Chicken, pomegranate, and cucumber salad

By Nikki & Jordan Shearer

Featured in Capital #57
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You might be facing heartache this Valentine’s Day, but please don’t let it be from the food.

Ditch the rich, heavy meats and wines and keep it light with this gorgeous chicken and pomegranate salad from the Shearers, to be accompanied with some obligatory bubbles.

The summer season in New Zealand is all about sun, sand, boats and barbecues in the back yard. Turkey and cranberry are replaced by chicken and pomegranate in this dish. Toss it up then wash it down with a cold glass of bubbles.

Pomegranate molasses is such a delicious ingredient that adds a great intense tang (and specialness) to the dressing in this dish − it’s also pretty easy to make if you’d like to give it a go. This salad is great as an entrée, but also as a shared salad plate with the meatballs served warm or cold.

Serves 4–6



500g chicken mince
½ cup cooked couscous (we used Herb and Spice Mill spinach and pine nut couscous)
½ red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp sumac
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp flaky sea salt
½ cup white sesame seeds
3 Tbsp light olive oils


¼ cup light olive oil
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp liquid honey
1 tsp cumin seeds


½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and shaved into ribbons
1 pomegranate, seeds removed (reserve 3–4 Tbsp for serving)
120g mixed lettuce of your choice
½ cup roasted pistachios
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful of mint, roughly chopped


  1. To make the meatballs, add all ingredients except the sesame seeds and oil to a bowl and mix to combine well.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes.
  3. With damp hands, take teaspoon amounts of the chicken mixture and roll into balls.
  4. Then roll these balls in the sesame seeds to coat.
  5. Heat a frying pan on a low-medium heat with 3 Tbsps olive oil.
  6. Cook the meatballs for about 4–5 minutes on a medium heat until golden on all sides and the chicken is cooked through (beware – the sesame seeds can spit).
  7. For the dressing, add all ingredients together and mix well until combined (we love shaking our dressings in a jar).
  8. To serve, toss all ingredients for the salad in a big bowl, adding dressing as required.
  9. Add cooked meatballs and drizzle with a little extra of the dressing.
  10. Sprinkle with remaining pomegranates.
  11. These meatballs can be served as individual portions or in a big bowl for sharing.  


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