Pomegranate Salsa from Dana Jacobi and the AICR

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In its ongoing effort to promote healthy, cancer-preventive lifestyle choices, the American Institute for Cancer Research connects with renowned food blogger Dana Jacobi to offer recipes for nutritious and delicious dishes. This week's entry is a pomegranate salsa.

Jacobi writes:

Feasting during the holidays means that in January I have to lose the weight I gained. I have resolved to stop this unwise up and down. So this year, I will feast, but I will do it thoughtfully.

My first step has been informing friends that when I celebrate with them, I will bring at least one dish. I also have invited them to my place on Christmas Day. Sharing food and entertaining at home together let me make sure there will be food I can enjoy – delicious, colorful, celebratory treats that are also calorie-smart.

On Christmas Day, at my open house, a big, beautifully browned whole turkey breast surrounded by red and gold lady apples nestled in raw kale will replace the whole bird that usually stars. Leftovers, all lean white meat and easy to freeze, will be diced and added to kale salad, warming soups and lentil stew.

Pomegranate Salsa will glow in a bowl alongside the turkey. Sweet, tangy and hot, this juicy combination of fruit, onion, jalapeno and cilantro invites taking unsinful seconds. The recipe contains no fat or added sugar. Using store-bought pomegranate arils (the juicy, crunchy red kernels we incorrectly call seeds), you can have this dish ready in a blink. If you prefer extracting the arils yourself, YouTube videos show how.

Brussels sprouts, halved and roasted with shallots, will complete the savory dishes. Cleaned and halved a day ahead, they are good at room temperature, so I will roast them at 400 degrees, before I turn down the oven to 325 degrees and roast the turkey breast.

Bowls of clementines and long-stem strawberries with melted chocolate for dipping will be dessert. The chocolate will be 70 percent dark melted with a splash of non-dairy soy creamer to keep the calories within reason.

Of course there will be cookies; my unique Anzacs (see May 2013 for the recipe) and lemon-glazed Gingersnaps, a crunchy, spicy favorite. Watch for their recipe in my next column.

This is a plan for holiday feasting without needing extra time at the gym in the New Year – one that I look forward to following, and one you may enjoy, too.

Pomegranate Salsa

  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 nectarine, peach or Fuji apple, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeno pepper, optional
  • 2 tsp. pomegranate molasses or 2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

In bowl, use fork to combine pomegranate arils, nectarine, onion, jalapeno (if using), pomegranate molasses, salt and 3-4 grinds pepper. Mix in cilantro. Let salsa sit for 10 minutes so flavors can meld.

Serve as accompaniment with chicken, turkey, pork chops or grilled shrimp. Sprinkle over green salad, combine with cooked quinoa or add a spoonful to garnish a bowl of butternut squash soup. Salsa keeps for 2 days, tightly covered in refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Per 2-tablespoon serving: 19 calories, <1 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 4 g carbohydrate, <1 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 60 mg sodium.

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