Shaved Fennel and Citrus Salad with Orange Ginger Dressing

I LOVE winter citrus salads! Bright colors, bold flavors, crisp and highly craveable! I'm always ready for lighter fare after plenty of extra treats over the holidays, and this salad satisfies on every level. Plus, you'll be getting a healthy dose of vitamins C and K ~ and plenty of other vitamins, minerals and fiber!

Let's do this...

Raw fennel tastes strongly of anise. Some people love this flavor, others do not. You can manipulate the strength of this flavor two ways. Roast your sliced fennel, which mellows and sweetens the taste considerably, or shave the bulb thinly and dress it at least half an hour before serving. I love it both ways, but wanted to highlight the sharp, crisp flavors for this raw salad.

Total Time: 15 minutes, excluding dressing Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hour soak time for dressing Cook Time: None

Here's what you'll need to make the SALAD for 4: PRINT HERE

2 small fennel bulbs

2 Cara Cara, Heirloom Naval or other oranges

4 Sugar Belle oranges or tangerines

6 cups of your favorite salad greens. I used arugula, but baby chard, spinach or kale would be delicious here too.

1/4 cup fresh Genovese or Thai Basil leaves, chiffonade (not sure how to do this? Watch this quick video)

8 fresh mint leaves, middle veins removed, finely chopped

1/4 cup white wine vinegar with concentrated grape must (optional)

1/2 cup Orange Ginger Dressing (recipe below)

Here's what you'll need to make ~1.5 cups of Orange Ginger Dressing

1/2 cup cashews soaked in hot water for 2 hours

2 navel oranges, zested, peeled and cut into chunks

2" piece of fresh ginger root, peeled

1/3 cup white wine or champagne vinegar

2 Medjool dates soaked in 1/4 cup hot water

1/4 cup fortified nutritional yeast* (optional)

Dash of sea salt & ground black pepper (optional)

* Fortified nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins, including vitamin B12. Not all brands of nutritional yeast are fortified, so check the label carefully. Nutritional yeast also lends some body and flavor to this dressing, but it can be omitted if necessary.

THE PROCESS for the dressing:

1. Place cashews in a bowl and pour enough HOT water over them to cover by 1/2". Set aside for two hours, occasionally stirring to submerge those floating on the surface.

2. Zest the oranges. Cover the zest and refrigerate until needed. Peel the oranges, chop into chunks and put them in your freezer while waiting for the cashews to soak.

3. Remove the seeds from the dates, place in a small bowl and pour 1/4 cup HOT water over them. Set aside.

4. Keep the ginger and vinegar cold until needed.

5. Add the partially frozen orange chunks, 2/3 of the zest, the soaked and drained cashews, the dates AND their soaking liquid, the nutritional yeast, ginger, vinegar and S&P to your high-speed blender. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down sides if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Dressing should be slightly thick, creamy and pourable. Thin with orange juice, water or more vinegar if necessary. Refrigerate until needed (can be stored up to 1 week).

THE PROCESS for the salad:

1. Cut the fennel bulbs in half, trim up the ends, reserve some of the feathery fronds for garnish. Place each half cut-side-down on your cutting board, using a v-cut, remove the hard core. Slice each half thinly using a sharp chef's knife, mandolin or food processor.

2. Pour 1/2 cup of Orange Ginger Dressing over the shaved fennel, toss lightly to coat, set aside.

3. Wash, dry, trim and pick through (if necessary) your salad greens. If using mature kale, roughly chop and massage for a few minutes. What's this all about? Check out this video included with my FANTASTIC Autumn Salad with Grilled Figs, Roasted Butternut Squash and Walnuts (this can be done without oil). Set aside while preparing citrus.

4. If you want to add a little extra citrus flavor, use a zesting tool on one or two of the oranges before cutting away the peels. Peel the oranges and carefully trim away the white pithy skin on the outer edges, or cut away the peel and pith in one step. I like to peel first so I have more control over how much fruit remains. A sharp paring knife will make quick work of this! Slice each orange into 1/4" rounds. Remove the white centers, keeping the orange ring intact.

5. Arrange your greens on individual plates, a serving platter, or shallow wide bowl. Pile dressed fennel in the middle and place citrus slices along one side in any pattern that appeals to you.

6. If using, drizzle white wine vinegar with concentrated grape must over all and garnish with basil, mint and citrus zest (if desired). Enjoy!

This salad can be made with any citrus or greens that you LOVE! Try adding 1/4 cup toasted pistachios or pine nuts for some extra crunch.

Nutrition information is calculated with arugula, Cara Cara and Sugar Belles and no additional garnishes.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you and your guests liked it! Snap a photo and tag me too, #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!

DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions exprssed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.

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