Adding pomegranate arils and pine nuts creates one of the best variations of Sicily’s Fennel Orange Salad. A healthy salad recipe with a refreshing taste!
Fennel, called finocchio in Italian, is extremely popular in Italy. Undoubtedly the result of its versatility.
It can easily be used in all dishes, from starters to desserts to even a salad pizza!
This potato fennel gratin is another wonderful side.
Just like celery, it has a crunchy texture that makes a wonderful snack when eaten raw.
You have probably noticed that there are countless versions of this simple fennel salad.
It really is hard to beat the classic combination of fennel and citrus fruit. Sweet, tangy oranges and crunchy fennel provide a burst of color, flavor, and texture.
When thinly sliced and paired with segmented orange slices and pomegranate seeds, the texture of fennel creates a fresh-tasting salad your family and friends will love!
Truly a great recipe for anyone who thinks they do not like this aromatic perennial with a mild licorice taste.
Let me show you have to make the best fennel and orange salad!
Mise en place
This recipe comes together in no time but first, both the fennel and the oranges need to be sliced, and the nuts toasted.
Slicing the fennel: As with all fresh produce, the first thing we will do is properly rinse this vegetable under cold running water.
Next, cut off the stalks from the bulb and trim the root end. Remove the outer layers if they appear blemished. Another option is using a vegetable peeler.
Place the bulb upright and slice it in half.
Remove the inner core using a paring knife.
Place the fennel cut side down on a wooden board. With a very sharp knife, slice as thinly as possible. You can also use a mandolin.
Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Segmenting the orange: This is an optional step but removing the outer membranes and the orange pith creates tender and sweet orange segments.
Rinse 2 oranges under cold running water and dry properly with a tea towel. Next, cut off a thin section of both ends of the orange.
Place the orange upright. With a very sharp knife, start at the top and cut the outer peel gently following the orange curve. Try to avoid squeezing the orange as we need the juice to make the vinaigrette.
To collect all the juices, work over a bowl and cut on either side of the membrane. Each orange segment should easily come away from the core of the orange.
Continue in this matter until the entire orange has been segmented.
Prepping the pine nuts: Place 3 tablespoons of pine nuts in a pan. Do not add any oil. Turn the heat to low and shake the pan constantly back and forth until the nuts turn golden. Remove from heat and place in a bowl to stop them from burning.
Making the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1-2 tablespoons of orange juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together or place in a mason jar and shake vigorously for a couple of minutes.
Place the thinly sliced fennel in a large bowl.
Add the orange segments followed by the citrus vinaigrette and toss gently together.
Transfer salad to a serving platter. Top with 1 cup of pomegranate seeds and 3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts.
Garnish with fennel fronds (if desired) and serve.
Fennel salad recipes we love
This fennel orange salad recipe was initially inspired by some family friends who have origins in Sicily many decades ago.
In fact, I do not know of one Italian family that does not have their own version of this salad.
Although I have provided a recipe, you can get very creative with the ingredients.
Feel free to use any combination of oranges (blood or navel), grapefruit and/or lemons.
You’ll see that this recipe is so delicious and simple to make.
What a refreshing way to end a meal!
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★★★★★ If you have made this fennel citrus salad, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Fennel Orange Salad
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1-2 tablespoons orange juice drippings from slicing the fruit
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large fennel bulb or 2 small, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 oranges peeled and segmented
- 1 cup pomegranate arils fresh
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts toasted or slivered almonds
- fennel fronds for garnish
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- Place all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a jar. Cover and shake well. Alternatively, place in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
FOR THE SALAD:
- Place the thinly sliced fennel in a large bowl.
- Add the orange segments followed by the citrus vinaigrette and toss gently together.
- Transfer salad to a serving platter.
- Top with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts.
- Garnish with fennel fronds (if desired).
- Serve immediately.
This salad can be served on a bed of baby greens or in a Boston lettuce cup.
This salad can be topped off with your favorite soft cheese as well, such as ricotta or cottage cheese.
Try experimenting with any other ingredients you can think of. Some suggestions: avocados, different nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, etc.), or beets. Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.
This post was originally published on December 31, 2015, and republished on February 6, 2020, with updated content and photos. Thanks for sharing!