As much as I love indulging in rich festive food during the holidays, I look forward to returning to my salad days. Salads made with seasonal ingredients form an important part of Turkish cuisine and this refreshing spinach salad with jewel like pomegranates and seasonal chestnuts became a big hit with us.
Roasted chestnut stalls are a frequent sight in Turkey at this time of the year; straight from the roasting tin, I love their delicious, warming and comforting taste. You can use roasted or cooked chestnuts in this salad. Precooked chestnuts are also widely available in supermarkets these days. We often use nuts in Turkish cuisine; I also added some pine nuts to my salad and sautéed it with the cooked chestnuts, for a nice texture and a delicious bite.
The star of this salad is really the pomegranate seeds. Packed with goodness, antioxidants and a deliciously vibrant, sweet & tangy flavor, they just bring the salad together so nicely. A drizzle of pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi is my choice of salad dressing here; we use this dressing a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine, as in Kisir, Bulgur wheat salad with vegetables and Turkish hot pepper paste, or the Gavurdagi Salad of tomatoes, onions and walnuts. You may use a good quality balsamic vinegar instead, if you can’t get pomegranate molasses.
I hope you enjoy this easy, delicious and refreshing salad. Here is another idea; why not add some pomegranate seeds to plain yogurt, with some walnuts, dried apricots and a drizzle of honey for breakfast ? A delicious, wholesome start for the day 🙂
Serves 2 – 4
175gr / 6oz fresh spinach leaves, thoroughly washed and pat dried
½ red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2-3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
45ml/3 tbsp. pine nuts
110gr/4oz cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
30ml/2tbsp. olive oil
15ml/1tbsp pomegranate molasses
Seeds of a pomegranate, about 8oz / 1 cup (you can use less if you prefer)
Slices of crusty bread or Turkish pide (flat bread) to serve
Arrange the washed spinach leaves, sliced red onions and chopped celery in a salad bowl, combine well.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the cooked chestnuts and pine nuts. Gently sauté until pine nuts turn to golden brown (keep an eye on especially the pine nuts, as they burn quickly after browning).
Toss the sautéed nuts to the salad mixture and combine well. Drizzle the pomegranate molasses and stir in the pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately, accompanied by Turkish pide (flat bread) or some crusty bread. This salad also complements grilled fish and meat very nicely.
My Turkish Cooking Classes coming up in Weybridge- Surrey and Istanbul in February!
I am delighted to be teaching 2 Turkish cookery classes in February; on Saturday, 8th February, from 10am to 12 noon in Weybridge, Surrey and on Wednesday, 19th February at the Istanbul Culinary Institute in Istanbul.
From Feta Cheese Salad with red onions, tomatoes and spices to Stuffed Courgettes (Zucchini) with ground meat and chickpeas in Pomegranate Sauce and to Revani, Semolina sponge cake & More; Please join us to learn how to prepare delicious and wholesome Turkish Cuisine and artful use of spices.
You can find the details for the classes at this link, Ozlem’s Turkish Table – Cookery Classes. I would be delighted to have your company to share and enjoy Turkish cuisine together, if you’d like to join us. Participation is limited and early booking recommended.
i just love pomegranates! your mother is so cute. she looks like the actress sally fields!
Isn’t she 🙂 it was a joy to have her at the class 🙂
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Özlem, What a good idea to have a recipe for a salad with seasonal ingredients after the holidays. And having an abundance of pomegranates is a major reason why I love living in Turkey. How exciting that you’re going to be giving a cooking class while you’re here in Istanbul. Actually, I’ve never attended a cooking class but I’m going to see if it fits with our schedule. The culinary institute is very close to where we live. Love the sweet picture of you and your mother! Çok selamlar.
Merhaba Jolee, I do miss the abundance of pomegranates – and all the seasonal produce in Turkey!- and whenever I get them, it is a joy. Pomegranates are very versatile, I personally love having a handful as a snack – thanks to my dear dad, who patiently used to prepare the seeds for us when we were kids, now we prepare them with my children – I would be absolutely delighted to have you at my Istanbul Culinary Class, if you fancy joining us; I have been teaching there for quite a while now, it is a lovely set up and a great location. Look forward to seeing you at some point while I am in Istanbul in February, Cok Selamlar
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This is a Turkish recipe, based on kisir , a bulgur salad with tomato. Mine was adapted from Desert Candy , who adapted it from Food & Wine (January 2004) . The creamy bulgur is mixed with soft charred cherry tomatoes, crunchy toasted almonds and nutty, creamy chickpeas. Pomegranate seeds add flavour and pop. The dressing wraps everything together – sweet and tart from the pomegranate molasses, tart from the lemon juice and a bit of a kick from the Aleppo chili flakes. I loved it! The bulgur can absorb a lot of the dressing, so I dressed the salad just before serving.
Hi Mike, your salad sounds delicious; I loved the added texture that comes from the nuts and chickpeas – I am a big fan of pomegranate molasses, this sounds wonderful, afiyet olsun!
Ozlem, I love this dressing, it has the right blend of flavors…and pomegranate is a personal favorite:) We Parsis use it for our prayers. So excited for your upcoming cooking classes, I can vouch for how amazing and fun they are! XxPeri.
Dear Peri, thanks a lot – loved hearing that you use pomegranates in prayers, such a bountiful, special fruit. And many thanks for your kind support re the classes, look forward to them 🙂 Ozlem xx
Özlem, are you by any chance teaching in Istanbul beginning of May????
I am afraid May time doesn’t work due to kids’ school schedule, though I maybe in Istanbul in early April – around Easter holiday- if it works? Sorry to miss you in May, though it is a great time to be in Istanbul, have a lovely time!
I’m definitely keen on the idea of returning to salads and fresh, healthier foods. I need it. Happy new year.
I am with you Phil, happy new year to you too!
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Can you believe that as a child in England, we were taught that pomegranate seeds would give up appendicitis and we had to eat a pomegranate with a pin, spitting out each pip! Makes me laugh every time I slice one open.
That is hillarous: ) I knew many health benefits of pomegranate but not this way 🙂 My kids happy to gallup the whole thing though my husband is not keen on pips, I need to tell him this!:)
We love pomegranate in every kind of salad, specially in aubergine salad. It’s a magical fruit. Ellerine sağlık.
Cok tesekkurler; it’s indeed lovely with aubergine, patlican 🙂 Selamlar, Ozlem
Salad is my favourite.I love this very much.I really need it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014.
Glad you enjoyed the salad, it really is refreshing, happy new year to you too!