Pomegranate Green Salad with Tuscan Pomegranate Vinaigrette

I'm finding that a lot of people like green salads, but don't prepare them often enough. This lettuce salad is a delicious base salad that is super easy. When pomegranates are out of season, replace them with other fruit and/or avocados. For variety, the cheese can be substituted with other good-quality strong cheese like goat cheese or Romano cheese. You don't need a lot - a little bit of strong cheese goes a long way! The almonds can also be replaced with other types of nuts. The quality of the lettuce makes a big difference! I like really fresh, crispy Romaine lettuce that I buy at a farmer's market-type store year round. Sometimes I add other types of greens, diced red peppers, or use a vegetable peeler and quickly sliver a carrot stick into the salad for color and extra nutrition. Sometimes I add cucumbers, too, but I generally just keep it simple. The basic dressing is one part oil and one part balsamic vinegar, mixed with some dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Find your nearest olive oil store and buy olive oil and vinegar infused with herb or fruits. The quality of both is superior and usually everything in the store can be sampled, so you can find your favorites before you buy them. They make great gifts as well. Before you add the vinaigrette to the salad, put some aside for to-go lunches the next day. Only add a small amount of dressing to your salad! You can always add more, but you can't remove it; too much ruins a salad. With a strong cheese, salads don't need much dressing, and too much makes the last half of the salad soggy. Enjoy, and make more green salads year round!
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Salad Ingredients

10 large leaves of Romaine lettuce, washed and torn 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced (or to taste) seeds of 1 pomegranate (about 3/4 cup) 1/4 -1/2 cup feta cheese (good quality) crumbled (to taste) 1/2 cup almonds, slivered and toasted (to taste)

Vinaigrette Ingredients

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil infused with tuscan herbs 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (infused with pomegranates if possible) 1/2 tsp whole grain dijon mustard Juice of one pomegranate (about 2 to 4 tbsp) (optional) 1 - 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey (use only if you add pomegranate juice) salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette Directions

1) Add oil, vinegar, pomegranate juice (if using), salt, pepper, and mustard together in a container with a lid. Shake vigorously prior to using.

Directions

1) Toss all salad ingredients together with the exception of the almonds and half of the pomegranate seeds. Just prior to serving, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinaigrette to salad and toss again. Top with remaining pomegranate seeds and almonds. Enjoy!