With Rosh Hashanah and a new year upon us, I set out to create a tasty, vegan-friendly dish that I could make to honor the Jewish holiday. Voila, pomegranates! These red beauties are traditionally eaten on the second night of Rosh Hashanah and serve as the “new fruit” that hasn’t been eaten yet that season.

The pomegranate symbolizes a beginning to the new season and the new year, and eating them signifies a hope that good deeds will be as plentiful as the many seeds of the fruit.

Besides the pomegranate’s traditional Jewish symbolism, these powerful little seeds are jam-packed with compounds called punicalagins, which are shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and speed up the disintegration of artery blockages to the heart, also known as atherosclerosis.

The potent antioxidants in pomegranates have also been shown to reduce platelet stickiness and as mentioned, lower blood pressure naturally, two factors that are implicated in heart attacks and strokes.

In lab animal studies, pomegranates have also proven to inhibit cancers of the breast, prostate and colon, as well as leukemia and vascular changes that contribute to tumor growth. The benefits don’t stop there. Pomegranates also stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving depression as well as increasing bone mass. Phew! That’s a lot of action for such small seeds.

Now that we know how good it is for us, let’s get to the good part—the eating. I know you’re going to love this one!

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 cup tri-colored quinoa 
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup mixed and diced crimini, shitake and oyster mushrooms
  •  1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 eggplant, diced and roasted 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp concentrated pomegranate juice 

For the tofu:

  • 1 15-oz. package of organic extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup concentrated pomegranate juice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F, and prepare the grill.
  2. Cook the quinoa on the stovetop according to the package directions.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, roast the carrots at 400 F for 20–30 minutes, and test for doneness. They should be tender and sweet.
  4. Grill the sliced eggplant and then dice.
  5. Fry the onion in a skillet until brown, and add in the mushrooms.
  6. Now add the cherry tomatoes and rosemary to the mixture, then toss with olive oil and pomegranate juice.
  7. Prepare the tofu marinade sauce and place horizontally cut tofu in sauce.
  8. Grill both sides of the tofu for 3–4 minutes each.
  9. When done, place the grilled tofu on top of the quinoa mixture, and garnish with rosemary. Enjoy!

 

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