The most refreshing of winter salads, this recipe for Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad is a delight. This great recipe is vibrant and bursting with fresh flavors from the sweet and juicy oranges, crunchy fennel, red onions, and tart pomegranate arils. It’s a delicious flavor combination perfect for a dinner party or any special occasion.
Originally published March 11, 2019, updated 2023.
Crunchy fennel and red onion, sweet oranges and a touch of tart pomegranate makes the most delicious winter salad. With just a a handful of ingredients you could have a truly delicious and unique salad. For my vegan and vegetarian friends, this is totally VEGAN: it is dairy free. It is also gluten free.
Citrus is so easy to to find in the middle of this season and it is an ingredient we love to experiment when the weather is chilly outside. Another fantastic citrus salad is this Beet, Orange, Kumquat and Quinoa Salad.
Winter is the season when various citrus fruits suddenly appear. For this savory fruit salad, you could use a mixture of blood, navel, and Cara Cara oranges. Y
ou could even add a gorgeous grapefruit to give it a little tart flavor or use just one type of orange like we did. Thinly sliced fennel and red onion add a tasty bit of crunch. It is also wonderful served with a green salad.
When I think of Sicilian cooking I think if its freshness and simplicity, which is so apparent in this refreshing and vibrant salad. It’s a wonderful salad to have as a side dish with any seafood dish or even a braised meat dish.
Feel free to use your favorite citrus or what you find at the market. It’s stunning with just blood oranges or you could even use tangerines.
The hallmarks of Sicilian cooking are simplicity and freshness, as evident in this refreshing salad. It’s the perfect side for our Sicilian seafood stew, or almost any braised meat dish.
If you can’t find blood or Cara Cara oranges, you can substitute any sweet citrus fruits, such as tangerines, grapefruit or navel oranges.
A simple salad with humble ingredients which is truly what Sicilian food is all about. This is a salad my father used to make and it reminds me of him.
I'm sharing it for my personal record and for my kids to one day look back on and feel connected somehow through a recipe with their Nonno Rosario and their ancestors from the most splendid island in the world: Sicilia.
See what else I shared for #ProjectSicilia in 2019:
January: Sicilian Savoiardi Cookies
February: Sicilian Pignolata-Italian Honey Balls
- Why you will love this fennel and orange salad
- Ingredients for Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad
- Directions for Making Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad
- Substitutions/Variations for this orange and fennel salad
- Expert Tips for this orange fennel salad
- What to Serve it With
- Storing Tips for this simple salad recipe
- More recipes like this:
- Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad
Why you will love this fennel and orange salad
- Fresh and Vibrant Flavors: The brightness of the oranges blends beautifully with the crunchiness of the fennel and the slight bitterness of its leaves, while the sweet burst of tartness from the pomegranate arils adds an unexpected twist.
- Easy to Prepare: This salad is incredibly easy to make, requiring minimal prep work and no cooking at all, making it the perfect quick and healthy meal option.
- Nutrient-Dense: This salad is not just delicious, but also packed full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, thanks to the fresh fruits and veggies.
- Versatile: It serves as a perfect side dish to a variety of main courses but can also be enjoyed on its own for a light lunch or snack.
- Colorful Presentation: The vibrant colors of the salad ingredients make for a visually appealing dish that's sure to impress guests.
Ingredients for Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad
Here are the fresh and vibrant ingredients you will need for this delightful salad:
- Fennel (1 bulb, thinly sliced): Fennel's aniseed flavor adds a refreshing crunch to the salad and pairs perfectly with the sweet oranges.
- Oranges (3, peeled and sliced): The sweet and tangy flavor of oranges gives this salad a burst of freshness. Opt for navel oranges for the best taste and texture.
- Red Onion (1 medium, thinly sliced): Red onions add a hint of sharpness, balancing out the sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Pomegranate seeds(1, deseeded): The arils provide a sweet-tart pop of flavor, plus they add a beautiful jewel-like appearance to the dish.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (3 tablespoons): This will dress the salad, giving it a rich, smooth texture and adding a subtly fruity taste.
- Lemon (1, juiced): Fresh lemon juice adds brightness and acidity to the salad, enhancing the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Salt and Pepper (to taste): These seasonings bring out the natural flavors of the salad ingredients. Always season to your taste.
- Fresh Mint (a handful, chopped): Adds a fresh, cool flavor that complements the citrus and fennel wonderfully.
Directions for Making Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad
Follow these simple steps to assemble your Sicilian Salad:
- Prep the ingredients: Thinly slice the fennel bulb and red onion, peel and slice the oranges, and deseed the pomegranate to extract the arils. Chop up a handful of fresh mint.
- Dress the salad: In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the salad: In a large salad bowl, add the sliced fennel, oranges, and red onion. Toss gently to mix the ingredients.
- Add the dressing: Drizzle the olive oil and lemon dressing over the salad. Toss again gently to ensure all the ingredients are evenly coated.
- Garnish the salad: Sprinkle the pomegranate arils and chopped mint over the salad for the final touches.
- Serve: The salad can be served immediately or refrigerated for an hour to allow the flavors to meld together. Enjoy this fresh, vibrant salad as a side dish or a light, healthy meal on its own.
Substitutions/Variations for this orange and fennel salad
- Citrus Variations: Swap the oranges for grapefruit or blood orange for a tangy twist.
- Herb Variations: While mint adds a fresh note to this salad, you could also use fresh dill or parsley for a different flavor profile.
- Use Arugula: Add some arugula for a peppery note and to make the salad more filling.
Expert Tips for this orange fennel salad
- To get the most juice out of your lemon, roll it on the countertop before cutting and squeezing.
- When slicing the fennel, save the fronds (the dill-like tops) to use as an additional garnish. They have a lovely, delicate flavor.
- If you want to prep the salad in advance, keep the dressing separate until you're ready to serve so the ingredients stay crisp.
What to Serve it With
This Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad pairs beautifully with a wide range of dishes:
- Seafood: The fresh, tangy flavors complement grilled or baked fish.
- Chicken: It pairs well with roast chicken, whether it's a simple Sunday roast or a more elaborate dish like chicken stuffed with feta and spinach.
- Pasta: Serve it alongside a pasta dish like spaghetti aglio e olio for a complete Sicilian-inspired meal.
- Vegetarian: For a vegetarian meal, pair the salad with a creamy risotto. The contrasting textures and flavors will delight your palate.
Storing Tips for this simple salad recipe
Storing this salad correctly can extend its freshness and maintain its crisp texture. Here are some helpful tips:
- Separate Components: If you have leftovers or are prepping the salad in advance, store the undressed salad and the dressing separately. This prevents the salad from becoming soggy.
- Refrigerate: Place the undressed salad in an airtight container and refrigerate. The dressing should also be refrigerated in a separate, sealed container.
- Use within 3 Days: For the best taste and texture, consume the salad within three days of preparing it.
- Add Dressing Just Before Serving: When ready to serve, take the salad and dressing out of the fridge, drizzle the dressing over the salad, and toss gently to combine.
Storing your Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad in this way will ensure you can enjoy its fresh, vibrant flavors for as long as possible!
Fennel's unique aniseed flavor pairs exceptionally well with citrus fruits like orange and lemon. It also complements the flavors of apple, celery, cucumber, and herbs such as dill and mint. For proteins, fennel is a great match for both fish and chicken.
A fennel salad is a fresh and vibrant salad primarily made from thinly sliced fennel bulbs. It often includes other ingredients such as citrus fruits, pomegranate, and herbs, paired with a simple dressing, usually composed of olive oil and lemon juice.
To cut fennel for salad, begin by removing the stalks and the root end from the bulb. Slice the bulb in half lengthwise and remove the hard core in the center. Then, lay the halves cut-side down and thinly slice them crosswise for delicate, crunchier pieces.
Fennel is often consumed after meals as it's believed to aid digestion and alleviate bloating. Its refreshing and slightly sweet taste serves as a perfect palate cleanser, making it a popular choice for an after-meal snack or digestive.
As long as you do not put the dressing on salad, it will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. When you're ready to enjoy it, toss with the dressing!
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More recipes like this:
- Easy Pasta con le Sarde (Sicilian Pasta with Sardines)
- Quick and Easy Italian Tomato Salad
- Whole30 Broccoli Salad
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad
- 1 whisk
- 1 large fennel bulb trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion very thinly sliced
- 2 medium oranges sliced into thin rounds, peels cut away
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Tablespoon Italian parsley chopped
- Arrange orange slices and fennel on a large serving platter in a random pattern. Scatter the onion and pomegranate arils on top.
- Whisk together the olive, vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed. Spoon dressing over the salad. Add more salt if needed. Also wonderful served with a green salad. Sprinkle on some chopped fresh parsley (optional).
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.