The theme here is red. For this salad, I’d go out of my way to find an exciting combination of red leaves and herbs. I love the long, twisted red leaves of some varieties of raddichio di Treviso. Red orach, purple basil, red amaranth and bull’s blood (red) chard are also stunning leaves. Some tiny sprouting varieties, such as radish or purple basil, will also add character.
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2 blood oranges or plain oranges
blood orange juice as needed
20 ml lemon juice
60 ml maple syrup
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1/2 small raddichio
1 small red endive (red chicory) – leaves separated
1 tbsp olive oil
handful of small red leaves
150 g good quality vegan ricotta or other soft cheese
20 g pine nuts, toasted
100 g pomegranate seeds (1 small pomegranate)
course sea salt and black pepper
Start by making the orange syrup. Take each of the blood oranges in turn and use a sharp knife to slice off the top and base. Now cut down the side of the orange, following its natural curve, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to remove the individual segments into the bowl. Squeeze all the juice from the membrane and skin in to a small saucepan.
2. Make up the juice in the pan to 110ml with extra blood orange juice. Add the lemon juice, maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and bring to a light simmer. Leave to reduce for 20 – 25 minutes, or until you are left with about 3 tablespoons of think syrup. Strain it through a fine sieve and allow to cool down, then stir in the orange blossom water.
3. Pull apart the raddichio leaves and tear them roughly into large pieces. Put into a mixing bowl. Add the endive leaves, oil and some salt and pepper, and toss gently. Divide the salad leaves between two serving plates, Dot with orange segments, small red leaves and spoonfuls of vegan cheese, building the salad up. Drizzle with the orange syrup and finish with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.