This delicious Clementine Arugula Salad features sweet clementines, dried cranberries, jewel-toned pomegranate seeds, vibrant clementine-pickled onions and crunchy butter-roasted pecans.
I love coming up with new salad recipes that feature seasonal ingredients. This Clementine Arugula Salad is the latest in the collection and it is quickly becoming my "go-to" salad for a healthy side for everyday meals and a beautiful introductory course for a dinner party. We enjoy it for lunch with leftover or rotisserie chicken and it also goes well with beef, pork, salmon and shrimp.
A seasonal combination of ingredients
The cast of characters for this Clementine Arugula Salad are all delicious on their own but they also meld and marry beautifully with each other for an exceptionally amazing salad that you'll find yourself craving again and again.
A bed of spicy, peppery arugula (also known as rocket) is a lovely complement to the sweet clementines, tart/sweet dried cranberries and juicy, crimson pomegranate arils. Thin wedges of red onion pickled in clementine juice and rice vinegar add gorgeous slivers of fuchsia to contrast with the vibrant clementines and verdant arugula. Last but definitely not least, a scatter of crunchy, butter-roasted pecans is the fabulous crowning glory!
I love that the dressing, pecans and pomegranate arils and clementine-pickled red onions for this salad can be prepared ahead and stored in the pantry or refrigerator. That makes a delicious salad just minutes away. Just empty a bag of arugula into a bowl, peel a few clementines and you're good to go!
Let's take a look at each element of this Clementine Arugula Salad:
- Maple Balsamic Dressing - this is one of those super easy dressings that comes together by combining all the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Then just shake, shake, shake and you're done! I love to double or triple the dressing so I can have easy salads all week long. The dressing is good in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.
- Clementine-Pickled Red Onions - making pickled red onions really couldn't be easier and the process is quite magical. Simply combine thinnly sliced red onions with some type of vinegar or acid (in this case rice vinegar and fresh clementine juice), add a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt and let the transformation begin! The everyday red onions will metamorphize from reddish purple to a magnificent shade of vibrant Fuschia and will be infused with the tangy/sweet flavors of rice vinegar and clementines. The recipe will make more than you need for the salad but there are SO many ways to use this fun condiment... on sandwiches, tacos, in wraps, as a pretty garnish for soups and sauces, on pizza...
- Butter-Roasted Pecans - have you noticed how sometimes simple is simply the best? That's the story with these addictingly delicious pecans. Again, I like to make a double or triple (sometimes quadruple) batch because they're also great for a healthy snack, a cocktail nibble or an easy dessert on the run...keep a carton of good vanilla ice cream in the freezer and a stash of this Ridiculously Easy Butterscotch Sauce or this Easy Microwave Caramel Sauce in the fridge. For a shockingly quick (very gourmet) dessert, scoop up ice cream into pretty bowls, add a generous drizzle of caramel or butterscotch sauce then top everything with these salty, buttery, crunchy pecans - SO delish!
So... need to take a salad to a social get-together or work potluck meal? Or maybe you're looking for a great dinner party salad. How about the perfect entré for a light lunch with friends? This Clementine Arugula Salad combines the most amazing flavors, textures and beautiful eye appeal that even salad nay-sayers will gobble it up! Bon Appétit!
Café Tips for making this Clementine Arugula Salad
- You'll probably have more salad dressing than you need for this Clementine Arugula Salad but it's a delicious all-around dressing that you can use on just about any type of green salad.
- The same is true of the pickled red onions and pecans. You'll have more than you need but they're both super versatile as mentioned above.
- If you can't find pretty arugula at your local market, baby spinach, watercress or a spring mix would also be delicious options for this salad.
- The Butter Roasted Pecans for this salad recipe can be made up to a week in advance but you might have to hide them if you have nut lovers in the house as they are addictingly delicious.
- You'll need 2-3 clementines (depending on size and juiciness) for the Clementine Picked Red Onions recipe. It's not necessary but I like to strain the clementine juice as I pour it into the jar to remove the pulp. That way the onions don't have bits of pulp on them.
- I like to make the pickled onions for this salad a day or two before I plan to serve it. They will have pretty color after an hour in the clementine/rice vinegar brine but will be GORGEOUS after 12-24 hours.
- This Clementine Arugula Salad is delicious with a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese. You can add it to the salad before serving or serve a small bowl of it at the table and let it be an option.
- Intimidate by pomegranates? Don't be! Hate spending a small fortune for the small cartons of pomegranate seeds at the grocery? Don't do it! We've got a super easy way to remove the seeds that will make you a pomegranate expert and aficionado. One of my friends texted me the following recently, referring to this simple pomegranate technique:
"I won’t say it’s the best thing I’ve learned from our friendship, but it’s near the top! 🤣🤣🤣"
Haha! You can read about the little hack in this post and see a picture tutorial but we've also made a short video to show you just how easy it is:
Thought for the day:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
This delicious Clementine Cranberry Arugula Salad features sweet clementines, dried cranberries, jewel-toned pomegranate seeds, vibrant clementine-pickled onions and crunchy butter-roasted pecans.
- ⅓ cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium red onion halved and thinly sliced from stem to root end
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh clementine juice 2-3 medium size clementines
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 medium garlic clove finely minced
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 ounces arugula 6 cups
- 3-4 medium clementines peeled and halved then sliced about ¼-inch thick
- ¼ cup clementine pickled red onions more, to taste
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils or seeds
- 2-3 tablespoons maple balsamic dressing more, to taste
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese optional
- ½ cup butter toasted pecans or to taste
Combine hot water, sugar and salt in a medium size jar with a screw-on lid. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add the onion, clementine juice and rice vinegar. Screw on the lid and shake well. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Can be made several days in advance.
Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil for easy cleanup.
Place the butter in a medium size microwave-safe bowl, cover it with a paper towel and cook on high power for 40-50 seconds or until melted. Add the pecans and salt. Stir well to coat. Turn the pecans out onto the prepared pan.
Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring and redistributing every 5 minutes until medium golden brown. Remove from the oven to a paper towel line plate and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Shake again before serving.
Place arugula in a large salad bowl or serving platter. Top with the sliced clementines, drained red onions, dried cranberries, a scatter of pomegranate arils and the crumbled goat cheese (if using).
Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing. Top with butter-roasted pecans. Serve extra dressing at the table.
You can also serve this salad on individual plates for a pretty presentation.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn't have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
Nutritional information not given since the recipe makes more dressing, picked red onions and pecans than what is needed for 1 large salad.