I don’t eat a ton of salad. You would think I would, but at the moment, salad is a “sometimes” food in our rotation. I think it’s because salads seem complicated, like they need a ton of ingredients. Do you ever feel that way about salad? I think it’s time that we make salad simple. We’ve done this with kale a couple of time already, with this Simple Kale Salad, and this Winter Kale Salad, but now, it’s almost spring, and I want tender, spring greens. But I want those greens to pack a punch, and that means I want arugula.
Can we just stop for a second and talk about how fun it is to say arugula? AH-ROO-GOO-LAH. I like food words that are fun to say. Like kebab. And kombucha. And mushy (or moo-shee, as my husband says). Anyway….arugula looks super innocent, but it’s actually quite peppery and spicy. It’s got some serious flavor power going on. And, just like with cilantro, you either love arugula, or, if you’re like my parents, you hate it. I remember when my Mom was telling me that she and my Dad didn’t like this one salad blend but couldn’t figure out why. I gave her a leaf of arugula to try, and we determined the culprit right away. I guess you could say I’m a food detective. 😉 Anyway, if you don’t like arugula, MOM, then just use spinach or your favorite baby greens WITHOUT arugula in it.
This salad will make you want to eat salad more often. At least, I hope it does. Because it’s crazy simple, and can be adapted to anyone’s tastes very easily. Here’s all you need to make it:
Cara Cara Oranges (or any other orange you like)
And, if you’re feeling like you want to sprinkle on some love, add some hemp hearts! We’ll get to those in a minute. First, let’s make the salad.
Start with a bowl of washed and dried arugula leaves. If you buy it in a package in the store, chances are it’s already been washed and dried for you, which is nice.
Now add in a splash of rice vinegar, a pinch or two of salt (I used fancy fleur de sel, but any salt is fine), and avocado. And last, but not least, the Cara Cara orange.
Cara Cara oranges are my current obsession. I LOVE the early part of the year on the West Coast here in the US, because it means that all different kinds of citrus are in season and readily available. Cara Cara oranges are crazypants delicious – sweet and citrusy without any sour. They are just amazingly wonderful. In fact, I had to buy more oranges before I could photograph this recipe, because Vida kept eating them. Between the two of us, one night we ate 4. I’m pretty sure Vida accounted for 2/3 of that orange consumption. So they are preschooler-approved, as well.
Now comes the part where you get to feel like a chef. At least, I do every time I do this. You’re going to supreme an orange.
Beth, I’m going to WHAT?
I said, you’re going to supreme (soo-prem) an orange. Oh, wait. I guess I should tell you what that is. To supreme an orange (or any citrus) is to cut the orange segments away from the skin/membrane so that you have nice clean pieces and no skin that will get stuck in your teeth. It’s fancy and chef-y and totally unnecessary, but it’s fun and you should do it. Here’s how, in pictures.
Easy enough, right? If you still want pretty pieces of orange but don’t want to mess around with the dissection part, you can just cut the rind away and then cut across widthwise into round slices. You’ll get a little bit of pith and skin that way, but it looks nice and will still taste fantastic.
By the way, my favorite knife to use for this, and any other cutting of round food items, is a boning knife. I know that’s a funny thing for a plant-based blog to endorse, but it’s perfect for the job with its thin, flexible blade.
So, now you have all these bits of orange peel with perfectly good juicy flavor still clinging to them, along with an orange skeleton, if you will, that’s got plenty of juicy flesh hanging on. That juice belongs in your salad. So squeeze it on in along with the avocado, salt, and rice vinegar, and then mash it all together into the arugula leaves. You’ll use your (clean) hands for this and it’s surprisingly therapeutic. Although, be careful, as arugula is definitely more gentle. Save the serious therapy sessions for kale.
Oh, by the way, congratulations. You’ve just dressed your salad. I told you this was easy.
So now you have an oil-free, vegan, in-season salad that is just begging to be savored the next time you get a hankering for salad. The only thing left is to sprinkle on even more nutrition in the form of hemp hearts, which is a more fun way to refer to shelled hemp seeds. Yes, these seeds are perfectly legal, and no, you will not get a buzz from eating them, other than the natural high that comes from putting something so nutritious into your body. 3 tablespoons gets you 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of Omega 3 and 6! Plus, I think they’re awfully pretty sprinkled on top of this salad, don’t you? Your best buy for Hemp Hearts is Costco, and I’ve seen them there every time I’ve gone for the past several months. However, Amazon also has them at a great price if you can’t find them locally.
So there you have it, folks! A simple salad that can also bring out your inner chef. I hope you’ll give it a go and let me know what you think! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy all the oranges.
- 6-8 cups arugula, washed and dried (a typical 7 oz. package)
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- 2 Cara Cara oranges, or other orange of your choice, such as Navel
- 1 T. rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp. of salt, or to taste (a finishing salt like fleur de sel is very nice here)
- ¼ cup of Hemp Hearts, optional
- Place arugula in a large serving bowl.
- Add in avocado, rice vinegar, and salt.
- Peel and supreme the oranges into segments, reserving the peel.
- Squeeze the orange peels into the bowl along with any juice collected when preparing the orange segments.
- Gently massage the avocado into the arugula leaves to dress the salad.
- Top with orange segments, season with salt to taste, if necessary, and sprinkle on the hemp hearts if using.
- Serve immediately.