While parts of the country is still covered in snow, the spring weather in the San Francisco Bay Area has been so gorgeous that I couldn’t help sharing a refreshing salad recipe today! This Arugula, Fennel, and Navel Orange Salad has become one of my favorite salads that I make at home.
This story is a bit embarrassing but until recently I didn’t know why these oranges are called “navel” oranges because the Japanese also call them “Navel Orange” (but pronounce like Neh-buru Orenji and written ネーブルオレンジ), so I just assumed it’s just the name.
As I realized the meaning of “navel”, a light bulb went off in my head and now everything makes sense! Navel oranges got their name because of a protrusion on the skin that looks somewhat like a human navel… the belly button (which was the word I knew… now you know my struggle with English)!
Arugula + Fennel Bulb + Navel Oranges = Heavenly
This beautiful and delicious salad involves 4 components: arugula, fennel bulb, navel oranges, and walnuts.
Arugula: Its peppery and pungent flavor adds extra kick to this salad and complements the sweetness of navel oranges. For substitute, try baby spinach with or without the watercress depending on whether or not you enjoy the peppery taste.
Fennel bulb: The thinly sliced fennel bulb plays a pretty important role in this salad by providing a refreshing crunch to the salad. However, if you are not a fan of this vegetable or don’t have access to it, I’d just skip. Some people suggest celery as substitute for fennel bulb in various recipes but the taste is very different. If it was for a stew, I’d use celery as substitute because the texture is quite similar and you don’t taste the ingredient by itself as much in a stew.
Navel oranges: They are seedless, sweet, and very juicy and work really well with this salad. I also use their juice to add a floral, citrusy accent to the dressing. In case you can’t find them, you can substitute with Valencias or any other sweet orange.
Walnuts: Quickly roast the walnut in the pan for more nutty flavor and extra crunch.
Delicate & Light Champagne Vinegar Dressing
For the dressing, I use navel orange juice, olive oil and champagne vinegar. Now if you can’t find champagne vinegar, you can substitute with white wine vinegar, but remember it’ll be a bit stronger. Champagne vinegar is lighter and fizzier than white wine vinegar, and it’s great choice for making dressing for this kind of fruity salad. How about substituting cider vinegar or distilled vinegar? I think they are too sour for this salad dressing.
This salad was inspired by one of my favorite pizza restaurants in San Francisco – PIZZERIA DELFINA, who won the James Beard award in 2008. I am getting hungry just thinking about their pizza crust…
Here’s the video on How To Make Arugula, Fennel, and Navel Orange Salad on my YouTube Channel! I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
- 3 Tbsp. (23 g/0.8 oz.) walnuts
- 1-2 navel oranges
- ½ fennel bulb
- 1 Tbsp. fennel fronds (optional)
- 1.5 oz. (43 g) arugula
- ½ Tbsp. juice from the navel orange
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and toast the walnuts, stirring frequently, until they smell fragrant. Transfer the walnuts to a plate and set aside.
- In a small bowl, squeeze ½ Tbsp. of navel orange juice and set aside. Peel the navel oranges and cut the orange in half crosswise and slice into ½” thick half-moon slices.
- To make the dressing, whisk together ½ Tbsp. navel orange juice (from previous step), 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, and 1 Tbsp. champagne vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Cut off the stems and feathery fronds of the fennel bulb and remove any bruised or discolored outer layers. Save some fronds for garnish. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out any tough core parts. Cut the fennel bulb crosswise into thin slices.
- Add the arugula and fennel in a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss gently to coat thoroughly. Arrange the salad on a plate and arrange the orange slices. Sprinkle walnuts and fennel fronds. Serve immediately.