Largely misunderstood in the fruit world as being tedious and enigmatic, the pomegranate's nourishing ruby seeds are worth every effort. Whether used fresh, as juice, or molasses, their sweet, tangy punch is a fitting — albeit surprising — complement to more than just your breakfast smoothie. Spice up your superfood game with seven out-of-the-box recipes that have the power to change the pomegranate's image for good.
RELATED: How To Eat Pomegranates The Un-Messy Way
Yogurt Pancakes With Pomegranate
1 egg white
1/2 cup plain yogurt, low- or non-fat is fine
3 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Maple syrup, warmed, for serving
Separate the egg. Combine the 1 egg yolk in a small bowl with the yogurt, flour, and vanilla extract. Stir well with a fork. In a larger bowl, beat the 2 egg whites, sugar, and salt until they are fluffy and hold a soft peak. Scrape about a third of the egg whites into the egg yolk-yogurt mixtures and stir to lighten. Very gently, fold in the rest of the egg whites, trying not to deflate them.
Melt the butter in a small nonstick pan over medium-low heat. When the pan is hot, add half of the batter. Cook three to four minutes, until brown, then flip and cook three to four minutes on the reverse side. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. Top with pomegranate seeds, syrup, and a thin slice of butter. Serve with syrup.
1 whole pomegranate, skin and pith removed
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cups red wine
2 large red onions, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 lemon, sliced or roughly chopped, with the skin
1/2 tsp salt
1 boneless leg of lamb, 4-5 lbs before boning
Place the pomegranate seeds, oil wine, onions, garlic, pepper, lemon, and salt in a food processor, and process until the onion is finely chopped. Rub the pomegranate marinade into the lamb, and put the lamb and the rest of the marinade in a sealed Ziploc bag or a covered dish. Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using 4-5 pieces of kitchen twine, roll and tie the lamb into a roughly cylindrical shape, which will allow it to cook more evenly and carve more nicely. Place the tied lamb on a rack over a roasting pan.
Roast about 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 degrees, and roast an additional 12-15 minutes per pound, or until an internal thermometer reads 130 degrees. Ovens vary, but lamb should never be overcooked or cooked until medium. That defeats the entire point. The end pieces will be more well done. Let the lamb rest before carving, then remove the twine and slice into thick tranches. (You can also skip the rolling and tying, and grill the lamb on a grill for about 12 minutes a side instead of roasting.)
RELATED: How To Use Pomegranates In Every Meal
1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed, and halved or quartered lengthwise (halve the thin carrots, quarter the fat ones)
1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Pinches Turkish or Syrian red pepper (such as Aleppo pepper) or cayenne
1 tsp pomegranate molasses or 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, basil, or parsley
Preheat the oven to 425F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with the oil, salt, and red pepper or cayenne. Spread them out in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes, stir well, and roast for 10 more minutes. Then remove from the oven and drizzle with the pomegranate molasses; toss gently to coat the carrots with molasses. Roast until the carrots are golden and soft, about five more minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro.
RELATED: Coconut-Ricotta Mousse with Pistachio and Pomegranate
2 cups walnuts 1 packed cup of grated (raw) or pureed (cooked) butternut squash or pumpkin
2 1/2 cups water
10-12 dried golden plums (optional)
6 pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs (all visible fat trimmed)
1 medium onion, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast in a 350-degree oven for five to 10 minutes or until they start to change color. Let cool. This can be done ahead of time. Finely chop the walnuts to a coarse meal in a food processor. Put the walnuts, grated squash or pumpkin, dried plums (optional), and water in a medium pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice. Put the minced onions and olive oil in a small pot. Roll the chicken thighs and place them seam-side down on the bed of minced onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until the onions start to caramelize. Add the pomegranate molasses to the walnut sauce. Add brown sugar, one tablespoon at a time, to the desired sweetness.
Remove the chicken thighs to a side plate and scrape off the caramelized onions into the walnut sauce. Stir and adjust for the desired saltiness and sweetness. Place the pieces of chicken in the sauce. Cover the pot and simmer over medium low heat for another 60 minutes. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water.
Note: The sauce should not be too thin. If it is thinner than desired, leave the cover off during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. Serve over parboiled and steamed Basmati rice. Left over khoresht (stew) freezes well.
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp sherry or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
For The Salad
4 cups arugula, lightly packed
4 cups romaine, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
3 ounces fresh goat cheese or feta, crumbled
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
In a small bowl combine the shallot, pomegranate molasses, vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil and let vinaigrette stand at room temperature until salad is assembled. Combine the arugula, romaine, pears, and half of the pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Crumble half of the goat cheese over the ingredients in the bowl (this works best if the cheese is very cold).
Whisk the vinaigrette until uniform and add all but 2 tablespoons of it to the bowl. Gently toss the salad with your hands or salad tongs, coating the ingredients well with the vinaigrette. If the salad seems dry, add the vinaigrette in small increments until it is dressed to your liking. Crumble the remaining cheese over the salad and sprinkle the remaining pomegranate seeds and the pistachios over the top. Serve immediately.
1 bottle of red wine (low-mid range zinfindels and cabs work well)
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick (Mexican cinnamon is particularly nice)
1 tsp whole cloves
Combine all of the ingredients in a large heavy pot, like a dutch oven, or your crock-pot. Stir well to dissolve the honey, slowly warm over low heat, without boiling. Keep it barely hot all day, topping up with more wine, juice, and honey, for guests, or down it in one go. No judgement. Serve in mugs or thick, heat-safe glass, with a big plate of gingersnaps.
12 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, divided 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp pomegranate molasses 1/2 cup granulated white sugar 1/2 cup pistachios, roasted and then chopped very finely
Add 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and the heavy cream to a small mixing bowl. In a small saucepan bring about one inch of water to a gentle simmer. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan and stir gently until the chocolate has melted. Take it off the heat and mix in 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses. Let it chill in the fridge for two hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. After two hours, scoop out the chocolate mixture using a teaspoon and gently roll it in between your palms to create as much of a round shape as possible. The chocolate will start to smear your palms, so work quickly! If you cannot get perfect rounds and end up with knobbly shapes, don't worry — they are called "truffles" after all! Lay them out on the parchment lined baking sheet. Mine were about the size of blackberries. Chill them in the fridge for another one to two hours.
While the truffles are chilling in the fridge, make the pomegranate sugar for coating. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 teaspoon of the pomegranate molasses thoroughly. Since it is such a sticky mixture, I used my fingertips to mix it in evenly. It is going to look and feel like brown sugar, but it is going to have an incredibly zingy taste! Spread out the pomegranate sugar on a small plate. Spread out the roasted and chopped pistachios on another small plate. I also had a third plate where I mixed some of the sugar along with some of the chopped pistachios in equal proportions. When the truffles have hardened up in the fridge, start making the final coating of chocolate. Using another small double boiler, melt 3 ounces of the bittersweet chocolate. Take it off the heat as soon as it has melted and then add the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate, stirring well until everything has melted. Make sure the chocolate has cooled slightly since having taken off the heat — if it is too warm, it'll just melt the truffles as you try to coat them!
Take the truffles out of the fridge. The easiest way I found of coating the truffles was to scoop some of the melted chocolate in a tablespoon and then roll the truffle in it and then drop it on a slotted spoon and shake off the excess chocolate. I gently tossed the truffles back and forth between the tablespoon and slotted spoon a couple of times to make sure that it was coated well and the excess chocolate had dripped off. Now, roll it around the pomegranate sugar or the chopped pistachios or the mixed plate. It is going to be a messy job, the chocolate will smear, so work as fast as you can. Lay it on the parchment covered baking sheet. Chill the truffles again for one to two hours in the fridge. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
NEXT: Kale Salad With Roasted Sweet Potato, Avocado, And Pomegranate Seeds
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Our 7 Favorite Ways To Eat Pomegranate.
Food52 helps people become better, smarter, happier cooks. Food52 was named 2012 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation and won Best Culinary Website at the 2013 IACP awards.