Dive into the vibrant world of refreshing winter salads with our citrus fennel salad. This dish combines the crisp bite of fennel with the juicy sweetness of oranges, creating a symphony of flavors perfect for any season.
We picked this recipe because it's winter, and both fennel and oranges are at their best right now. Plus, our bodies are practically begging for that extra Vitamin C to keep our immune system in tip-top shape. So, whether you're throwing a fancy dinner or just want to add a splash of color to your meal, this salad is ready to dazzle.
In the spirit of culinary creativity, our fennel salad is inspired by the bold flavors of our other popular salad recipes. Drawing on the aromatic essence of our roasted fennel recipe and the zesty, marinated notes of our vegan ceviche, this salad represents our love for reinventing classic combinations, in this case, a traditional Sicilian salad recipe. It's more than just a salad; it's a journey through a garden of flavors, where every ingredient plays a crucial role in crafting a memorable meal.
💚 Why you will love it
- Bright, Fresh Flavors
- Crisp Texture
- Easy to Prepare
- Healthful and Seasonal Ingredients
- Versatile Pairings
The ingredients that make this salad so good are:
- Fennel: Adds a crisp texture and a subtle anise flavor that brightens the salad.
- Almonds: Provide a crunchy contrast and a nutty depth to the dish.
- Fresh Spearmint: Infuses the salad with a cool, refreshing zest.
- Oranges: Offer a sweet and tangy burst, complementing the other flavors.
- Lemon: Its juice imparts a citrusy tang and balances the sweetness of the oranges.
- Arugula: Introduces a peppery note and a fresh green base.
- Sherry Vinegar: Lends a complex acidity that elevates the salad's freshness.
- Black Olives: Bring a briny savoriness to round out the flavor profile.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Almonds: Swap for roasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free alternative.
- Fresh Spearmint: Fresh mint or basil can offer a different but equally refreshing flavor.
- Oranges: Try using grapefruit for a more tart profile or tangerines for a sweeter touch.
- Lemon: Lime juice can work as a zesty, tangy substitute.
- Arugula: Baby spinach provides a milder flavor, or kale for a heartier texture.
- Sherry Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar could be used for its similar fruity acidity.
- Black Olives: Capers can replace olives to maintain the briny quality without the olives' distinct flavor.
Mandoline or sharp knife and bowl.
To make this winter salad, start by washing your fresh ingredients thoroughly.
Step 1: Warm almonds in a skillet until they're nicely golden and give off a nutty aroma.
Step 2: Trim the fennel bulbs, halve them, and thin-slice them for that perfect crunchy bite using a mandoline or very sharp knife.
Step 3: Crisp up the fennel shavings with an ice water bath and save the sturdy outer pieces for another dish.
Step 4: Chop up the fresh spearmint to sprinkle in later, and set some leaves aside for a pretty garnish.
Step 5: Neatly trim the ends off the oranges, peel and slice them into wheel-like pieces.
Step 6: Let the fennel dry off completely in a colander before tossing it into your salad mix.
Step 7: Dress the fennel with a fresh squeeze of Valencia orange and lemon, then season with chopped mint, a dash of sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, and an optional swirl of olive oil.
Step 8: Mix it all up gently and give it a little time to mingle and soak up the marinade.
Step 9: Lay down a lush layer of arugula on your platter, then pile on the crisp fennel.
Step 10: Top the greens with those juicy orange slices for a burst of citrus.
Step 11: Finish the salad with a sprinkle of toasted almonds and a minty fresh garnish.
💡 Expert Tips
Mandoline Magic: Utilize a mandoline for shaving the fennel to achieve uniform, paper-thin slices. If using a knife, keep the slices as evenly as possible for consistent texture and marination.
Ice Bath Crispness: Soaking the fennel in ice water isn't just a fancy step; it's crucial for enhancing its crispness. Aim for at least 10 minutes of soaking time for the best results.
Citrus Segments: When preparing the oranges, consider segmenting them instead of slicing them. This technique removes all the membrane, providing a cleaner look and a more pleasant texture.
Balance Your Dressing: The dressing is the key to a great salad. Taste and adjust the acidity with more sherry vinegar or sweetness with orange juice to find the perfect balance for your palate.
Garnish Last: Add the spearmint garnish right before serving to ensure it retains its vibrant color and aroma.
Mediterranean Fusion: Transform the salad with a touch of the Mediterranean by adding crunchy cucumber and a sprinkle of za'atar. Enhance the flavors further with finely sliced shallots or red onions and a generous scattering of pomegranate seeds for a colorful, tangy twist.
Sweet and Crunchy - Add thinly sliced apples and a handful of dried cranberries or raisins for a sweet contrast, and replace almonds with walnuts for an extra crunch.
🥢 How to serve
Room Temperature: Serve this salad at room temperature to allow the flavors to shine. The natural oils in the almonds and the zestiness of the citrus are more pronounced when they're not too cold.
Crisp White Wine: A chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio complements the salad's citrus notes and enhances the fennel's aromatic qualities without overpowering the delicate flavors.
Herbed Quinoa: Serve alongside a fluffy bowl of quinoa seasoned with lemon zest and fresh herbs to add a protein-rich component that turns the salad into a full-fledged entrée.
Fridge Storage: To keep the salad fresh, store the fennel and orange components separately in airtight containers in the fridge. Dress the salad only before serving to prevent sogginess. It should stay crisp for up to two days.
Rejuvenating Leftovers: If the salad begins to wilt, refresh it with fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
Meal Prep Option: Portion the shaved fennel in cold water and slice the oranges into containers. Assemble each portion when ready to eat for a quick and easy lunch.
To add protein, top the salad with chickpeas, lentils, or a vegan cheese such as almond-based feta, which will complement the flavors.
Add grains like quinoa or farro to the salad. You could also include slices of avocado for their healthy fats contributing to satiety.
For those with nut allergies, roasted seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds are excellent alternatives to almonds. They still provide a satisfying crunch and are full of flavor.
📚 More healthy salad recipes
Discover a treasure trove of nourishing and delightful salad recipes that are as easy to make as they are satisfying to savor.
If you love the fresh taste of fennel in this salad, you'll adore the zing it brings to our revitalizing fennel juice.
Complement the lightness of our salad with the hearty richness of our vegan vegetable casserole, featuring fennel's robust flavor.
After savoring the crisp and refreshing notes of this salad, dive into the warmth and comfort of our Fennel Soup, which offers a soothing blend of flavors perfect for any season.
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Fresh Aromatic Citrus Fennel Salad
- 1 bulb fennel shaved, or thinly sliced with a mandoline
- 2 oranges 2 navel oranges (eat), 1 Valencia orange (juice)
- ¼ cup almonds or layered almonds, pinenuts, toasted
- 2 handfuls arugula
- 3 tablespoons spearmint Fresh, divided, 2 chopped, 1 to garnish
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- ½ cup black olives optional
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
Optional (not traditionally Sicilian but great additions)
- ¼ small red onion thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Toast Almonds: Gently toast the almonds in a skillet until they're golden and aromatic.
- Shave Fennel: For the perfect texture, remove the tops, slice the bulb in half, and optionally remove the core along with any tough outer layers.
- Soak Fennel: Submerge the fennel shavings in ice water to crisp them up; set aside the tougher pieces for other uses.
- Prep Spearmint: Finely chop two tablespoons of fresh spearmint, keeping some whole leaves aside for garnishing.
- Slice Oranges: Trim the top and bottom of the oranges, then cut into medium slices lengthwise, removing the rind.
- Drain Fennel. Drain the shaved fennel completely using a colander, then put it in the serving bowl.
- Marinade: Squeeze the juice of the Valencia orange and lemon directly over the fennel. Sprinkle with chopped mint, sherry vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper, and drizzle with optional olive oil.
- Combine and Rest: Combine everything gently for an even coating. Let the fennel marinate for 5-10 minutes to absorb the flavors.
- Layer Arugula: Create a verdant bed of arugula on your serving dish, followed by the fennel.
- Add Oranges: Arrange the marinated fennel and orange slices atop the arugula.
- Garnish: Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the salad, and finish with the reserved spearmint leaves.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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