Side Dish Sunday is the perfect way to ease your way into eating healthier. We all can’t go cold turkey. Some of us need a little hand-holding and daily encouragement. If you resolved to eat healthier or test your principles with being a vegetarian, start by adding vegetarian or plant-based side dishes to your meals. Spend Sunday afternoons testing new flavors and ingredients. Invite friends and family over to share in the experience. Make it fun. Try something new. The more you play around with new recipes, the easier it will be to go the distance and embrace being a vegetarian. Who says you have to go to a fancy restaurant for an incredible culinary experience? For those of you who have already adopted the vegetarian lifestyle, Bon Appétit!
Today’s recipe is provided by Chef Shaun Doty of Bantam, Biddy and Chick-A-Biddy. Shaun Doty’s career has spanned the globe, but his passion lies in creating simply prepared contemporary fare in Atlanta. His extensive culinary experience is the driving force behind his newest concepts, Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy, fast- casual chicken restaurants featuring local free-range and pastured chicken. When he’s not in the kitchen, Doty is involved in local charities relating to autism and pervasive developmental disorder, and also serves on the advisory council of the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.
Marinated Fennel and Pomegranate Salad with Ricotta, Walnuts and Fennel Pollen (serves 4)
- 2 cups best-quality sheep’s milk ricotta
- 1 cup arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
- (or 1 cup POM POMS Fresh Arils)
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 bulb fennel, shaved fine (reserve some tops for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons fennel pollen
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- salt and fresh black pepper
- Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.* (see below)
- In a bowl combine arils, shaved fennel, shallots, orange juice, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
- Season with salt and a few twists of fresh black pepper, and toss to combine.
- Allow to marinate for a few minutes.
- Divide ricotta equally into the bottom of four shallow bowls.
- Arrange salad over the top of each bowl.
- Pour remaining juices over salad.
- Arrange walnuts over salad, garnish with some green fennel tops and finish each bowl with a teaspoon dusting of fennel pollen.
*To prepare fresh arils, score 1–2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates and place in a bowl of water.
Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the
bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
Simplicity expert, A.Michelle Blakeley is The Vegetarian Aficionado™ – a purveyor of provocative and beautifully prepared vegetarian fare. Connect with her on Instagram at @vegetarianaficionado and check out her online magazine The Vegetarian Aficionado