with melted sugar (careful—it will burn easily). Quickly mix in chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and salt, then spread the mixture on a plate to cool. Let cool completely and store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week until ready to use.
  2. In a food processor, mince the garlic and mint (if using). Add the pomegranate juice concentrate, lemon juice, honey, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pulse to mix. With the machine running, gradually drizzle in the 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Set the dressing aside.
  3. Cut through the skin of the pomegranate from stem to tip, dividing the fruit in quarters. Hold it over a bowl and pull apart the sections, then tear apart the pieces, gently freeing the seeds. Slice across the Romaine leaves into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Arrange the greens on plates or in a large bowl. Top with the shallots, pears, and cheese. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with pomegranate seeds and pumpkinseeds. Serve immediately.
Time Level Yield
30 minutes Moderate 6 servings