This blood orange and arugula salad with black olives is an incredibly quick and easy side dish that celebrates the best of citrus season. It’s fast enough for a weeknight, yet elegant enough for entertaining.
Not only is this blood orange and arugula salad with black olives incredibly elegant and delicious and versatile, it’s also easy to make. Chalk it up as a success.–Angie Zoobkoff
Blood Orange and Arugula Salad with Black Olives
- 4 cups arugula leaves
- 4 small or 2 large blood oranges peeled (skin and white pith removed) and thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 12 to 16 black olives preferably Kalamata, pitted if desired
- Good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- Coarsely ground pepper
- Pile the arugula on a platter or divide it among plates. Scatter the blood oranges, red onion, and olives on top.
- Lightly drizzle with the oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
What a welcome blast of sunshine on this dreary winter day! This salad is dead simple but each bite is intriguing and perfect–really seemed like more than a sum of its parts.
I loved that this salad didn’t require a separate dressing–the olive-citrus-onion combination doesn’t need much help!
For us it was 2 servings but they were fairly large salads.
About 2 handfuls of arugula to me was about right for 2 people; I got 2 cups of loosely packed greens. Could easily double this for 4 people while leaving the citrus and onions as is.
The salty-spicy-sweet-sour balance of this salad is tremendous and it beautifully brightened up a snowy January day. I served it with ciabatta toasts and it cried out for a side of nuts to me, so I quickly toasted up some walnut halves to serve in a bowl alongside the salad.
Because the salad needed so little olive oil drizzle, I also set out a small dipping dish of the olive oil. (Pro tip: Use best-quality olive oil here since you’re using so little and each of the elements in this salad need to shine.)
If you’re looking at the photo and wondering about making this salad, note that the blood oranges in the photo are insipid in color compared to those I used—and my salad as a whole was a stunning in part as a result of the vibrant color of my blood oranges.
I would make a few serving suggestions, based not just on the look in the serving bowl but the logistics of eating this beauty. Help your diners out by making the onions half-moons rather than full circles, take the orange slices and separate them into halves or thirds, and cut the olives (yes to the Kalamata!) in half, all of which will help with consuming this in a civilized manner—or knives need to be provided alongside the salad course.
I started making the salad with the two handfuls of arugula stated, but found the arugula to be disproportionately too little, so I added more before serving. There weren’t small blood oranges to be had, so I used 2 large ones in lieu of the 4 small ones. Similarly, there were no small red onions to be had, so I used a larger red onion. A suggestion here, especially if you aren’t 100% certain of how your diners feel about the power of onions, would be to use shallots instead for the gentler flavor profile. I used the full 16 olives and that was unquestionably correct.
I’m glad I started with a seriously little drizzle of olive oil, as that was the maximum needed. Any more would have overwhelmed my (baby) arugula leaves. Similarly, a light touch with the salt, and especially with the pepper, was all that was needed, most especially with the black pepper, since the arugula is already peppery.
This arugula and blood orange salad was an excellent counterpoint to a rich pasta entrée such as Marcella Hazan’s “Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion.” All those sparky elements of citrus, arugula, and red onion, along with the briny distinctive Kalamata olives, balance and finish your meal beautifully.
Two handfuls of packed arugula leaves came to 4 cups. Four small blood oranges yielded about 2 1/2 cups of fruit. Of course I went with the maximum amount of suggested olives, and sprinkled with a nice, flaky Halen Mon salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I handled the oranges over a bowl in order to capture as much juice as I could because I wanted it on hand in case it might be a good addition to the drizzled olive oil (I used Trader Joe’s Spanish blend extra virgin). I’m actually glad that I had the juice to work with (about two tablespoons)! Plus the color is so sunset-gorgeous.
When I make this salad again, I’ll include some baby red lettuce leaves. While I adore arugula, that’s a lot of stems there in a straight arugula salad, and a little bit of lettuce will be a nice textural touch. Thank you for this!
This lovely salad is fresh and bright. It came together in less than 20 minutes. The most time-consuming activity was removing the pith from the oranges. I used a mandoline for the onions.
Originally published February 05, 2020