On the first Sunday of Lent, we turn our attention to the Temptation of Christ. After his baptism, he was driven into the desert wilderness by the Holy Spirit. There, he fasted and prayed for forty days. This is why Christians celebrate Lent for a forty day period. We join Jesus in fasting and prayer, seeking to increase our dependence on God. We also remember the story of the Fall, how Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. They thought that they would be like God, but their disobedience had them expelled from the garden. They were not able to overcome their temptation. Jesus, on the other hand, was offered bread by the devil, but he refused saying, “one does not live on bread alone.” Jesus was, as the Book of Hebrews says, tempted in every way that we are, yet he overcame.
To commemorate both of these temptation stories, we are suggesting an Arugula, Apple, and Pomegranate Salad. The salad, of course, is garden food reminding us of the original goodness of creation. The apple and pomegranate remind us of the forbidden fruit. The apple is the common western way of telling the story, but since they are not native to the ancient near east, the most likely fruit of the story is the pomegranate (think of the pomegranate story Persephone and Hades). The cider honey vinaigrette makes this salad very tempting, but in a heavenly way. Take this day to pray as Jesus taught us, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness by James Tissot; between 1886 and 1894; gouache over graphite on gray wove paper; Height: 22.5 cm (8.8 in); Width: 33.8 cm (13.3 in); Housed at the Brooklyn Museum.
Arugula, Apple, and Pomegranate Salad
Salt and pepper
6 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Additional fruit, as desired
2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Core the apple and then cut into quarters. Slice the quarters as thinly as possible. Place the thin slices in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over them.
- Combine the 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon honey in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly add the 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss the 6 cups baby arugula and the apple slices with just enough dressing to coat the leaves. Add additional fruit, if desired, such as pears or blood oranges. Sprinkle salad with pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, and crumbled feta.