Can you tell that I’ve had a recent surplus of pomegranate seeds on hand? Not that I am complaining though, as my local Costco only seems to get those already seeded packs in every once in a blue moon. I can’t help but take advantage of when they do because for one, seeding a pomegranate is a job in itself, and secondly, I value the convenience of not having to do it. Also on hand in large quantities is a big old box of oranges that I also got from Costco. Oranges are in season right now, and they are spectacular! I have eaten at least two, sometimes three, every single day for the past week. I seriously can’t seem to get enough!
Now let’s talk about this deliciously amazing, incredible salad. It is beyond good. You can use either quinoa or millet (I used millet), and either one will work great with this. As far as health benefits are concerned, this salad is FULL of them! Pomegranates alone have so many antioxidant and health benefits, it’s hard to list them all, but to give you an idea….
- Pomegranates have been shown to lower cholesterol
- Pomegranates have also been shown to lower blood pressure, which helps prevent both heart attack and strokes
- Punicalagins, which are the major component responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits, increase the speed at which heart blockages melt away
Aside from pomegranates, the oranges in this salad serve up some pretty fabulous health benefits as well. Oranges are renowned for their concentration of vitamin C, which we could all use a little more of around this time of year, and they add a perfect citrus flavor that makes this dish superb.
The raw, sliced almonds not only add a crunchy texture, but they also provide you with heart healthy fats and protein, as well as little energy boost to keep you going.
In addition to the pomegranate seeds, orange chunks and almonds, the cinnamon in this salad may provide the most health benefits of all, especially for those fighting off a cold, and more surprisingly, it can even help those who are struggling with candida. Ground cinnamon has long been considered both a spice and a medicine, and at one time, cinnamon was even considered to be more precious than gold (The Worlds Healthiest Foods). In traditional Chinese Medicine, cinnamon is renowned for its warming qualities, and has often been used to provide relief to those who have been faced with the onset of a cold or flu, as it helps stimulate circulation. As far as helping those with candida, the essential oils found in the cinnamon tree’s bark (cinnamon sticks) qualify it as an ‘anti-microbial’ food (The Worlds Healthiest Foods).
According to The Worlds Healthiest Foods, cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria, as well as the commonly problematic Candida. Candida is a strain of yeast that is currently the most common cause of fungal infections in the world. Candida’s job in the body is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption, but when it is overproduced due to antibiotics, a diet high in sugar, stress, etc., candida damages the wall of the intestine, which can lead to many different health problems, including, but not limited to digestion issues, skin issue, fatigue, fibromyalgia, brain fog, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. While candida overgrowth is typically treated with prescription medications such as fluconazole, also known as Diflucan, this medication is not always effective if the yeast has become resistant. A promising discovery was made when laboratory tests found that yeasts resistant to anti-fungal medications like fluconazole, were often, but not always, stopped by cinnamon extracts (The Worlds Healthiest Foods).
While I don’t always go off on the health benefits of a dish, I found the benefits of this particular one to be interesting given the season. This salad is full of immune system boosters, and with so many people getting sick this time of year, there is no better time then now to have your immune system functioning at its’ peak!
Talk about an easy way to get your vitamins in!
- 1 cup millet or quinoa; I used millet. If using quinoa, soak and rinse first.
- 2 cups vegetable broth; I use No Chicken Broth
- 8 pitted Medjool dates; coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
- ½ cup green onions; thinly sliced
- 2 navel oranges; 1 peeled with slices cut into chunks; 1 juiced
- ½ lime juiced
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup raw almond slices
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp. organic honey
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- In a large saucepan, bring millet and broth to a rolling boil. If using quinoa, bring broth to a boil separately, then add in rinsed quinoa.
- Cover millet/quinoa and reduce heat to medium/low and let cook for 15 minutes or until most of water is absorbed.
- When finished, remove millet/quinoa from heat but do not lift the lid if you are using millet. For millet, set timer for an additional 10 minutes and let millet set.
- When millet is ready, remove lid and gently fluff millet with a fork. Do not stir as it will change the texture of the millet. Let millet or quinoa cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped dates, pomegranate seeds, orange chunks, chopped parsley, green onions and sliced raw almonds. Stir to combine.
- Add in cooled millet or quinoa and gently stir to combine mixture.
- Sprinkle 2 tsp. worth of ground cinnamon over the salad and stir to combine. You may need to add in more cinnamon after you add your dressing depending on preference.
- In a small bowl, mix together the juice of 1 orange, ½ a lime, 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and 3 Tbsp. organic honey. Whisk until dressing is completely smooth. You should have about ⅓ of a cup total.
- Pour dressing over salad, starting with only a small amount at a time if using quinoa, as quinoa won’t absorb dressing as fast as millet will.
- Add more cinnamon if desired and maybe a dash of ground sea salt. stir to combine.
- Serve and enjoy!