Pomegranate, Pistachios, Saffron & Honey in a Cloud of Yogurt

delectable | breakfast or dessert | antioxidant-rich

I’ve been making some version of this Persian-inflected dish forever, but I’ve never had a good name for it.  (“Silk Road Raita?”) A symphony of flavors and textures and colors.  The creamy yogurt, the heft of the pistachios, the little pomegranate arils bursting with each bite. It’s a deeply satisfying breakfast, a light lunch, or snack. Add a little extra honey, and it’s an eccentric but deeply satisfying (and guilt-free!) dessert.  Or place it on the Thanksgiving table in place of cranberry sauce. Why not?

Pistachios are quite healthy, even by nut standards.  Like most nuts, they’re rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, trace minerals and magnesium. Pistachios are also especially rich in plant lignans that may lower cholesterol.  Meanwhile, pomegranate’s heart health benefits have been very well documented.  Yogurt, with its probiotics and protein.  And then saffron.  Yes, it’s the most expensive spice on Earth!  But, as Dr. Bill Mitchell used to say, two servings of saffron tea still costs less than a single latte1.

6 servings | all quantities are approximate

2 medium-large pomegranates, about 3 cups1 C raw unsalted shelled pistachios
1-2 C unsweetened yoghurtoptional: a big fat pinch saffron
optional: honey to tasteOptional: splash of orange blossom water
  1. Get the arils out of the pomegranate.  This takes a while.  Sit down, put on some music, enjoy a conversation while you do it. There’s a nice video tutorial here.
  2. Very coarsely chop the pistachios. 
  3. Mix the pistachios together with the yogurt and pomegranate. 
  4. Either in the bowl or in individual serving dishes, drizzle on the honey, sprinkle the saffron, splash the orange blossom water

This dish keep 4-5 days in the fridge, although you’ll lose some of the nice crunch of the pistachios the longer it sits.

  1. In Plant Medicine in Clinical Practice, Dr. Mitchell talks about saffron tea. Add ten strands of saffron to a mug, pour over boiling water. Let set a few minutes. Drink — including the threads. 2 cups a day is a solid dose, and the mood-elevating effects are often noticeable within a week. Saffron also contains water- and fat-soluble carotenoids that can protect the eyes. Dr. Mitchell describes using it for cerebral edema, although that is beyond the scope of this recipe — and my own personal experience. Much of the recent research on saffron has focused on weight control — and it appears to work — although it works primarily if not entirely by modulating mood (and thus appetite), and this how we approach food ↩︎


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