I’m not one to hate on salad, but I think it’s a generally accepted truth that side salads are sides for a reason: they’re fine, and can even be very good with the right (homemade) dressing, but they don’t have the wow factor.
This salad is different. It’s a study in perfectly balanced flavors, and a reminder that delicious combinations are right there under our noses. The natural sweetness of carrots is amped up by a long roast in the oven, giving them a complex caramel-y flavor and buttery texture. Spicy, crisp arugula brings another texture to the table, while tart pomegranate molasses and cumin counter the sweetness. Dill keeps things fresh and vegetal.
The first time I made this, I didn’t have pomegranate seeds or pita on hand, but my guests didn’t even notice – they gobbled it up in record time. I tossed the arugula a bit too much and it started to wilt, but it tastes just as good when you use a lighter hand. This salad asks for a bit of waiting time, but in return, you get flavors that can’t easily be messed up.
So I say: long live the side salad, so long as they’re all as good as this one. Melissa Clark also recommends it as a light supper, and, as with just about everything she says, I wouldn’t disagree with her.
Get the recipe: Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula and Pomegranate