This stunning Spanish orange salad with pomegranate seeds, black olives, rocket / arugula and a light orange and olive oil dressing is a simple salad that looks anything but simple! Delicious enjoyed as a refreshing side dish like my favourite pomegranate and rocket salad it is also perfect to serve as part of a summery Spanish tapas spread.
Why we love this recipe
- The sparkling orange and pomegranate salad makes a beautiful Christmas salad, served as part of a Christmas buffet with sausage rolls, savoury profiteroles and cheese gougeres.
- If you are in Australia, this winter salad made with seasonal oranges and pomegranates is a colourful side served alongside a bowl of pumpkin carrot soup
- This Mediterranean orange salad, Ensalada de naranjas con granadas, is both vegan and gluten free, making it a great recipe when catering for various diets.
- Sweet juicy orange segments mixed with salty black olives, sweet-sour pomegranate arils and peppery rocket / arugula then dressed with an olive oil and sherry vinegar vinaigrette make every bite of this salad explode with different flavours and textures – this is most definitely not a boring salad!
Ingredients notes and substitutions
- Oranges – fresh oranges. Navel oranges and Valencia oranges are the ones I have used most often to make this salad. Blood oranges would add a striking colour.
- Pomegranate – buy the whole pomegranate fruit and tap out the seeds (see FAQ section for how to do this) or buy ready seeded pomegranates.
- Black olives – I prefer to use Spanish holjiblanca olives (you should be able to easily find them in the supermarket usually called just ‘black olives.’) You can use Greek Kalamata olives, but if you want to keep this a Spanish salad that try to find the black olives as they do taste different.
- Rocket – arugula. I love fresh peppery rocket in this salad, but you can easily swap it for baby spinach if you prefer, or even lambs lettuce or Mâche if you can find it.
- Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil. The vinaigrette recipe is so simple that you want to use a good olive oil for its flavour.
- Sherry vinegar – this Spanish vinegar is made by fermenting sherry and provides a classic Spanish flavour to the salad dressing. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar are good alternatives.
- Parsley – flat leaf parsley or, as you can see in the image below, I used curly parsley here as it was growing in the garden.
How to make this salad
- Segment the orange by carefully removing the orange peel and pith (the white stuff) with a sharp knife, following where the fruit meets the pith.
- Cut segments from the orange, reserving any orange juice that is released as you cut to make the vinaigrette.
- Make the vinaigrette: whisk the olive oil with sherry vinegar and the orange juice reserved from when cutting the orange. Season with salt and black pepper and set aside.
- On a large serving plate arrange the rocket / arugula leaves and orange segments.
- Separate the pomegranate arils and sprinkle over the plate with the black olives.
- Drizzle over the dressing and then sprinkle with finely chopped fresh parsley. Serve straight away.
You can either cut the pomegranate in half, then turn them to the cut side is facing down and whack the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to release the pomegranate arils, or cut into segments, break away the pith and place the arils in a bowl of water and seperate. The membrane will float to the top of the water and the seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
My recipe tips
- When segmenting the oranges, take care to remove all the white pith between the orange skin and the flesh. This can taste bitter (and doesn’t look as nice.)
- Capture all that delicious orange juice that is released from the oranges when you cut them into segments, and tip it in to the dressing for maximum flavour.
- Take care when getting the arils from the pomegranate as the pomegranate juice can stain – so definitely don’t wear white clothes!
- Tip: If your wooden chopping board is stained pink afterwards. Rub the surface with a cut side of a lemon to remove the pink colour.
- As a side salad to baked chicken thighs, grilled salmon, grilled or barbecued pork or lamb.
- As part of a Spanish tapas spread with olives, ajillo mushrooms, asadilla manchego (a roasted pepper and tomato salad), patatas bravas (crispy potatoes topped with spicy tomato sauce), fresh bread, slices of chorizo and manchego cheese.
- This pomegranate salad is best served the day it is made, however you can store any leftover in the fridge for up to 1-2 days.
- Cheese – you can add some slices of grilled Halloumi, or sprinkle over some feta cheese or goats cheese.
- Lentils – a tin of lentils would transform this delicious side into a filling main meal.
Other Mediterranean recipes you may enjoy
Spanish Orange and Pomegranate Salad
- 2 large oranges
- 20 black olives pitted
- 115g (¾ c) pomegranate seeds from ½ large pomegranate
- handful rocket (arugula)
- 2 tablespoons parsley roughly chopped
- 1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Olive oil (EVOO)
- sea salt or kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- Segment the oranges: taking a sharp knife, carefully cut the top and bottom off one of the oranges, then cut the oranges to peel them, cutting the white bits – the pith – off too.
- Once the peel has been removed, segment the oranges.
- Pour any orange juice that has collected on the chopping board whilst preparing the oranges into the small bowl you are using to make your vinaigrette.
- Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the sherry vinegar and olive oil with the orange juice and season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Take a serving platter or large plate and arrange the rocket / arugula over the plate. Top with the orange segments.
- Remove the seeds / arils from pomegranate (for tips on how to do this see note 1 below.)
- Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds / arils and black olives over the oranges.
- Then drizzle over the vinaigrette and chopped parsley.
- Serve the salad straight away.
- cut the pomegranate in half, then turn them to the cut side is facing down and whack the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to release the pomegranate arils, or
- cut into segments, break away the pith and place the arils in a bowl of water and seperate. The membrane will float to the top of the water and the seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.