Pomegranate juice is a wonderful sweet and tart addition to a vinaigrette salad dressing. This recipe mixes up in just 5 minutes with no fancy tools needed and provides the perfect flavor balance to an arugula or kale salad.
Pomegranate juice – I have used sweetened and unsweetened pomegranate juice and either one works. But I prefer the unsweetened which allows for better control over the sweet level. If you use sweetened juice, omit the agave and expect that you may need to add a little extra salt and/or vinegar to balance the flavor.
Extra virgin olive oil is the bitter flavor element giving this recipe the perfect combination of salty, sweet bitter and sour. Combining flavors like this is what makes foods taste GREAT. Olive oils vary widely in their flavor, so again, adjustments to the recipe are expected. See below for advice to adjust the flavors.
Apple cider vinegar – Apple and pomegranate are great flavor complements and the slight sweetness of apple cider vinegar. Other types of vinegar will work too but I don’t recommend balsamic vinegar as it’s strong flavor will overpower the pomegranate. White balsamic, red or white wine vinegar and champagne vinegar are all good replacements.
The addition of some yogurt or sour cream will help to emulsify this vinaigrette (keep the oil and vinegar from separating). It will not make it a creamy dressing, but will give it more body. I am mostly dairy-free so I use Kite Hill Almond Milk yogurt. Use your favorite unsweetened yogurt or sour cream.
Agave is my sweetener of choice for dressings. There’s no need to worry about it dissolving (like sugar) so it incorporates easily. Maple syrup, honey are great options too.
A vinaigrette is such a great salad dressing because it combines salty, sweet, sour and bitter. And when you combine 2 or more of these four flavors, it makes our taste buds call out for more.
Vinaigrettes lean more towards the sour but this is not a rule. I am a big advocate of making things taste the way YOU like. It is extremely easy to adjust the flavor to your preference by adding a little more of one or two ingredients. So once you have mixed up the recipe as is, taste it and flavor it to your liking. The key is to add just a little bit, taste, stir and taste again. You can always add more, but taking it out is not so easy!
- Is it too sour? Add a tablespoon of oil and a pinch or two of sweetener or pomegranate juice (if you’re using sweetened juice).
- Is it too sweet? Add a couple of teaspoons of vinegar and a pinch or 2 of salt.
- Too bitter? Add a couple of pinches of salt. Sweet and sour will also balance bitterness but I think salt does the best job. If you think the vinaigrette already has enough salt, add a little sweetener and vinegar (1-2 tsps).
- Do you prefer it more sour? Add a teaspoon or 2 of vinegar.
- Is it missing something you can’t quite figure out? Add a couple of pinches of salt. That usually does the trick, but vinegar and sweetener can be great flavor enhancers too.
- ⅓ c pomegranate juice unsweetened preferred
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp yogurt or sour cream, optional will help to keep the vinaigrette from separating
- 2 Tbsp agave, maple syrup or honey omit if using sweetened pomegranate juice
- ¼ Tbsp minced shallot or 1/4 tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ c extra virgin olive oil
- Place all of the ingredients, except the oil, into a mixing bowl.
- Use a wire whisk or fork to beat well, until it is cloudy and foamy.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil.
- Taste and adjust flavors as needed. See above "Vinaigrette Flavors" section for guidance on balancing the flavors to your preference.
- This vinaigrette will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least 1 one week. If the olive oil solidifies after refrigerating, heat it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.