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Here’s a refreshing and easy side dish: fennel orange salad! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.

Fennel orange salad
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Ready to meet our (and your) new favorite salad? Fennel orange salad! It features beautiful juicy oranges, with their vibrant color and citrusy flavor. Add to that a famous pairing: sliced raw fennel, which adds a subtle licorice essence. Throw it over greens with a few garnishes, top with a zingy homemade citrus vinaigrette, and wow! There’s so much going on flavor and texture-wise, it’s one of the most unexpectedly delicious salads we’ve ever made. Pair with rich pasta like lasagna or mac and cheese, or pizza. Or salmon. Or well….really anything! Here’s how to make it.

Fennel Orange Salad

What’s in this fennel orange salad?

Fennel and orange are a famous pairing in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. You may have seen a Sicilian version that’s a big plate of oranges with sliced fennel on top. Why are these flavors often paired together? Well, the sweet citrus flavor of oranges are lovely pairing with the subtle black licorice perfume of raw fennel. It’s truly a sensory experience. (Here’s a stunning cake with that combo).

Alex and I designed this salad as a green salad featuring that well-known pairing. Here’s what’s in this fennel orange salad:

  • Oranges: Use a mix of blood orange and Cara Cara for the best color and flavor contrasts. You’ll use a fancy technique to “supreme” the orange into sections (see below).
  • Fennel: Grab a bulb of fennel in the produce section! Learn more about fennel here. (PS It’s also fantastic roasted as a side dish or in other fennel recipes.)
  • Leafy greens: Use whatever type of baby greens you’d like! It’s nice to have a mix to vary texture and flavor. If you’re using baby kale, arugula or spinach, make sure to use some other milder greens or lettuces for contrast.
  • Shallot & pistachios: Shallot is a milder version of red onion: here it’s thinly sliced into rings. Crushed pistachios add a little crunch and texture.
  • Citrus vinaigrette: Top it all off in a homemade citrus salad dressing.
Citrus vinaigrette

Important: don’t section the orange with your fingers!

OK, before we start! Do not section the oranges with your fingers and throw the sections on top. This method is great for snacking, but a no-no for salads. Why? Sectioning the orange with your fingers keeps on the pith, which makes it very hard to eat with a knife and fork. For salads, there’s a different method entirely for sectioning an orange. It’s called…surpreming.

Yes, that’s right! There’s a fancy French method for cutting an orange for a salad called “cutting an orange into supremes”. It makes for perfectly peeled sections without the pith that are easy to eat! These are lovely for salads like this fennel orange salad or our Simple Citrus Salad.

Step 2: Cut off the peel

How to cut an orange…into supremes!

Here’s the basic concept, which you can find at How to Cut an Orange:

  • Step 1: Slice off the ends. Use a large chef’s knife to slice off both ends of the orange. Make sure you’ve cut through all of the pith and can see some of the orange flesh.
  • Step 2: Cut off the peel. Angle your knife and follow the round shape of the orange to remove the peel. Be careful not to cut too much of the orange flesh away.
  • Step 3: Cut away a segment (inside the membrane lines). Cut right on the inside of each membrane line to remove a segment. You don’t want to cut right on the membrane, but just inside of it. Make the two angled cuts, and the segment will pop right out.
How to cut an orange into supremes

Top it off with citrus salad dressing!

The last part of this fennel orange salad is a zingy citrus salad dressing that seals the deal. It features both orange and lemon, but it’s well balanced and is the perfect dressing to elevate the salad to a “next level” side dish. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Orange juice + zest
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Olive oil

You’ll whisk the first four ingredients together, then whisk in the olive oil one tablespoon at a time until a creamy emulsion forms. It’s perfect for this salad, or throw-together salads on weeknights!

Want a few more salad dressings? Try our How to Make Healthy Salad Dressing.

Fennel orange salad

What this fennel orange salad goes with? Everything.

This fennel orange salad is so darn versatile, it’s one of our favorite salad recipes! It’s right up there in our green salad hall of fame, with our Chopped Salad and Easy Arugula Salad. Here are some great recipes that would pair well:

This fennel orange salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant based, dairy-free, gluten-free.

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Fennel orange salad

Fennel Orange Salad

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Here’s a refreshing and easy side dish: fennel orange salad! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.


  • 1/2 recipe Citrus Vinaigrette
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 small oranges: blood orange or Cara Cara
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 5 ounces baby mixed greens (about 5 cups)*


  1. Make the Citrus Vinaigrette.
  2. Thinly slice the fennel and the shallot. If desired, save a few fennel fronds (the feathery green parts on top of the stalk) for a garnish.
  3. Cut oranges into sections or “supremes” following How to Cut an Orange.
  4. To serve, place the greens on a plate. Top with oranges, fennel, shallot, and chopped pistachios (and fennel fronds if desired). Drizzle with dressing and serve.


*Use whatever type you’d like! It’s nice to use a mixture of greens to vary texture and flavor. If you’re using baby kale, arugula or spinach, make sure they’re mixed with some other milder greens. Mixed lettuces are also nice, as they add a refreshing crunch.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Salad

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Nancy Martin says:

    I tasted a salad like this at a restaurant and loved it. While scanning recipe sites, I came across yours. It’s nearly identical. Thank you! I’ll be back to check out more of your recipes.

  2. Nic says:

    Delicious!! I made for a luncheon w/a gluten free friend. We had it with polenta lasagna. I’m making it as a side for smoked turkey & corn & green chili cornbread stuffing. It pairs with so many things. Refreshing and just delish! Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. Ely Torres says:

    It was so good !!! My new favorite salad :)

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed!