Orange & Fennel Salad with Toasted Fennel Vinaigrette – Welcoming Citrus Season

Citrus season has finally arrived in our garden and hopefully in about 4 more weeks, we’ll be able to share a few rounds with friends. Last year we doubled up on an extra blood orange tree (for Katie!) and an extra Eureka lemon tree. Plans for this year are to add 3 more citrus trees because, yes, we’re addicted.

No, you really can’t have too much citrus, that’s our life motto. All the better to make cocktail with!

We can’t tell you how excited we get when it comes to citrus gardening and there’s some fun news coming in February! Unfortunately we can’t spill any beans now, but know that it’s going to be about our crazy citrus tree collection!

Since last week’s Thanksgiving eating bonanza, followed up a ridiculous craving of belly burning chili cheese fries, we’re ready for something fresh. We’ve been gnawing on arugula leaves, celery and anything green that the garden is throwing out.  The few days of holiday indulgence really did us in and it takes days of fresh raw veggies and citrus cleansing to get us ready for Christmas cookies and baked goods.

Tender baby fennel are perfect for picking, they’re sweet, crispy and perfectly fragrant. The aroma of the fennel coupled with the sweet acidity of the seasons first oranges make the perfect re-freshing follow-up to all the turkey, stuffing and fries we indulged in.

Citrus and fennel are such a wonderful pairing. Something magical happens on the palate when fennel and citrus come together. With some added baby arugula, this terrific winter salad is bursting with flavor. Each bite is juicy, sweet, floral and tenderly spicy from the delicate arugula. The vinaigrette in this salad is laced with the warm flavors of toasted fennel seeds. It’s hard to not want to have two plates of this, even for breakfast. Why not have a orange and fennel breakfast salad?

This recipe is wonderful with oranges, but we’ve seen other fabulous variations with tangerines and grapefruits. Every variation seems like a perfect accompaniment to delicate, crunchy fennel bulbs. You can create any ratio you want with the citrus and sliced fennel. Maybe when our fennel bulbs become more robust, we’ll adapt the recipe to be a fennel and orange salad.

Either way, hope you enjoy this wonderful salad to celebrate the arrival of wonderful citrus. Hope your home fills up with plenty of bright, fragrant zest!

-Todd and Diane

the aroma of fresh tender fennel bulbs & orange peel is amazing!

More Orange & other Citrus Fennel Salads:

5 from 1 vote
Orange Fennel Salad w/ toasted Fennel Vinaigrette
Servings: 4 Servings
  • 4 Oranges , approximately
  • 1 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil ,
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt , or to taste
  • 1 medium Fennel Bulb , thinly sliced
  • handful of Baby Arugula Leaves (optional)
  1. Slice the rind and pith completely off of the oranges. Next slice the oranges 1/4" thick.
  2. In a dry saute pan over medium heat, toast the fennel seeds for a few minutes until the aroma is nicely released and they change color slightly.  Crush well in a mortar & pestle or grind in a small spice grinder or coffee grinder.
  3. Combine ground fennel seeds, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt in a small bowl and whisk to mix.
  4. Layer orange slices and sliced fennel bulb on serving plates.  Quickly re-mix vinaigrette then dress oranges and fennel. Garnish with arugula.*Another option for salad - Layer in a lot more arugula to have a more greens-heavy salad. The pepperiness of the arugula goes quite well with freshness of the oranges and fennel.
{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Natasha

    Omg..I just tried this salad..and it’s sooooo fresh and delicious! Loved the fennel and orange combination! Yum Yum!

  2. the jewish hostess

    you guys are doing a great job!! Love your photos and recipes!

  3. Atria Claudia


    I am the first time on your blog and I must admitt it is amazing. Not only recipies, but gorgeus photoes, composition, layout..

    I am sitting second hour and just staring at the screen.

    So great work!

    Greetings from snowy Poland!

  4. skip to malou

    Hi Diane,
    I know you get this a lot but indeed your pictures are stunning. They speak louder than words… I could almost feel the oranges bursting out of my mouth… it’s so refreshing to have this salad amidst all the rich creamy dessert and dishes that’s all over the place during the holidays!

  5. Louise Mellor

    what beautiful juicy citrus! the oranges look like they are dripping with flavor- i really like the idea of toasting the fennel… i can smell it

  6. Angela@spinachtiger

    Usually, I see more fennel and less orange. I love your version very much. Ten kisses.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Angela- thanks angela, we have a garden full of oranges, so it’s nice to splurge. Ten kisses back!

  7. Cookin' Canuck

    I am certain I say this every time I comment on your posts, but it must be said again. Your photos are gorgeous. Really, the simplicity of the styling (I know it’s not as simple as you make it look) and the well-chosen pops of color are really lovely.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Dara- you’re so sweet. We like to keep the styling on the blog simple, and focus more on the food.

  8. Shaina

    This looks so bright and appetizing. Perfect to balance out the heavy and rich food of the holidays.

  9. kajal - aapplemint

    … and I can almost smell that salad right here … hmmm refreshing !

    1. White on Rice Couple

      hi kate! long time no see, happy to see you’re busy being a Mom. o

  10. Mei Teng

    Beautiful salad and excellent food photo! 🙂

  11. marla

    Very pretty you guys. It is nice to cleanse the palate, mind & body before launching into the next big holiday. Your garden must be so wonderful, like a true paradise.
    Those toasted fennel seeds sound like a very tasty addition to the dressing. xo

  12. Maria

    I love citrus season. This salad looks nutritious and delicious!

  13. Sues

    Ooh this is such a unique salad; I love it! Definitely excited for citrus season, too 🙂 Lots of vitamin C and deliciousness!

  14. TheKitchenWitch

    Fennel is the Devil’s Instrument! Well, at least in my house. We have anise-averse people here. However, this salad is so incredibly stunning that you’re making me re-think that position…

  15. Jenny Flake

    That is flat out gorgeous! What a perfectly refreshing salad, have a great weekend!!

  16. Phoo-d

    Absolutely gorgeous as usual! I can almost smell the citrus through my screen.

  17. Jun

    Sounds really refreshing!

  18. Jessica @ How Sweet

    I am so excited that citrus is coming back. And I absolutely love fennel!

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