Fregola Salad with Citrus and Red Onion

This fregola salad with citrus and red onion is an easy, healthy meal made with small pearl-shaped pasta that is topped with orange and grapefruit segments, red onion, basil, mint, and a orange oil dressing.

A white bowl filled with fregola salad with fresh citrus and red onion and mint leaves on a woven placemat.

The fregola in this fregola salad with citrus and red onion, should you be curious, is a toasted semolina pasta that’s very popular in Sardinia. You can substitute any small shape pasta, such as orzo, which it resembles. But do make the effort to seek out fregola at a specialty food shop. Its nutty flavor makes this pasta salad really unusual and delicious.–Giada De Laurentiis

Fregola Salad with Citrus and Red Onion

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
Print RecipeBuy the Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites cookbook

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  • For the orange oil
  • For the fregola salad


Make the orange oil

Combine the olive oil and the orange zest in a small bowl and set aside.

Make the fregola salad

In a large saucepan over high heat bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes.

Drain the pasta and turn it onto a large baking sheet. Spread it out into a single layer and let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a small knife, cut all the peel and pith off the orange and grapefruit. Holding the fruit over a large bowl to catch any juice, cut between the membranes to release the segments into the bowl. Add the onion, mint, basil, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and cooled fregola pasta to the segments and juice in the bowl.

Add the reserved orange oil to the pasta. Toss all the ingredients and serve. Originally published March 24, 2010.

Print RecipeBuy the Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Fabulous. A real riff on couscous and pasta salads. Please, if I can urge you to find fregola, do. The texture and flavor are so unique that without it, I feel the salad would be compromised. Fregola is nutty, wheaty, and toasty with a chewy, al dente quality that’s so satisfying. The citrus, herbs, and spices all contribute to a truly unique and delicious salad. Buon apetito.

This is an absolutely fantastic salad. It’s simple to prepare, but bold in flavor (even subbing in the orzo). The citrus zest in the olive oil gives the whole dish a pleasing zing. The red onions, fresh herbs, and fennel seeds provide appealing textural and flavor contrasts. This is a standout dish that I will be making for a long time to come.


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