I love Blood Oranges. They are a little sweet but also have some tartness (unlike their cousins the Navel oranges, which I think makes them more versatile). I would be remiss if I did not also mention their colour. Not only does it make Blood Oranges beautiful on any plate, but, it also makes them more nutritious than other oranges. Anthocyanin, is the pigment responsible for the deep red colour found in blood oranges (its also found in blueberries and cherries). Anthocyanin protects your cells from oxidative damage and consuming more foods containing it may contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease and improve your memory, especially as we age.
This salad also contains Radicchio and Fennel Bulb, two lesser utilized vegetables that pack a tonne of nutrition and flavour. Radicchio is a rich source of dietary fiber, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E and folate. It also a good source of antioxidants, visible with its deep purple colour. Radicchio has a bitter flavour. Eating bitter foods promotes bile production, which in turn improves our digestion. Interestingly radicchio was also found to have a significant anti-parasitic effect on a particular type of roundworm commonly found in pigs. This discovery may indicate a potential benefit in fighting off other parasitic growth as well (Williams AR, 2019). Fennel Bulb is a great source of fiber which helps to detoxify the body through the daily removal of toxins. Fennel is a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals but the most fascinating is a phytonutrient compound called anethole. The anethole in fennel has repeatedly been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer in various animal studies (Whfoods.com, 2019).
This salad is beautiful with the deep colour of blood orange, delicious with its variety of flavors and power-packed with nutrients and phytochemical to keep you healthy from the inside out. This salad can be eaten as a meal or would be a great side dish as well. Blood Oranges are in season from December to May so pick some up and make this today.
Blood orange and fennel salad and a Blood Orange Vinaigrette
3 Blood Oranges
2 heaping handfuls arugula leaves
1/2 head of radicchio - chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
1 small shallot, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 handful fresh torn mint
Ingredients (Blood Orange Vinaigrette)
about 1/4 cup blood orange juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp maple syrup (optional 2 tbsp honey)
1 tsp sea salt
Peel and segment oranges over a bowl. set aside
Squeeze membranes over bowl to extract juice (from 3 medium oranges I got about 1/4 cup)
Wisk together juice from blood oranges along with all other dressing ingredients set aside.
Mix together arugula, radicchio, and fennel, combine with 3tbsps of dressing and add to large plate
Top with orange segments, shallots, pecans and mint
note: recipe makes additional blood orange vinaigrette, can be stored in the fridge for up to a week