Pomegranates are such a versatile fruit. The deep red, sweet-tart arils (seeds) and juice offer a rich, vibrant flavor and color to dishes beyond sweet treats. Like this Pomegranate Mandarin Sauce, which is vegan and gluten-free. With only 6 ingredients, you can mix up this sauce in just a few minutes. Simply cook pomegranate juice, mandarin orange juice and zest, maple syrup, and cardamom together, with a bit of cornstarch to thicken it up, and stir in pomegranate arils when the sauce thickens up.
I love this flavorful sauce with savory dishes, such as veggie “meat” balls, lentil patties, and potato casserole. You can even serve it on your holiday table for a new take on cranberry relish (which is what I have done numerous times). It’s also a sauce that celebrates the fall and winter seasonal flavors of cool weather produce, like pomegranates and citrus fruit.
This recipe comes completely from my garden, as I have all of these elements—save the cornstarch and cardamom—growing in my garden. The California climate is perfectly suited for growing these Mediterranean fruits, which pair so well together. If you live in the Golden State, try growing a mandarin and pomegranate tree. Mandarin trees have beautiful, glossy green foliage, and fragrant flowers in the winter and early spring. Pomegranates grow in delightful shrubby trees with bright red flowers bringing forth round fruit like ornaments in the late fall and winter. Both of these fruits are packed with powerful antioxidant compounds linked with health protection, so it’s a good idea to include them in your diet more often.