Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Winter Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

This hearty salad combines sweet, savoury and tangy flavours for a refreshing dinner accompaniment.  

Recipes: Ruth Pretty  Styling & photos: Carolyn Robertson

Serves – 6


3 large red onions, peeled, cut into wedges
¼ cup olive oil
3 pears, cored, cut into quarters and then sliced into 3 or 4 slices per quarter
½ teaspoon flaky salt
2 avocados, peeled, cut into chunks
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
100g spinach leaves, washed and dried
1 cup fresh walnut halves, lightly toasted
Candied Beetroot (recipe follows)
Mustard Cherries (recipe follows)
Pomegranate Dressing (recipe follows)


Heat oven to 170°C. Mix the onions with half the oil and spread over a shallow tray. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes until tender and beginning to brown.
Toss the pear slices in the remaining oil and sprinkle with salt. Tip onto an oven tray and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

When the onions and pears are cool, cover and refrigerate until required, removing them 30 minutes before serving. Drizzle the avocado with lemon juice and toss to coat.

Divide the spinach between six serving bowls. Arrange the onions, pears, avocado, walnuts, beetroot and cherries on top (not all the beetroot or cherries will be needed). Serve Pomegranate Dressing in a jug at the table.

Candied Beetroot

Put 500g (2 to 4) peeled and grated beetroot, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and the finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange into a pot set over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the beetroot is soft and the sauce is sticky. Cool and use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

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Mustard Cherries


170g frozen pitted cherries
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1½ teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup brown sugar
½ cup white wine vinegar
1½ cups red wine


Put all ingredients in a small pot set over medium/high heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until cherries are soft and juices are slightly sticky. Cool and use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

Pomegranate Dressing

Whisk together 2 cloves of crushed garlic, ⅓ cup pomegranate molasses, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt and ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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