Kitchn Love Letters

The $5 Grocery Shortcut That Instantly Makes My Holiday Meals More Festive

published Nov 23, 2022
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Salad with pomegranate, cheese, nuts and avocado on top, with salad dressing and pomegranate seeds in small bowls nearby
Credit: Perry Santanachote
Pomegranate Salad

For people who love spending time in the kitchen making Pinterest-worthy dishes, finding ways to add a pop of color or festive flair can be a breeze. But for people like me — those who weren’t blessed with that kind of culinary creativity — thinking of ways to elevate dishes from everyday to holiday-ready isn’t such an easy task. Enter: POM Wonderful.

Credit: Lauren Manaker

What’s So Great About POM Wonderful Pomegranate Fresh Arils?

I was already familiar with POM Wonderful’s popular pomegranate juice, but the California-grown arils first appeared on my radar when I was looking for ways to dress up my mashed potatoes. In season from October through January, the vibrant seeds come in four- and eight-ounce packages. They add a sweet (and slightly tart) bite — along with a festive spin — to appetizers, dinners, desserts, and cocktails. 

While I could, in theory, easily seed a pomegranate myself, I’m a big believer in taking a clever shortcut here and there — especially when I have multiple dishes to make. Plus, the thought of getting my fingers (or my clothes) stained with the red juice was enough to encourage me to find an alternate solution. It’s as easy as opening the package and sprinkling the arils onto your dishes.

What’s the Best Way to Use POM Wonderful Pomegranate Fresh Arils?

Remember those mashed potatoes? Adding a handful of these arils on top — along with some fresh rosemary — added a festive flourish to a straightforward side. Rice dishes are also spots where a little pop of color (and flavor) is welcome. Once the rice (or other grain, like couscous or farro) is cooked, I’ll add the arils and some fresh herbs.

They’re also ideal for salads (green salads and fruit salads) and soups, and add an unexpected sweet-tart bite to a platter of deviled eggs or a bowl of punch.

It’s easy enough for me to go through a container with one meal, but should you have some remaining, try adding them to your morning oatmeal, yogurt, or even a bellini. After all, it’s the holidays!

Buy: POM Wonderful Pomegranate Fresh Arils, $4.99 for 4 ounces at Instacart

Tell us some of your favorite ways to make your recipes more festive in the comments.