Are there any foods that you just hate? I am quite a food lover, so when I talk about hating a food, the hatred sure does run deep. I have two in particular.
One will never grace the pages of this blog: Celery. I cannot stand the stringiness. I cannot stomach the bitter taste. And the texture totally freaks me out. I have some kind of hyper-sensitivity when it comes to that stuff; I taste it in Old Bay (bleh – celery salt), soups (horrible little chunks of the stuff), and green juices (why ruin such a good and healthy thing with the devil vegetable?). And I’ve heard it’s such a fantastic vehicle for my favorite food, peanut butter. Alas, celery always has been, and always will be, part of my “Food Axis of Evil.”
I also loathe orange-flavored things. That artificial, chemical-filled nonsense always tends to churn my stomach and leave me totally grossed out. Orange seltzer water, orange candy, orange sherbet. I can’t.
Real oranges though? Not to mention those alluring blood oranges? I can eat them until I’m orange in the face. I can’t get enough, especially around this time of year. This is why I decided to create a wonderfully healthy and unbelievably fulfilling salad highlighting the little beauties. I threw in some other winter vegetable goodness as well because, well, I love you.
We’re making marinated chickpeas today, ladies & gents! Don’t run away; they literally could not be more simple! Throw some terrifically tangy blood orange juice in a jar, followed by some healthy fat-packed extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning. I used dried Italian Seasoning because I always have it in my cupboard. Use fresh if you have the means! And the great thing about this marinade is that you’ll have some left over. Which is fantastic. Because you’ll want to slather it on everything. Added protein, a fabulous texture, and a fantastic taste. These chickpeas are the bomb.com.
I felt incredibly fancy making this next item, yet it’s even more simple than the marinate. Pistachio. Dust. Yes, you heard me. We are sprinkling the top of this salad with pistachio dust. Simply take shelled (salted, if desired) pistachios and whirl them in a food processor or blender until fine. One&done. It really is that simple. And it’ll make you sound so pretentious when you’re explaining it to your guests. Which is always fun.
Next, the stars of the show. Fennel & kale. If you’ve never tried fennel, oh are you in for a treat. Fennel is possibly my favorite vegetable (well, behind brussels sprouts). It smells like licorice when raw, but don’t let that turn you away. Licorice is part of my “Food Axis of Evil,” too. When fennel begins to caramelize and turn beautifully brown, there isn’t a sweeter thing you could put in your mouth. And kale. The hipster’s vegetable. It is so divine with the balsamic vinegar we’re tossing in the mixture, and it is just so good for us. Kale is full of vitamin A, C, and K, and it even sports an impressive protein content. By the end of this meal, I am positive you will be shouting, “KALE, YEAH!”
I loved the fresh, citrusy bite that the sliced blood oranges added to this salad. We needed some to cut through all of the olive oil and caramelized vegetables. You can dice them, slice them, or do whatever you want with them. And they don’t just taste good; they’ll give you a nice boost of antioxidant power and vitamin C to keep you healthy and happy all winter long.
You will be so impressed at the balance of flavors in this salad. Not to mention that it is just so dang beautiful. Now go. Go make this salad. Right now, tomorrow, and forever.
Winter Abundance Salad
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: 1 salad||Total:|
All of winter's finest resting on one beautiful plate! This vegan and gluten free delight is full of vitamins and exquisite tastes that will leave you pining for more!
- 2 small blood oranges, one juiced and one sliced
- 2 and 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning, divided
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled (I used salted)
- 1/2 fennel bulb
- 1-2 handfuls of chopped kale
- salt + pepper
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Make the marinated chickpeas: Juice one blood orange. Add one tablespoon of the juice to a jar along with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper. Screw on lid, and shake to combine. Add chickpeas, and shake to coat. Set aside.
- Make pistachio dust: Add pistachios to a small blender or food processor. Blend until a fine dust forms. Be careful not to over-process. Set aside.
- Make balsamic fennel and kale: In a medium frying pan, heat 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add fennel, tossing to coat in the oil. Add salt and pepper. Allow to cook until fennel becomes pliable and slightly caramelized.
- Add chopped kale, and stir to combine. Add salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning. Increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to toss.
- Add balsamic vinegar and toss. The balsamic vinegar will sizzle and should become sticky on the vegetables. Stir constantly for 30 seconds-1 minute. Be careful not to burn.
- Plate it up: Add the kale and fennel to a plate. Using a fork or slotted spoon, spoon chickpeas out of their marinating liquid*. Top with the blood orange slices and pistachio dust**. Season with salt + pepper if necessary.
*Save the marinating liquid! Use it as a salad dressing or marinating liquid for something else.
**I used about 1 tsp. of pistachio dust on my salad. I had some left over, so I used it in a smoothie the next day. Delish!
Stay classy, internet friends!
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