Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges

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A refreshing blood orange and fennel salad of healthy greens combined with avocado, mint, radish, parmesan cheese, and walnuts topped with a citrus vinaigrette. 

Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges

As we ease into spring, it’s time to welcome new fruits and vegetables. I particularly look forward to vibrant and juicy blood oranges. The beautiful magenta color inspires me to create this blood orange and fennel salad to celebrate all of the fresh ingredients of the season. The crunchy vegetables, sweet oranges, licorice flavors, and delicious cheese makes for a light and healthy salad!

Blood Orange and Fennel Salad - A healthy blend of greens combined with avocado, mint, radish, parmesan cheese and walnuts topped with a citrus vinaigrette. | jessicagavin.com

When choosing salad greens, I like a blend of tender baby kale and spinach, and red leaf lettuce. They all have different nutrients to collectively provide fiber, iron, and vitamins like K and A, and antioxidants. I added fresh mint for extra aromatics which gives a surprising burst of flavor.

I couldn’t resist adding fresh shaved fennel to give the salad a delicate licorice taste. The fennel is a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the oranges and cooling sensation from the mint. Avocado and walnuts add a nice creaminess to the salad. Just a little bit of sliced radish provides a peppery note to each bite.

Blood Orange and Fennel Salad - A healthy blend of greens combined with avocado, mint, radish, parmesan cheese and walnuts topped with a citrus vinaigrette. | jessicagavin.com

What is an emulsion?

When making homemade vinaigrette or dressings, it’s important to understand emulsions. We all know that oil and water do not mix. This occurrence is because oil is hydrophobic (does not like water) and water is hydrophilic (likes water), so they repel each other. How do you get these two natural enemies combined? Force!

In this case, mixing with a whisk when gradually adding oil to the vinegar. This action helps break the oil into smaller droplets creating oil in water emulsion. The only downside is that this mixture is often semi-permanent and eventually the oil droplets will find each other and recombine. No worries, just whisk the dressing again right before serving.

For the citrus vinaigrette in this recipe, the juice from the blood orange, red wine vinegar, honey, shallots, and olive oil are combined by vigorously whisking. Honey is a natural emulsifier, helping the vinaigrette stay thickened and mixed a little longer.

Blood Orange and Fennel Salad - A healthy blend of greens combined with avocado, mint, radish, parmesan cheese and walnuts topped with a citrus vinaigrette. | jessicagavin.com

Spring-inspired ingredients gives this blood orange fennel salad a pop of color! The tender greens, seasonal fruits, and vegetables plus a simple homemade orange dressing creates an edible garden in your bowl. What are your favorite springtime foods?

What is an emulsifier?

Sometimes you need the right “friend” that can bring two opposing things together. An emulsifier is a molecule with one oil-friendly and one water-friendly end. This allows the emulsifier to join the oil and water-based ingredients into an emulsion. Some natural emulsifiers that I like to use in my cooking are egg yolks (for mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce), and honey or mustard for salad dressings. Using these ingredients not only gives extra flavor but keeps my food emulsions together longer!

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Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges

A refreshing blood orange and fennel salad. Fresh greens combined with avocado, mint, radish, parmesan cheese and walnuts topped with a citrus vinaigrette.
Pin Print Review
4.43 from 7 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 cups baby kale
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 3 cups red leaf lettuce
  • 1 tablespoon mint, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced horizontally to the root
  • ½ avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 radish, thinly sliced
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled, segmented slices, juice squeezed and reserved from leftover pulp
  • 1 Navel orange, peeled, segmented slices
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, gently combine kale, spinach, lettuce, and mint. Top with fennel, avocado, radish, blood orange, navel orange, walnuts, and parmesan cheese.
  • Combine honey, blood orange juice, vinegar, and shallots in a medium bowl. Gradually add the olive oil and whisk, until incorporated into the vinegar mixture, creating an emulsion (thickened dressing). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve salad with vinaigrette.

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Nutrition Facts
Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges
Amount Per Serving
Calories 362 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 154mg6%
Potassium 649mg19%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 5350IU107%
Vitamin C 99.8mg121%
Calcium 170mg17%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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8 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Lynn Chen says

    love your blog! just went to orange for the first time recently (to eat waffle sandwiches at bruxie) but did not check out the farmer’s market.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Lynn! I’m a big fan of Bruxie too, my favorite is the green eggs and ham! Next time swing by the farmer’s market if you get the chance, its saturdays 9-1 🙂

  2. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    I’ve never had a blood orange and have wondered if they taste similar to a regular orange. Looking forward too trying the salad. Healthy AND beautiful. That should be the name of your first cookbook.

    ?Thank you for another gorgeous dish
    Judy

  3. Amy says

    I’ve never try blood orange!! Are they similar to grapefruits? This salad looks so refreshing! Too pretty to be eaten 🙂 Your recipes are always incredible Jessica! Must go on a hunt for blood oranges now 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Amy! Blood oranges aren’t very tart, so they taste like regular oranges, just not as sweet and tangy. Thank you so for much for the sweet compliment, I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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