Green Olive, Walnut & Pomegranate Salad; Thanksgiving Day Recap

green olive, walnut and pomegranate salad

Tired of cooking? Me too. But I have one more teensy tiny recipe to share with you before I disappear into I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-anything mode. And it’s a good one. You HAVE to make this. Not immediately, but soon and definitely before the end of the year, because nothing will look more festive on your holiday table and nothing will taste more restorative in the season of endless feasting.

The recipe comes from the book Turquoise by Greg and Lucy Malouf, which my aunt introduced to the family last winter when she served this stunning salad at a dinner party. The myriad textures and sweet-salty-hot dressing make this salad irresistible.

Just a head’s up, there are a few ingredients that you might not have in your pantry — walnut oil and pomegranate molasses — but please don’t run out and buy either of these ingredients. This is just a salad, a salsa really: if you take out the crunchies (the nuts and pomegranate seeds) and think about a classic tomato salsa, here, the olives become the tomatoes, shallots the onions, lemon the lime, parsley the cilantro. The walnuts, pistachios and pomegranate seeds add a nice crunch, flavor, and dimension that a simple salsa just doesn’t possess but the spirit of the dressing — a balance of sweet, salty and hot — is something that can be achieved by any number of pantry items. (See notes below.)

The recipe says it serves four, but don’t buy it. You’ll have a hard time sharing this. I could have eaten it all by myself as could have Ben. Personally I think this would make a wonderful meal for two served with some Turkish flatbread — I’ve been dying to make this Paula Wolfert recipe for years — and some hummus or eggplant caviar or a few slices of cheese.

Also, if you want to extend this salad’s life expectancy, you could certainly fold in some farro or quinoa or your grain of choice, but don’t go overboard. There is something so lovely about the salad as it is. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

green olive, walnut and pomegranate salad ingredients


pomegranate seeds

green olive, walnut and pomegranate salad

Green Olive, Walnut & Pomegranate Salad

Source: Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey by Greg & Lucy Malouf

Notes: Use the amounts as a guide. I added a bit more of almost everything. Also, make sure the green olives are good. If you are able to taste them — from an olive bar, for example — before you buy them, that is ideal. Remember: if you don’t like the olive before you chop it up and throw it in the salad, you probably won’t like it any better when it’s in the salad.

Substitutes for pomegranate molasses: Pomegranate molasses is syrupy in texture and both sweet and tart in flavor, so if you really want to add a splash (which is all the recipe calls for) of this ingredient, then you want something like a mixture of honey and lemon or brown sugar and cranberry juice. I found lots of good ideas from the Food52 community as well as a recipe from Simple Recipes, but all I ended up doing — did I mention I’ve been feeling super lazy? — was splashing in some white balsamic vinegar, which certainly doesn’t create the same effect as pomegranate molasses but which added a nice bite and flavor.

3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped (I added more)
1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (I added more like a cup)
2 small shallots, peeled and finely diced
1 red Serrano chile, seeded and finely diced (I used green)
1 tablespoon shredded flat-leaf parsley (or more)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil (optional — use extra virgin olive oil if you don’t have walnut)
splash of pomegranate molasses (optional)
juice of ½ lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Scatter the walnuts onto a jelly-roll pan and roast for 5-10 minutes, until deep golden brown. Pour the nuts into a tea towel and rub well to remove as much skin as possible. Chop the walnuts coarsely and toss in a sieve to remove any remaining skin or dust.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently. Leave to stand for 5 minutes or so before serving to allow flavors to meld. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary — add more lemon, olive oil, pepper, salt (just be careful because the olives are salty), etc.

green olive, walnut and pomegranate salad

Thanksgiving Day Recap:
The breakfast table. As suspected, clotted cream was requested, lemon cream ignored:
breakfast table

It was so nice having frozen scone dough on hand to pop in the oven on Thanksgiving Day morning. The scones were delectable:
Tartine's currant scones

Cranberry sauce, simmering; bread, rising; Suzanne Goin’s stuffing, which was the unanimous favorite dish of the occasion, waiting for oven space:
Thanksgiving preparations

Turkey, steaming:
turkey steaming

Darcy’s apple crumble, ready for the oven. SO delicious:
Darcy's apple crumble — so delicious!


Steam-roasted turkey:
the turkey

Almost there:
the table

The feast:

For dinner the next day, we had leftover turkey paninis with Talley’s shaved Brussels sprouts, bacon and pomegranate salad — delicious!
Brussels sprouts salad


  1. says

    OMG …. I could eat this with a spoon ….. gorgeous.

    You can find walnut oil at Homegoods stores – you will be amazed at what you can find in their food section .

    enjoying your blog !


    • says

      Gourmet Goddess — amazing tip! Thanks. My mother always used to stock up on high-quality vanilla at Marshall’s (which I think is the same as Homegoods now? or close to it anyhow?) I will have to go scour the food aisle of my local TJ Maxx — we don’t have a Homegoods or Marshall’s nearby. Hope you’re having a nice weekend!

  2. says

    So delicious looking -and delicious tasting I am sure. Love those pomegranate seeds and the fact that you had traditional English food for breakfast -scones and clotted cream -food of the gods.

  3. says

    I love the picture of Ben and the kiddos! You are the only one missing from these. It looks like quite a feast and I can’t wait to try this salad and Talley’s salad – yum. I told myself we had to eat our way through leftovers before I could make anything new.

    I am SO relieved that you liked the crumble. I love how simple and delicious it is. And how it works with any fruit. Happy Thanksgiving!

    P.S. We had your cranberry sauce sans cinnamon sticks (didn’t have any) and it was a hit. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Thanks!

    • says

      Darcy — The crumble is so delicious! I want to make another one, but I am feeling a little gluttonous these days…and like you am working my way through leftovers. My mother in law is going to make a soup with all of the leftover turkey for dinner tomorrow. I can’t wait. I am in much need of that sort of meal.

  4. says

    You cannot see me, but please imagine me jumping up and down with pure joy: I have all the ingredients, including the walnut oil AND pomegranate molasses!

    Of course, that means I’ll be making this salad – will let you know how it goes

    absolutely amazing, I can imagine the flavors!

    • says

      Sally BR — I love it. Too funny. I am jealous you have pomegranate molasses…I can’t seem to find it anywhere! Please report back! This is such a wonderful combination. I hope you like it as much as I.

  5. Liz says

    Great salad idea, and the book looks beautiful. Thank you for the pie crust tips last week. Very helpful. I made a successful turkey soup with turkey stock, wild rice, swiss chard, leeks, and parmesan rinds.

  6. says

    Ok you have convinced me to try this – I title and I was a little like meh doesn’t really appeal to me, but then I read your post and now I am tempted to try it. This one is going in my ‘to cook’ list! I’ll let you know what I think once I get around to trying it (the list is long!)

    • says

      Natalia — The turkey was really nicely cooked, but definitely under-seasoned. And, I should have used my brain and added salt before roasting it despite that not being in the instructions. Also, my 12-lb turkey cooked in under 2 hours. I think I overcooked it a tad. But, it was well received overall and made great sandwiches in the days following.

  7. says

    I don’t know how I’m just seeing this post now. I can’t get over how big Graham is – what a cutie!

    I think I’m going to make scones, crumble and olive & pomegranate salad asap. It has been so grey here recently and think I need to get my baking on to brighten things up a bit. Of course the last time I used pomegranate I brightened up more than just a salad – the counters were splattered pink and so was my white t-shirt!

    I’m so glad you liked the shaved Brussels sprouts salad. Everyone at our Thanksgiving loved it too.

    happy (belated) turkey day.

    • says

      Talley — I am loving it! We made a similar variation with cabbage, which we blanched for just 2 minutes to soften. It was delish! The cabbage itself tasted like mustard, and the whole combo is just so good this time of year.

  8. Les Moor says

    Fantastic pictures! I want to roll around in this naked. Sorry, but it just looks that good. Found you via ziplist, and will be coming back for more. Cheers!

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