I love this time of the year, not just because the signs of spring are creeping up, but also our farmer’s market is full of different kinds of citrusy fruits. Grapefruits, clementines, tangerines, Cara Cara and blood oranges are in abundance. So much so that it is really hard to pick. But last time I was there, I bought a couple of pounds of blood oranges with the intention of making a blood orange upside down cake. I had never made an upside down cake before and wanted to give it a try. Sadly, even after trying two different recipes I could not succeed with making the oranges stay on top without shrinking too much and being buried inside the batter. They tasted really good, but they were just not what I hoped for, a.k.a. foolproof. Though this is not the end of my quest for a foolproof upside down blood orange cake recipe, I decided that after two failures it would be a good idea to take a break and give it a try some other time in the future. Instead, I decided to make a salad that will make them shine and show off their beautiful color.
I went with a salad, because I remembered how I felt last year around the same time. We were still living in the Caribbean and I wanted to make this orange and date salad. I looked in every supermarket on Virgin Gorda (and on the nearby islands) just to find out that blood oranges are just too fancy to bring down to the islands. In my heart, I knew that it would look much better with blood oranges, but my hands were tied. I still made it, but truth be told, I was quite envious of every blog and publication I followed making recipes with these beauties. So this year, while I am in abundance of them, I decided that it is about time for a new citrusy salad recipe, but this time, with blood oranges that are available for me in every market by my house. Cheers to that! No?
This winter salad is super simple, but also super tasty, with thinly sliced fennel, crunchy almonds, creamy ripe avocados, tangy green olives, and an easy-to make garlicky mayo (I used veganaise) dressing. It offers a tremendous amount of flavor that you wouldn’t expect from a salad. The juicy blood oranges not only make it look so pleasing to the eye, but also add a sweet and citrusy bite to it. Plus, it is so easy and quick to put it together. I usually keep some cooked quinoa in the fridge, but if you do not, you can easily make it while chopping up all the other ingredients.
Last but not least, if you are making this salad when blood oranges are not in season, feel free to swap them with regular oranges or grapefruit (especially Ruby red grapefruit). Or else, mix it up. I guarantee you, your co-workers will ask for the recipe when they see you eat this beauty for lunch.
Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Blood Oranges and Fennel
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: American
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon blood orange zest (from the oranges you will use for the salad)
- 3 tablespoons grape seed vegenaise (or mayo)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 blood oranges, peeled and sliced
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted and cut into small chunks
- 2 cups cooked tricolored or white quinoa
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup pitted green olives, sliced
- Place sliced almonds in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toast them, stirring frequently, until they are lightly golden brown. This happens pretty quickly so keep a close eye on it. Transfer to a plate and let it cool.
- Place the shallot in a bowl filled with ice water and let stand while you are getting the other things ready.
- To make the dressing: Whisk together the zest, vegenaise, vinegar, garlic, oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- To assemble: Drain the shallot. Place shallot slices, sliced oranges, avocados, cooked quinoa, fennel slices, parsley, and olives in a bowl. Drizzle the dressing over. Give it a gentle toss.
- Serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 4 - 6 servings
Adapted from a recipe (with changes) from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.