Colorful and tasty, this salad makes an excellent winter starter
It’s peak citrus time in our part of the world. Fortunately, oranges fit in everywhere, right?
Especially salads. In this one, orange slices cavort with the anise-like flavor of fennel and the peppery goodness of arugula.
The result? A winter wonderplate.
Recipe: Fennel, Orange, and Arugula Salad
You can use any kind of orange you like in this salad. We often use ordinary navel oranges. When blood oranges are in season (and they soon will be), we like to use them. Mandarins also work well in this dish.
When we plate the salad, we like to layer the ingredients: First we plate the arugula, then the fennel, and finally the oranges. But you can mix everything together if you prefer.
This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare. It yields 4 to 6 first-course servings.
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or wine vinegar; see Notes)
- salt to taste (a couple pinches of kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (half a dozen grinds for us)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- ~2 pounds fennel (to taste)
- 3 to 4 oranges (to taste)
- ~5 ounces arugula
- First make the vinaigrette: Peel the garlic clove and mince it finely, then place the pieces in a small lidded container. Add the other ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard). Make sure the lid is firmly closed, then shake the container well to combine the ingredients. (You can make the vinaigrette an hour or two ahead of time. Just store it in the refrigerator until ready to use, then shake it again right before adding it to the salad.)
- Now prepare the salad: Rinse the fennel and remove the stalks and green tops. Using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, slice off the root ends of the fennel bulbs. If the outer part of a fennel bulb is tough, remove it. Cut each fennel bulb in half, then cut the halves into very thin slices. Set aside.
- Peel the oranges, remove their white membranes, then cut each orange into sections. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the arugula, then place it in a large mixing bowl. Add about one third of the vinaigrette, then toss to combine. Plate the arugula.
- Toss the fennel slices with another one third of the vinaigrette. Layer the fennel slices over the arugula.
- Toss the orange slices with the remaining the vinaigrette. Distribute the slices over the fennel and arugula.
- Serve and enjoy.
- We sometimes combine Steps 5 and 6 of the Procedure (tossing the fennel and oranges together).
- You could add some slices of red onion to this salad for extra zip.
- Black olives or chopped walnuts would also make nice additions.
- We like to use balsamic vinegar in this salad, but wine vinegar would also work. Or you could try lemon juice.
- Use good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, because the flavor of the oil stands out in this salad. You could also substitute another lightly flavored oil, such as walnut oil.
- You can add fresh herbs to this salad if you wish. Parsley, fresh thyme, or dill would be ideal.
- We use kosher salt for cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (because the flakes are coarser, so they don’t pack a measure as tightly). If substituting regular table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
Toss to Combine
“Wonderful salad,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Makes me happy to see winter arrive.”
“It’s pretty good,” I agreed. “Orange you glad I made this?”
“Are you going to squeeze all the puns you can out of this?” said Mrs K R.
“Hey, I’m just arugula guy, trying to get along in the kitchen,” I said.
“This is your fennel warning,” said Mrs K R.
Right, better stop now. Too much vinegar.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Moroccan-Spiced Orange and Olive Salad
Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad
Shaved Fennel Salad
Italian Celery and Mushroom Salad
French-Style Braised Lettuce and PEas
Asparagus with Savory Whipped Cream
Or check out the index for more
Oranges and mandarins, as you mention, are the best flavors for winter salads -- adding the more bitter flavors as here would set the sweetness off nicely!
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, love winter salads! And the fennel and arugula really are such a nice pairing with orange. Thanks for the comment.
Even though it is a winter salad, it feels like summer! I am a huge fennel bulb fan and it would be gorgeous with blood orange when they are out.
Hi Evelyne, fennel is SO good, isn't it? Love the stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
You put together some amazingly beautiful salads John. So light and delicious, with a great flavor combo! Very nice.
Hi Tricia, this is a terrific salad! You could also make this into a main course salad by adding some ham. Sounds weird, but the flavors work really well together. Ask me how I know. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yum! Great combination of flavors.
Hi Pam, it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh man! No cooking the fennel?! I can't do it raw, that's for sure - but cooked, sign this girl UP!
Hi GiGi, slice the fennel thinly and it's wonderful when raw. Be fun to saute it, though, and use it in this recipe. Have to give that a try! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love love love fennel! This sounds fantastic!
A great combo of flavours for a beautiful and delicious winter salad! I too love fennel raw., John.
Hi Anne, fennel is wonderful, isn't it? A real favorite of ours! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Angie, raw fennel has terrific flavor and texture. Not to mention crunch. :-) Thanks for the comment.
this sounds great, I have a box of mandarins and this is a perfect use for some of them.
Hi Dahn, mandarins are always so nice at this time of the year! And they work really well in this dish. Thanks for the comment.
I have made a similar salad to this and it truly is one of my favorites. I'm a big fennel fan and feel like it's underrated.
Hi Lea Ann, fennel definitely is underrated. Such good stuff, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
Simple yet the colors can bright any table.
Hi Denise, simple suits us. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How wonderful, I love anything fennel and with the sweet orange and peppery rocket it would definitely shine. You're not really just arugula guy. Thanks for the laugh and this fabulous recipe 8)
Hi Merryn, :-) This is a terrific salad -- enjoy! Thanks for the comment.
This looks very refreshing. Fennel is a bit of an outsider I think. Not many people use it here unless they're of European extraction:) arugula? So hard to say. I’m glad we call it rocket. Cheers sherry x
This is a great salad John. I made one like this not too long ago and it tasted so fresh and good!
I LOOOOVVVVEEE fennel + citrus together - what a lovely salad!
Hi Sherry, rocket is definitely easier to say than arugula! And most people in the US don't use fennel either. Too bad -- it's such good stuff! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Abbe, I LOVE this combo of flavors! Great way to use oranges. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amy, great combo, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Ooooohhh I can almost taste this already, and it's wonderful! Oranges and fennel belong together don't they?
Hi Kelsie, orange and fennel definitely belong together! Thanks for the comment.
The bright orange flavor and color is just the pop of flavor we need this winter. A wonderful salad to balance all the rich food of the holidays.
Hi Deb, we love this recipe at this time of the year exactly because it's such a nice counterbalance to all the rich food. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Fabulous side dish for our Italian Feast of the 7 fishes!
Hi Bobbi, oh, this would be really nice for that! Love the seafood/fennel combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh this really looks wonderful and bright.
Hi Amira, it is, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love citrus season and love putting them in salads. Your combination of fennel and orange sounds delicious and what a simple complementary vinaigrette. Nice simple salad for a holiday meal. Thanks John!
Hi MJ, citrus season is terrific, isn't it? Love it! Love this salad, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is a wonderful salad , I especially like the fennel citrus combination . There is nothing better than a light tasty salad like this with a heavy holiday meal. Thanks John!
Hi Gerlinde, citrus and fennel is definitely a swell match. So nice, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
So loving this layered orange, fennel, winter salad! And that garlicy balsamic vinaigrette pulls it together so beautifully!
Hi Shashi, that vinaigrette is great. As is the salad. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Great combination of flavors here! It's always a bit tricky for me working with those fat, old fennel bulbs. I like to get the fennel sliced real thinly- almost like a julienne.
Hi Fran, you really need a VERY sharp knife when slicing fennel. Or use a slicer of some sort, but I"m always too lazy, and pull out my knife. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Cute repartée, you two! Puns ‘r us!
The salad looks fantastic... if you like black olives, I recommend adding a few to the salad in slivers...
Hi David, we do have a weakness for really bad puns. :-) Black olive slivers would be ideal on this, you're right. Thanks for the comment.
I'd call this a plate of (delicious) winter sunshine! GREG
How refreshing! This be a nice salad to serve as a prelude to Christmas dinner.
Hi Greg, and we can all use sunshine, yes? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jeff, definitely refreshing. And tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Beautiful salad John, the combination of arugula and orange with fennel just look so refreshing...you are the one that introduced me to fennel salad...now I need to try this version. Thanks for the recipe...enjoy your weekend!
Hi Juliana, fennel is so good in a salad, isn't it? Enjoy this one! :-) Thanks for the comment.
How could one go wrong with that flavor combination. Sound refreshing and very yummy. We're getting some really nice Greek oranges in our market just now, so this one will be made soon.
Simple, yet sophisticated, love the idea☺
Hi Ron, it's truly a delish dish -- nice, fun flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Natalia, isn't this nice? We love this flavor combo! Thanks for the comment.
Fennel and orange are a winning combo. Fresh, tangy-bright, with just the right amount of anise, this is a salad that goes with anything and everything.
I really love citrus season, and I'm just starting to see more and more in the markets. This is such a lovely winter salad. Love the term "wonderplate" by the way. :-)
Hi Carolyn, it's a terrific starter, that's for sure. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Valentina, :-) And agree that citrus season is terrific! Thanks for the comment.
What a wonderful fresh way to start any meal.
Hi Emma, this really is a delightful salad! Thanks for the comment.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE every element of this salad, John! What a great way to eat yourself out of the winter doldrums. I feel healthy just looking at it! ;)
Hi Anne, great flavor and really healthy -- perfect! Pretty, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Fennel and oranges are a great combination! Thanks for the reminder!
Hi Debra, they are a really great combo, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.
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