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Sorghum Salad with Arugula, Pomegranate, and Pistachios

Published: 11/20/23 3:16 pm
By Susannah Chen

Vegan Sorghum Salad Recipe for DiabetesThis plant-based seasonal salad stars jewel-toned pomegranate arils or dried tart cherries as well as fresh arugula. It adds a cheery splash of color to any holiday table and is well suited for anyone watching their blood glucose.

The recipe hails from “The Plant-Based Diabetes Cookbook,” by Jackie Newgent, a classically trained chef and recipe developer who is also a registered and certified dietitian nutritionist. In her new book, Newgent offers 125 plant-based recipes that keep carbs in check. She cited research that suggests following a plant-based eating plan is associated with better management of A1C levels, cholesterol, and body weight. A newly published meta-analysis also found that eating fewer animal-based foods, especially processed meats, and replacing them with whole grains and legumes is linked to a 22 percent lower risk of type 1 diabetes.

Sorghum may seem like a random addition at first glance, but Newgent hopes that home cooks will soon catch on to the grain’s many health benefits.

“Sorghum is nutritionally rich and provides significant fiber and protein. It’s underrated,” Newgent said. She points out that it is also naturally gluten-free, which makes it ideal for serving a large group or for people with certain food intolerances. “The green from the arugula and pops of ruby red from the pomegranate arils give it festive appeal.”

Recipe Details: Party Sorghum Salad with Arugula, Pomegranate, and Pistachios

The Plant-Based Diabetes CookbookFrom "The Plant-Based Diabetes Cookbook" by Jackie Newgent

Active time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Makes: 10 servings

Total carbohydrates: 19 grams per 3/4 cup serving

Recipe Note

This salad is “full of culinary drama, starting with the desirably chewy sorghum – an ancient grain that’s finally getting its day in the spotlight on modern tables,” Jackie Newgent writes in her recipe headnote for this unexpected salad. “The peppery arugula adds freshness and liveliness to the lemony-dressed grains.”


  • 4 cups cold water

  • 1 cup uncooked whole-grain sorghum, hulled barley, or farro

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons juice), divided

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 4 cups packed fresh baby arugula (4 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup shelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils or dried tart cherries


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the sorghum and bring back to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until tender, about 55 minutes or according to package directions. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes to complete the cooking process.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Stir in the hot sorghum. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Stir, then chill.

  3. When the sorghum is cool, stir in the arugula, pistachios, pomegranate arils, and desired amount of lemon zest. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Nutritional information per 3/4 cup serving: 140 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 190 mg potassium, 19 g total carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars, 0 g added sugars, 4 g protein, 95 mg phosphorus. Choices/Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.

Excerpted from the book The Plant-Based Diabetes Cookbook: 125+ Nourishing Recipes to Satisfy Every Taste Bud by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN. Copyright © 2023 by Jackie Newgent. Reprinted with permission of HCI Books. All rights reserved.

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About the authors

Prior to joining The diaTribe Foundation as a managing editor, Susannah Chen was a freelance writer and editorial content strategist focused on food, drink, and travel. A health journey involving... Read the full bio »