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.
Arugula Salad with Avocado and Cara Cara 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 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste (a finishing salt like fleur de sel is very nice here))
- 1/4 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.
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Beth, as an expat Brit, can I put in a word for watercress too? Peppery but not that underlying flavor that maybe your mum dislikes? Good for you too, some say better than arugula. The salad looks delicious and I love those oranges too!
Thank you for giving watercress a shout-out, Gillie! I love it so much, and I want to plant some in my garden this year. Do you call arugula “rocket” in Britain? Or, I should say, did you? 🙂
I’ve heard you can forage for watercress, I wonder if there are any Pacific NW spots to do that in. Takes the “simple” out of the salad but would be fun!
Let’s go a-foraging! 🙂
This looks amazingly delicious, the colors scream “eat me”! We’re a love/hate family with arugula, I love it, everyone else in the family hates it. So I guess that means I would get to eat the whole bowl. 🙂
Thank you my friend! You know you can always come over and I’ll make a big bowl just for you. 🙂
This looks delish! Can’t wait to try it! I adore your writing and sense of humor! If you lived by me – I would be best friend with you – you crack me up!
Awww, this made my day, Christine! Virtual high-five from me to you, wherever you are. 🙂
Hannah Elizabeth says
LOL, Beth…my mom’s side of the family has been teasing me for awhile about these breakfast cookies I make (that I of course always eat as dough, because I’m weird like that) that have hemp hearts in them and they call them my pot cookies. They’ll josh me that I’m going through withdrawals, need another hit, etc. *eye roll* ? I of course explained to them many times that they weren’t from the same part of the hemp plant as marijuana and you could buy hemp hearts at Costco for goodness sake…but they just love teasing. ? So of course, when I read this, it simultaneously made me laugh and I was also like, “YES! *Thank you!!*”
I love arugula, but my mom hates it and none of the rest of my family are big fans. But I really want to try this with some other green (well, in reality, I really want to try it with arugula, but I know that I’d be the only one who would like it, so I’ll settle for some other green ?)! I love that you make avocado into a dressing – just brilliantly yummilicious.
Great post! Thanks for all the juicy details, especially the pics showing how to supreme an orange, very helpful. Cheers.
My pleasure, Patrick! Glad the supreme pics were helpful. 😉
Kim Bradbury says
As Beth’s arugula disliking Mom, I love her posts as well. I made the salad last night with spinach as the green. The Cara Cara’s were the stand-out flavor, because the spinach is so neutral. My hubby (Beth’s Dad) asked me to toss some walnuts in his. Between the two of us we finished the bowl! As Gillie suggested, I may try watercress next time to jazz it up a little. It was still fresh and delicious. Thanks Beth!
Oh, walnuts, yum!! I almost did slivered almonds in this original recipe but kept it simpler. Way to be adventurous with the watercress, can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂
Angie S says
YUM! I just tried Cara Cara oranges at Sam’s and was blown away! And I love hemp hearts – they gone into and onto everything. Trader Joes has them at a good price too.
Once we went plant based, we were shocked at how often we DON’T have salad – cuz everything else is a veggie so it seemed superfluous.
You nailed it, Angie! Superfluous is a great word, and so fitting here. I’m a vocab nerd. 🙂 I didn’t know that TJ’s had hemp hearts, how did I miss that? Very cool. 🙂