Slightly sweet and totally tart, pomegranates are a great winter treat.
But not only does the fruit pack a ton of flavor, it’s also loaded with antioxidants known as polyphenols that combat free radicals — the unstable molecules that can damage your cells over time. Researchers say pomegranates can help prevent disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and inflammation.
The thing about pomegranates, though, is they can be a little messy as you cut them open and tap out the arils, the tiny, flavor-packed seeds in the center of the fruit. (The key to this though is to cut your fruit in half lengthwise and use a wooden spoon to firmly tap the seeds into a bowl. I recommend putting that bowl in the sink to reduce the juice from splashing!)
For a no-fuss way to incorporate this superfruit into your diet, though, grab a bottle of the best pomegranate juice and sip it straight or use it to add flavor to everything from salad dressings to salsas.
Ahead, fun ways to use pomegranate juice:
Make Salad Dressing
One of my go-to salads in the wintertime is a pomegranate salad that’s simple to throw together with mixed greens, a sharp goat cheese, pecans and tart, juice-packed pomegranate arils which you can buy or extract on your own. (An added bonus of pomegranates: The arils add a pretty jewel-red pop of color to salads.)
To carry through the pomegranate flavor, use the best pomegranate juice you can get (quality is key!) and whisk the juice with a little honey, vinegar, herbs and a pinch of salt. I like to use shallots in my dressing, too.
For some inspiration, POM has a couple of salad dressing recipes that incorporate the juice, including a honey vinaigrette and a soy-ginger dressing.
Craft a Cocktail (or Mocktail)
Because pomegranates are so tart, the juice works brilliantly in classic sour cocktails like a margarita, gin fizz or Tom Collins. The next time you make a margarita, sub in some pomegranate juice for the lime juice or add a splash in addition to it.
Pomegranate juice and gin can make a balanced two-ingredient cocktail. Or, if you’re participating in Dry January or simply want an easy-to-concoct mocktail, try topping some pomegranate juice with a sparkling water and a squeeze of orange.
Blend a Smoothie
Whether you’re on a green smoothie kick and you’re looking to add a splash of tartness to your drink or you want to try something creative, pomegranate juice is a perfect addition to your blended drinks and smoothie bowls. POM has a fun, Instagram-ready recipe for a layered pomegranate and green matcha smoothie that calls for frozen bananas, Icelandic-style yogurt, agave syrup and more.
Throw Together a Salsa
Pomegranates can also be an unexpected but delightful ingredient in a salsa. This recipe from POM uses pomegranate juice and arils with yellow bell peppers and jalapeño peppers for a bright salsa. In addition to dunking your chips in salsa, pomegranate salsas can be a great way to add some flavor to your air-fried salmon or some chicken breasts, too.
Whip up a Glaze
Glazes can take the proteins or vegetables in your meal from good to great. These thicker sauces have sugars that caramelize, yielding a slightly sticky glaze. Pomegranate juice works wonderfully in a number of glaze recipes from this Pork Belly with a Sticky Pomegranate Glaze recipe to these Seared Scallops with a Pomegranate Glaze.