Up until I was around 16 or 17 I hated salads. The only time I would ever eat one is if it was made up of iceberg lettuce and pools of ranch. The most adventurous I got with the vegetables was carrots and cucumbers. So because of that, I still struggle with creating really delicious and interesting salads because I didn’t start experimenting until I was older…but this one is awesome! It’s definitely one of Seth and I’s all time favorites.
Fennel and orange is a classic combination, and the walnuts just add even more flavor and texture. And then the dressing tops it all off perfectly! I love the combination of spinach and arugula, it is the perfect blend of mild and peppery greens. Fennel can scare people easily because it has a licorice or anise flavor to it…and that usually turns me off too. But the sweetness of the oranges in the salad and in the dressing cuts the licorice flavor, and all you get is a super crispy, fresh, vegetable! So you start by toasting your walnuts! Toasting nuts gives them so much more depth and flavor, and it only takes a few minutes. Totally worth it. Just place a cup of walnuts in a skillet over medium heat.
So there are a few different ways to know that the walnuts are done toasting. Some people can smell it. I just taste them and if they taste nice, toasty, and flavorful then I pull them off. It doesn’t take long. Make sure you are stirring and moving them around often.
Meanwhile, chop your veggies!
I used two fennel bulbs because my grocery store only had pretty tiny fennel. You will need about 2 cups of it, thinly sliced. If it’s a little less or more that’s okay though…this salad doesn’t have to be exact at all. Honestly every time we make it we end up using different amounts of everything.
So there is a core in the fennel that you have to cut out. Cut the bulb in half and you will be able to see it.
And then slice it up!
For your oranges–you need the zest of one orange, so make sure you do that before you start cutting them. Cut off the tops and bottoms so they sit on your cutting board without rolling around, and then cut down the sides to peel off the skin.
Cut up your oranges into little cubes and set aside.
For the dressing, all you need to do is squeeze all the juice out of the skins you have cut off, squeeze in half a lemon, and add your orange zest. Now add your olive oil. You need equal parts juice and oil. So if you ended up with 3 oz of juice, add 3 more oz of oil. 1 oz of juice, 1 oz of oil!
Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, whisk/shake together, and you are ready!
Dump your greens into a big bowl (I used a 5 oz box of spinach arugula mix) and add your fennel, oranges, and walnuts.
Drizzle just enough dressing to moisten the greens, toss, and you are ready to eat!
Here is the recipe:
- 5 oz box spinach arugula mix (or just spinach if you can't find the mix)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1-2 bulbs fennel (2 cups sliced)
- 3 oranges
- ½ lemon
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Put your walnuts in a skillet and place over medium heat
- Stir and move the walnuts around often until they are toasted
- Some people can smell when they are toasted, or you can taste them to see when they are done
- Meanwhile, cut the fronds off the fennel bulbs, slice each bulb in half, and cut out the core
- Thinly slice the fennel and place aside
- Zest one orange and set the zest aside
- Cut off the tops and bottoms of each orange so they will sit on your cutting board without rolling around
- Using your knife, slice down the sides of each orange to peel it
- Save the skins! We will use them for the dressing
- Cut the peeled oranges into cubes. Set aside
- For the dressing:
- Squeeze all the orange juice from the orange peel scraps into a bowl
- Add the juice from half a lemon
- Add the orange zest
- Now drizzle in the olive oil -- you need equal parts olive oil and citrus juice. If you have 3 oz of citrus juice, you will need 3 oz of olive oil, etc...
- Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper, whisk together, and you are ready to go!
- Dump the greens into a large bowl, add the fennel, walnuts, and oranges on top, and drizzle on enough dressing just to moisten the greens