You’ll fall in love with this light and refreshing Fennel and Citrus Salad with a homemade citrus vinaigrette dressing. It’s easy to make in just about 10 minutes, with three citrus varieties, crunchy fennel, and peppery arugula. Easily customizable, it makes an excellent side dish or simple lunch.
Here we are, my friends, with a green salad that is going to take the salad game to the next level. It’s bright, it’s juicy, it’s fresh, and it’s loaded with texture.
Elevate dinner with this salad’s brightness, and revel in the fact that it came together in just about 10 minutes…because we all need more easy, yet delicious dinners in our lives!
Or simply, enjoy the salad for a light lunch, paired with creamy ricotta toast. Truly, this salad knows no limits and is super customizable (more ideas below!). You’re gonna love it.
You’ll need just a few simple ingredients to make this salad!
- Citrus, of course! – I have three types of oranges listed in the recipe, but you can absolutely mix and match, or add grapefruit to the salad, too. Use what’s in season and available.
- Fennel – a very mild fresh, anise (licorice) like flavor – but it doesn’t taste like licorice! I, myself, hate black licorice yet love thinly sliced fennel in salads. The texture is a lot like celery – it has a nice crunch!
- Arugula – I love the balance of adding more greens to this salad, and peppery, slightly bitter arugula does the trick!
- Honey – a little sweetness in the dressing; you could also use maple syrup or agave to make this vegan.
- Olive Oil – for the vinaigrette
- Lemon Juice – in addition to the sweet citrus juice, lemon juice adds a bit more acidity and tang.
How to Prepare Fennel
Fennel is a wonderful no-food-waste vegetable because you can use basically all of it! We’re using two parts for this salad: the bulb and the fronds.
The bulb is the large white base of the whole fennel. We will be preparing this part by cutting off the root end, as well as the long stems shooting off the top of the bulb. Similar to an onion, if there are any outside layers that are bruised or damaged, remove those as well.
Then, cut the bulb in half so that you can easily lay it flat to slice. For this salad, we’re slicing the bulb into thin slices, again, similar to how you would slice an onion. You can use a chef’s knife or a mandoline for this process.
Fennel fronds are like an herb; they’re the little whispy strands on the ends of the fennel stems. They add a brightness, similar to that of parsley or mint.
Simply tear or cut off the fronds, and we’ll toss them in the salad. You could roughly chop them if desired, but they’re so delicate I don’t find it necessary.
What about the stems?
The stems of the fennel that look somewhat like celery, are quite fibrous and benefit from cooking, although they, too, could be very thinly sliced and added to salads. Use them in vegetable soup, or add them when making homemade vegetable stock.
How to Segment Citrus
To elevate this salad, we are segmenting the citrus. This means that we’re cutting out the pieces (segments) of the citrus without their membranes. This makes each orange slice tender, easy to chew, and simple to enjoy in the salad.
It also makes things really easy for our vinaigrette, because we will use the leftover juice from the segmenting process.
To segment an orange, start by slicing off the ends of the orange, then placing it flat on the cutting board. Cut off the peel from top to bottom so that the entire orange is peeled, without any pith, and so that the orange is exposed.
Then, very carefully, using a sharp paring knife, cut alongside the membrane, where you would typically peel apart the segment of the orange. Only slice into the center of the orange, not all the way through.
Then, do the same on the other side of that piece. On the second side, flip your knife upwards once you reach the middle to “scoop” out the segment. And there you have it, your first segmented orange piece. Do this process very carefully and watch your fingers and hand!
Be sure to do this over the bowl you will be using for the dressing so it catches any excess juice in the process!
Continue, working your way around the orange, until you’re left with the remaining membrane. It can take some practice to get this down, but once you do, it will go quite smoothly and quickly.
Did your orange fall apart? Segmenting works best with juicy fresh oranges; if the orange is too dry, it will fall apart when segmenting.
Assemble the Salad
I hope you read the note up there to segment the fruit over a bowl. Once the orange has been segmented and the pieces are in a separate bowl from the juices, squeeze the remaining membrane over the juice bowl so all the juice is out.
From there, we’re going to make the dressing with all that fresh citrus juice. Whisk in the honey, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil until combined. It’s truly that easy; this dressing is light and citrus-forward. It will lightly coat the salad for that just-right balance.
Look how beautiful it is if you put it into a jar! The color is from the blood orange juice – so gorgeous!!
Toss in the citrus, sliced fennel and fronds, and arugula until coated. Garnish with flakey sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and enjoy!
- Add fresh mint or basil
- Slice in some avocado (not unlike our citrus avocado salad)
- Add radicchio for more bitterness
- Serve with quinoa or farro for a hearty grain salad
- Add sliced parmesan cheese
- Toss in some chopped walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds (or anything crunchy of the sorts)
- This salad isn’t great for a make-ahead deal, but there are some workarounds if you’re serving it or bringing it to friends:
- Segment the citrus and store them in their own container.
- Whisk together the dressing, and store it in its own container.
- Toss together the arugula and fennel components.
- When ready to serve, toss it all together!
- Keep that pith (the white stuff when peeling an orange) out; it can be bitter.
- Enjoy it right away; it’s not great as leftovers, so if you need a smaller batch adjust as needed. You can store the dressing in the fridge in its own container to make individual salads for several days.
- Make the dressing to taste, adjusting salt and pepper levels, as well as the lemon juice, which will depend on the sweetness of your oranges.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
10-Minute Fennel and Citrus Salad
- 4-6 oranges (I used blood oranges, navel, and minnola tangelos), segmented
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fennel fronds
- ¼ – ⅓ cup orange juice, from segmenting
- 1 teaspoon honey, or agave for vegan
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 ounces arugula
- Segment Oranges: cut the ends off of the orange and lay flat on the cutting board. Use a knife to cut off the peel, including the white pith. Holding the peeled orange in your hand, over a bowl, carefully use a sharp paring knife to segment the orange pieces away from the membrane. Place the segments in a separate bowl, and once all have been removed, squeeze the remaining juice from the membrane in the bowl that was catching the juice (this will be for the dressing). Discard the membrane, and continue the process with all the citrus.
- Fennel: thinly slice the fennel bulb, reserving the stems for another use, and cutting off the fronds (the whispy parts) for the salad. See post for more details.
- In the bowl with the citrus juice, whisk in honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the arugula and prepared fennel bulb, fronds, and orange segments. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of green salad recipes. Check it out!