Big Salad with Caramelized Pumpkin Seeds, Pears, and Pomegranate

From the book New Vegetarian by
Serves 6

Culinate recipe editor’s note: There are so many tasty elements to this salad — spicy, sweet, and sour — that if you leave out the cheese, you won’t miss it at all.

Serve the salad alongside steamed tamales or roasted chicken, or feature it front and center, with bread and cheese on the side. If you can’t find pomegranates, substitute dried cherries or cranberries. And, finally, you might want to double the amount of pumpkin seeds and save half for snacking. They’re addictive!


This is a great wintertime salad, with the pomegranates that only appear around the holidays and warming pears and pumpkin seeds. Vegans can just leave out the cheese and enjoy the crunchy spiced seeds instead.

To take the seeds out of the pomegranate, cut through the skin from stem to tip, dividing the fruit into quarters. Hold the fruit over a bowl and pull apart the sections, then tear apart the pieces, gently freeing the seeds.


Pumpkin seeds

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cinnamon


1 large garlic clove, peeled
2 Tbsp. fresh mint (optional)
2 Tbsp. pomegranate-juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup toasted pumpkin-seed oil


1 large head of romaine lettuce
2 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 large Bosc pears, sliced
4 oz. Pecorino cheese, sliced
1 small pomegranate, seeds removed


  1. Make the pumpkin seeds: Heat the oil for a minute in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss in the pan over high heat until the seeds are popping and browning, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar and toss constantly until the seeds are coated with melted sugar (be careful; the sugar will burn easily). Quickly mix in the salt and spices, then spread the seeds on a plate to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  2. Make the dressing: Mince the garlic and mint (if using) in a food processor. Add the pomegranate concentrate, lemon juice, honey, and salt, and pulse to mix. Gradually drizzle in the oil with the machine running.
  3. Make the salad: Wash and dry the romaine, then slice across the leaf in ½-inch-wide strips. Arrange on plates or in a bowl. Top with the shallots, pears, and cheese. Drizzle over the dressing and top with the pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. Serve right away.


You can make the pumpkin-seed topping up to a week ahead.

This content is from the book New Vegetarian by Robin Asbell.