This Italian Winter Salad with fresh Fennel, Citrus, and Hazelnuts is sure to brighten your table this winter season! It is a gorgeous display of simple and fresh ingredients. The pop of color from the citrus add a bright touch with an extra punch of vitamin C. You will love the crunch from the hazelnuts and sweet fresh fennel. It’s an all around delicious salad!

Salad orange fennel pomegranate

Simple Ingredients

Salad

  • Italian salad mix variety
  • Orange variety of choice (see recommendations)
  • Fresh fennel
  • Pomegranate
  • Hazelnuts
  • Olives
  • Red onions (optional)

Red onions would work great in this salad. I don’t love raw onions, but many do!

Vinaigrette

  • Olive oil
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Orange zest
  • Honey
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

What Oranges Can I use in this Salad?

You can use any citrus of your choice to make this salad, the brighter the color the better! Here are some I recommend:

  • Cara Cara Orange
  • Blood Orange
  • Navel Orange (if fresh and sweet)

Even tangerines will work!

0Z4A0834 683x1024, CucinaByElena

Tips for cutting the oranges for the salad

I use a serrated knife and cut off the top and bottom of the orange so it can stand flat. Then, take off the peel by slicing from the top to the bottom following the curve of the fruit.

Take off only the peel and the white pith, as much as you can see leaving the flesh naked, then turn the fruit on its’ side and carefully slice crosswise. That’s it!

What greens will work in this salad?

I love to use a traditional Italian mix. You can find this salad in pre made bags with the perfect balance of sweet, crunchy romaine and crisp, red cabbage that adds a delectable texture and taste to this salad.

You can use just about any salad mix you want. You can also add arugula or spinach. I don’t prefer to use romaine or iceberg lettuce because it’s too crunchy and the water content is too high. You will have better results with thin, leafy greens.

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What is Fresh Fennel?

Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

We eat a lot fresh fennel in Sardegna, Italia where my family lives. It tastes sweet and crisp.

More on Fennel…

What Does Fennel Taste Like?

“Anise-flavored” is the term used most often to describe fennel’s flavor—but that doesn’t mean it tastes like a licorice stick! In fact, fresh fennel’s anise factor is delicate and mild; many self-proclaimed licorice-haters find that they actually like it. Texture-wise, the bulb is a lot like celery: crunchy and fibrous when raw, soft and silky when cooked. 

Try this recipe for cooked fennel:

Roasted Fennel Recipe (Italian Style)

Substitute for Fennel in this salad:

Fresh fennel can sometimes be hard to find. If you ask your produce department at your local grocery store they can usually order it for you within a couple of days. If you really can’t find it you can:

  • leave out the fresh fennel
  • add a little dried fennel to the salad dressing

Orange Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

You will love this super easy homemade vinaigrette that you can use for different salad recipes as well. It is sweet, tangy, fresh, and just the right balance of flavors you desire for your tender salad greens. You simple throw all the ingredients in a jar and shake, shake, shake!

Everyone loves this salad. It’s super easy to make!

A beautiful and delicious salad for entertaining!

Best tips for serving salad:

  • Make the dressing up to 2 days ahead of time. Store the dressing in the fridge and let it come to room temperature an hour before serving. Shake the jar and presto! You are ready to dress your salad.
  • Serve the salad in a flat and wide serving platter (as pictured). Ditch the deep salad bowl and serve your salad on a platter for a pretty presentation. This will also help with serving and evenly topping the salad with all the add-in ingredients.
  • Dress the salad 10 minutes before serving and DO NOT TOSS. When you serve the salad in a shallow and wide serving platter you don’t need to toss the salad. No more digging for all the yummy toppings at the bottom of the bowl! Simply distribute the dressing evenly over the top and the it will seep down to coat all the toppings and salad underneath. Voila!

As guests serve themselves the salad will stay pretty with the ingredients on top. Everyone will get a little bit of all the delicious toppings as the get their portions and the salad will be perfectly dressed with the vinaigrette.

From my Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)

Made with Amore, Elena

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Salad orange fennel pomegranate
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Salad orange fennel pomegranate

Italian Winter Salad Fennel, Citrus, and Hazelnuts

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This Italian Winter Salad with fresh Fennel, Citrus, and Hazelnuts is sure to brighten your table this season! It is a gorgeous display of simple and fresh ingredients. The pop of color from the citrus add a bright touch with an extra punch of vitamin C. You will love the crunch from the hazelnuts and sweet fresh fennel. It’s an all around delicious salad!  


Ingredients

Units Scale

Orange Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice + zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic cut in quarters

Salad

  • 2 bags (510 g) Italian lettuce mix or spring greens
  • 2 medium oranges, skin removed and cut in thin slices (see notes)
  • 4 tablespoons hazelnuts
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly slices
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup olives of choice- I love green Castelvetrano Olives
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Instructions

Citrus and Honey Vinaigrette

  1. Place all ingredients in a Mason jar and shake vigorously. The dressing can stay at room temperature for up to two hours and up to one week in the refrigerator.

Salad

    1. In a large salad bowl or plater add the mixed salad.  Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the salad. Do not toss.
    • 2. Add all of the prepared dressing on evenly on top of the salad 10 minute before serving. Do not toss or all the ingredients will fall to the bottom. The dressing will eventually coat the bottom of the salad as it sinks. The salad will toss naturally as it is served. Mangia!

Notes

Tips for cutting the oranges for the salad. I use a serrated knife and cut off the top and bottom of the orange so it can stand flat. Then,  take off the peel by slicing from the top to the bottom following the curve of the fruit. Take off only the peel and the white pith, as much as you can see leaving the flesh naked, then turn the fruit on its’ side and carefully slice crosswise. That’s it!

Keywords: salad, side dish, hazelnuts, citrus dressing, Italian salad, salad recipe, orange, fennel