This pickled fennel citrus salad is filled with grapefruit, pomegranates, and quickly pickled fennel. Tossed with an orange dijon vinaigrette, it’s the perfect winter salad.
The other day I got a text from my brother with a picture of radishes that said “from the garden, what do I do with them?” My immediate thought and response was “pickle them!” followed up with “or just roast them like these salted rosemary roasted radishes“. My sister in law preferred roasting so that’s what they did but ever since that conversation I’ve had pickling on the brain.
I adore tangy stuff. You tell me something is pickled on a menu, I’m ordering it. I was the kid that used to drink the leftover dressing from the salad bowl (dressing was always olive oil + balsamic vinegar in our house) and get excited about it every single night. Tart might just be my favorite of the 5 basic taste categories and that’s saying a lot considering my sweet tooth.
So to quench this pickled craving, I decided to quick pickle some fennel for this pickled fennel citrus salad. Fennel always reminds me of this time of year and holiday gatherings with some old person at the dining room table munching away at it in between dinner and dessert. Apparently, this is a super Italian thing to do, something I never realized until recently when Brandy told me her husband’s family calls it “Italian celery” and the light bulb went off “ahhh! So THAT’S why my family was always eating it!” It’s supposed to help with digestion, fyi if you’re still not putting all this together.
Quick pickling is such a great way to add flavor to salads or even savory things that need a balance of something tart without the huge time investment and forethought of regular pickling. The best part about pickling is this flavor comes at no extra caloric expense, something particularly awesome this time of year when we could all use a healthy flavorful swap or two amidst all the cookies, cakes and sweets. Tossing the fennel in some Nakano natural rice vinegar, orange zest and salt for just 15 minutes before putting the salad together brings a ton more interest to this winter-filled salad!
Check out this winter chopped kale salad for more healthy, tangy, winter goodness!
Pickled Fennel Citrus Salad
This pickled fennel citrus salad is filled with grapefruit, pomegranates, and quickly pickled fennel. Tossed with an orange dijon vinaigrette, it's the perfect winter salad.
- 1 bulb fennel, cut in quarters, cored then thinly sliced
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup Nakano natural rice vinegar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 8 ounces baby arugula
- 1 grapefruit, segmented
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- fennel fronds for garnish
For the dressing
- juice of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Nakano natural rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the sliced fennel in a shallow bowl with the rice vinegar, orange zest and salt. Toss to combine and set aside for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally to coat all the fennel in the mixture.
- Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking together until incorporated.
- Toss the arugula and the dressing together in a large bowl until well coated.
- Add the grapefruit, pomegranates and fennel to the bowl and lightly toss again.
- Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and garnish with fennel fronds.
*This post is sponsored by Nakano as part of my ongoing brand ambassadorship with them. All opinions, content and photography are my own.