This gorgeous winter salad quickly became one of my favorites after I discovered it in Bon Appétit’s January detox issue. As excited as I am for spring’s imminent arrival, I must admit that winter has some pretty fantastic ingredients to offer (think of all those luscious dark leafy greens, squashes, and oranges), and I will definitely miss them come spring and summer. Plus, blood oranges and beets may be classic winter produce, but the light citrus feel and the colorfulness of this salad definitely has a touch of spring in it..so this may just be the perfect winter-spring transitional salad. To top it all off, this salad has fennel in it, which is probably my favorite vegetable, so anything with fennel in it makes my list. I adjusted Bon Appétit’s recipe slightly in terms of proportions and preparation method (mostly to increase the quantity of fennel in the salad!), but used all the same ingredients.
I particularly love this salad because not only is it gorgeous to look at and delicious to eat, but it’s also virtually guilt free…and who doesn’t love guilt-free food?! Low calorie, low fat, low sodium, and packed with nutritional benefits. Beets are a rich source of anti-oxidants that lower the risk of blood platelet clots and therefore reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Both beets and oranges are packed with immunity-boosting Vitamin C, great in the winter and during this transitional period for fighting off illnesses like the flu, as well as fiber which promotes digestive health. According to Bon Appétit, this recipe makes 4-6 servings, and each has under 100 calories.
You willl need:
- 3-4 small blood oranges
- 1 large or 2 medium regular oranges
- 1 medium bulb of fennel
- 2 red beets
- 2 golden beets
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 1 small red onion, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400F. Wash beets and pat dry with a paper towel, but leave the skins a little damp. Wrap each beet in foil and place on a baking sheet in the oven until beets are tender (about 1 hour). Allow beets to cool.
In the meantime, thinly shave fennel and onion using a mandolin and place in a medium bowl. Toss fennel with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Using a sharp knife, cut and peel skin and pith from all oranges. Slice the blood oranges cross-sectionally into slices, and cut the regular orange into wedges by cutting between membranes with a knife. Do the same with the beets; cut 2 cross-wise and 2 into wedges. Arrange oranges and beets on a flat dish, avoiding layering as much as possible to minimize staining. Drizzle remaining lemon and lime juices on oranges and beets. Do not combine ingredients until ready to serve, as the oranges and beets will stain the fennel.
When ready to serve, place a generous amount of shaved fennel on individual plates, top with orange and beet slices. Garnish with cilantro and red onion, and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top as desired. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if needed. Allow salad to sit for a few minutes so that the flavors combine.
Another great variation of this salad that I love has spicy rocket or arugula leaves the tossed with the fennel, oranges but no beets, and mint instead of cilantro. Yumyum.
In good health,
* Photo credit: bonappetit.com. Recipe adjusted from Bon Appétit, January 2012 issue.