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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blood Orange Salad with Arugula and Walnuts

GLUTEN-FREE  |  DAIRY OPTIONAL  |  DETOX-FRIENDLY  |  VEGAN VARIATION


This light little salad packs a flavorful punch. The curious and complex flavors come from sweet and sour blood oranges, bitter and spicy arugula, creamy walnuts, sharp red onion, salty olives, and savory blue cheese. This salad is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Because blue cheese and walnuts add protein and healthy fat, this dish could be a complete meal.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 small portions if you want to serve it as an appetizer or salad course, or at least two larger portions you could serve as a main course.

If you don't have arugula, you could substitute another flavorful green like parsley, watercress, radicchio, or endive, or a combination of greens. If you prefer goat cheese to blue, use that instead, and feel free to use any kind of vinegar you like. (If you use balsamic vinegar, omit the honey.) If you can't find blood oranges, use a combination of grapefruit and oranges. If you're doing a detox, omit the honey.

I toasted the walnuts for some extra warmth, a deeper flavor, and a creamier texture. The healthy fats inside are fragile, so they should only be toasted using low heat for a short period of time, just until they become warm and fragrant.

For a vegan variation, omit the blue cheese. The salad will still be delicious without it.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn
2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 packed cups of baby arugula 
2 blood oranges, peeled, pulled apart into quarters, and cut in cross section into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup pitted and quartered Kalamata olives
1/2 cup raw walnuts, toasted briefly over low heat
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  1. In a small mixing whisk together the vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl toss together the arugula, blood oranges, onion, olives, and walnuts.
  3. Arrange the mixture on a serving plate. Garnish with blue cheese. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.

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