This a simple, refreshing salad that is the perfect transition from winter to spring. The inspiration for this spring citrus salad came from a salad at Winslow’s Home, a local St. Louis restaurant. The salad was quite simple but bursting with bright flavor.
This recreating is refreshing salad that is the perfect transition from winter to spring. Lingering winter citrus and mellow fennel combine with young spring greens, shallots and parsley to make a simple salad full of flavor. The salad is topped with a creamy yogurt tahini dressing that compliments the tart juicy grapefruit and sweet orange. It makes for the perfect starter or light side salad to a more substantial meal. In addition, you could add protein like chickpeas, lentil or tofu, and some nuts, seeds or avocado and you have yourself a filling and balanced salad.
In addition to this bright spring citrus salad, I’m excited to share with you all that this is actually the first time I’ve ever purchased and used fennel in my kitchen. I’ve previously avoided this vegetable because of its flavor profile similar licorice taste (I cannot stand black licorice!), but to my surprise, I loved the mild flavor and crunchy texture of the raw fennel in my salad. I was pleasantly surprised and it was a wonderful reminder for me continue to try (or retry) foods that I’ve previously not particularly liked. So, I encourage you, if you’ve never tried fennel or have previously not found it appealing, to give it another chance. This spring citrus salad is a perfect way to start!
Get to Know Fennel
Fennel is best described as having an aromatic, mild licorice taste. However, if you’re not a fan of black licorice, this can be extremely off-putting. While fennel is described as having a licorice taste, it is an extremely mild, fresh flavor that drastically differs from the black chewy licorice candy.
Fennel, anise, and licorice all share similar taste properties but are all entirely different plants. Fennel is botanically related to celery and parsley and provides a slightly sweet, fresh flavor to cooking. The bulb, stalk, and fronds are all edible and can be used fresh or cooked. In addition to its culinary uses, fennel has numerous nutritional benefits and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber and a good source of vitamin A, potassium, and iron. It also has a unique ability to aid in digestion. This is mostly due to its high fiber content, but also due to its phytochemical profile, especially in its seeds, that helps stimulate digestive juices and prevent bad breath. This is why it is a common practice of eastern cultures to chew fennel seeds after a meal.
The slightly bitter grapefruit is balanced out by the sweetness of the orange and the mild fennel, but feel free to use any winter citrus to suit your taste preference.
The recipe calls for watercress but any tender greens will work in this salad combination. I think spinach or pea sprouts would be lovely. This dressing can be made with or without dairy. I gave the option of using Greek yogurt or a dairy-free yogurt just as almond or coconut, but raw cashews or more tahini would work well and make a delicious, slightly nuttier dressing.
Spring Citrus Salad with Yogurt Tahini Dressing
Make this into an entree by adding a protein + healthy fat.
Spring Citrus Salad
1 cara cara or blood orange
1/2 fennel bulb (fronds reserved)
2 cups watercress or other spring greens
Yogurt Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup plain yogurt (dairy-free if necessary)
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2-3 teaspoons water (plus more for thinning)
1 garlic clove, minced and crushed
salt and pepper, to taste
Using a sharp knife, cut off the top and bottom of the citrus so you have a sturdy foundation. Cut down the side of the fruit removing the skin and pitch, then cut into thin slices. Set aside.
Slice the fennel bulb in half, keeping the core intact, cut very thin vertical slices (a mandolin works great if you have one). Remove the fronds from the fennel stalk. Add these to a large bowl.
Next, slice the shallots as thinly as possible. Toss the shallots and watercress into the bowl with the fennel. You have the option of dressing the fennel and greens now then adding the citrus. I personally like adding the citrus and drizzling with the dressing once plated (as shown above).
To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Continue to add water until your desired consistency. I left mine on the thicker side.
Make sure to follow Nourished by Nutrition on Instagram. If you make this recipe tag #nourishedbynutriton so I can see what you have made and feature you!