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.

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

Print Recipe
Bright Summer Oil-free Tomato Salad Dressing Recipe
Glass cup with spout containing Bright Summer Oil-free Tomato Salad Dressing in an elegant glass pouring vessel.
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb tomatoes preferably from a Farmers Market, heirloom, or on the vine
  • 2-4 cloves garlic outer paper removed and germ removed
  • 6 green olives preferably Castelvetrano (rinsed and pitted)
  • 4-6 tbls lemon juice juice from 2 lemons
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb tomatoes preferably from a Farmers Market, heirloom, or on the vine
  • 2-4 cloves garlic outer paper removed and germ removed
  • 6 green olives preferably Castelvetrano (rinsed and pitted)
  • 4-6 tbls lemon juice juice from 2 lemons
Glass cup with spout containing Bright Summer Oil-free Tomato Salad Dressing in an elegant glass pouring vessel.
Instructions
  1. Gather the ingredients: tomatoes, olives, garlic and lemons.
  2. The small grape and cherry tomato varieties can be put in the blender cup without chopping. For larger tomatoes, rough chop them. 1/2 lb makes about 1 cup chopped.
  3. Remove the pit from the rinsed olives. No need to be fussy since they will be blended; a light-medium tap with a pounder (too much force can break the pit) (see photo above) or tap with back of a chef knife works great too.
  4. Remove the paper skin from the garlic cloves. A light tap with the pounder or the the back of a knife will release the papery skin too.
  5. Remove germ from the garlic clove. Cut the clove in half lengthwise and pull the germ out, it usually releases easily.
  6. Place the tomatoes in the blender (whole if small, chopped if larger). Add the olives, 1 or 2 garlic cloves.
  7. Before blending, wrap a paper towel around the top of the blender cup around the stick part so the tomatoes don't spatter out.
  8. Start start blending with a pulsing blend (turn on a couple seconds, off, then on again). Continue blending until well-blended and pretty smooth. Taste it to see if you want more garlic or olives. Sometimes tomato pieces get caught in the blender blade dome , a light tap on the bottom or the side of the blender cup will release those pieces. If it is really thick, remove the stick blender and stir in the lemon juice with a fork. If it is still pretty loose you can blend in the lemon juice. I usually find the dressing is too thick, so use a fork to stir in the lemon juice with a fork and it makes just the consistency to dress the salads, noodle dishes and drizzled on vegetables.
  9. The oil-free tomato dressing is ready to dress and brighten your dishes. Pictured in the last photo above, #9, with our Castelvetrano Olive, Tomato & Noodle Salad.

Below are affiliate links to tools used in the Whole Orange Balsamic Arugula Salad recipe.

Boos Board

Zwilling JA Henckels
Chef Knife

KitchenAid Hand Blender

Zyliss Handheld Mandoline

OXO Salad Spinner

Pyrex 4 qt Prep Bowl with Lid

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

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