Whole Orange Balsamic Arugula Salad

Bright orange citrus, vibrant green peppery arugula, crisp refreshing romaine, the bite of red onion . . . what a great combination.

Whole Orange Balsamic on Arugula Salad from the Noil Kitchen
Whole Orange Balsamic on Arugula Salad

Winter brings bright citrus, and navel oranges are at their best starting in December and going through April. This is very simple with only four ingredients in the whole orange balsamic dressing and only four in the arugula salad allowing the bright and bold flavors of each ingredient to come forward. The sweetness of the winter orange and peppery taste of the arugula makes this one of those magic combinations. Crispy romaine gives a refreshing bite and texture with a more neutral flavor to balance the salad.

Using the whole orange instead of just the orange juice in the dressing makes the dressing thick and rich tasting without the need for any nut butter. I love that this doesn’t need any added fat. The white part of the orange which has a zesty and slightly bitter taste balances the sweetness from the juicy orange and is also what makes the dressing thick with a very full rounded flavor. Garlic and mustard give an extra pungency and the balsamic vinegar adds an acid brightness and a touch of sweetness. All of these notes play well with the orange.

The quantities in this recipe make enough for about eight dinner salad plates depending on the size you like and what else is for dinner. If there is extra, not a problem, as it does well in the refrigerator overnight. The dressed salad still tastes great and has good texture the next day so I don’t mind making a larger batch. My husband loves it on sandwiches and with vegetable burgers. If you don’t want the extra, divide all of the ingredients in half and use a small clove of garlic. This orange balsamic arugula salad is a perfect accompaniment for the Moroccan Inspired Warm-Spiced Chickpeas. It is also a nice lead in to the Red Lentil Soup with Carrot and Ginger.

Using the whole orange gives richness to this fat-free dressing and a bright citrus sweetness to compliment the peppery arugula.

Tools Used in this Recipe

  • salad spinner
  • cutting board
  • chef knife
  • hand blender & cup or standard blender
  • paper towel
  • large prep bowl or salad serving bowl
  • salad servers or Tongs