This arugula citrus salad is an easy, crunchy arugula salad with citrus vinaigrette. It has bright, sweet, and crunchy elements, making it an excellent palate cleanser to rich comforting foods.
Eat it all year to brighten up a Sunday gravy or grilled ribeye. Or keep it light with a pile of simple grilled chicken. Citrus, fennel, and arugula together really make something special.
Components of this Arugula Salad
Arugula, or "rocket", is a delightfully light and wispy salad green that tastes somewhat peppery and slightly bitter. It's one of my favorite greens to use as a salad base because of how flavorful it is.
However many people don't like its peppery taste, or they like a crunchier lettuce. Any lettuce such as Iceberg, romaine, or mixed greens will do. They just won't have the same flavor. If you do decide to replace the arugula, I recommend adding an extra crack of fresh black pepper and even some lemon zest to the salad.
Arugula's peppery, lemony flavor pairs perfectly with a sweet citrus vinaigrette. Depending on the flavor you want, you can choose which citrus to use to make the vinaigrette.
I've used grapefruit, orange, and blood oranges in the past, and theyre all slightly different but equally wonderful.
To make the vinaigrette, first supreme the citrus of choice and place its segments on the bed of arugula. Then, combine the remaining orange juice with white balsamic and olive oil to make a vinaigrette. See my Tok Tok tutorial on how to supreme an orange!
This arugula citrus salad really welcomes the addition of fennel, or finocchio in Italian. Because of its crunch, fennel pairs perfectly with the softer arugula. In fact, using both fennel and arugula in a salad creates a mixed greens feel.
Fennel also offers a delightful palate cleansing taste- slightly medicinal. It's flavor resembles anise, licorice, and even celery. If you're not familiar with fennel, I highly suggest buying some and using it in your everyday cooking.
For example, you can use it in place of celery in a bolognese sauce. Or you might slice it very thinly and lightly dress it to make a simple fennel salad.
My recipe for Spicy Calabrian Chili Vodka Sauce also calls for sautéing diced fennel, so you can buy one fennel build and use it two ways! Fennel's tasty fronds can also act as an herbaceous garnish for soups and pasta dishes.
Choosing the Right Onion for You
Fennel and onion have some similarities, but are different enough that one without the other makes this salad less delicious. While testing the recipe, I decided that either red or white onion works well in this salad.
You can decide which type to use based on your color preference. For instance, use white onion to achieve a more monochromatic look. Use red for a pop of color.
Then there's the difference in flavor. For a slightly bolder but sweeter flavor, use a red onion. Want something more mild? Use white onion.
Finally, the remaining element of this arugula salad with orange vinaigrette is something nutty. Parmesan is nutty and happens to be one of my favorite salad ingredients. When finely grated it helps bind the dressing to the lettuce. On the other hand, shaved parmesan has more of a bite and keeps the salad looking clean and elegant. You choose!
Salad as "Dessert"
It's not uncommon in many Italian or Italian American households to eat salad after the main course. The fennel's medicinal taste and crunch combined with the sweet citrus flavor really make the best palate cleanser. It's almost like eating dessert... almost.
Every Home Cook should Have...Print
- 6 oz arugula
- 1 orange, grapefruit, or blood orange
- 2 oz red or white onion, thinly sliced
- ½ of a fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1oz parmesan cheese, shaved or coarsely grated
- ⅛ cup Olive oil
- ⅛ cup white balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Plate arugula in a large salad serving bowl. Slice the fennel and onion and arrange over the arugula.
- Supreme 1 orange and add segments to the salad, then squeeze the juice from of the remaining membranes into a small bowl.
- Add the olive oil and white balsamic vinegar to the bowl with the orange juice, season with pinches of salt and pepper, and whisk to combine.
- Top salad with shaved parmesan (use a vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan cheese) and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine when ready to eat it.
Keywords: Arugula Citrus Salad, Arugula salad with citrus vinaigrette