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Radicchio, Cara Cara Orange and Quinoa Salad

Radicchio, Cara Cara Orange and Quinoa Salad

Sometimes I catch myself laughing out loud, privately, while listening to a particularly funny moment during Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, one of my favorite radio shows. Carl Kassel’s peerless narration, Peter Sagal’s tasteless jokes and Mo Rocca’s impromptu snark are like secret weapons on long walks through less than stellar neighborhoods in San Francisco. The show provides a buffer against all the unpleasant details of a rundown street, makes it a little easier to handle the fact that there are about 50,000 too many sad, club-footed pigeons and the only person who wants to take care of them is Mike Tyson. It’s sort of a triumph against the grime.

And while this salad may not make you laugh out loud, exactly, or protect you from the sight of deformed pigeons, it is also a triumph. It stands in bold defiance of winter while embracing some of its star fruits and vegetables. It is dense and nuanced with competing textures without being heavy. It is bright, crunchy, bitter, sweet and salty. The quinoa makes it heartier. And if you can find Cara Cara oranges, buy about a dozen of them. They are intensely, amazingly, profoundly sweet and the perfect foil to the sharpness of the radicchio.

(PS: Those adorable oil and vinegar cruets in the first image came from pot + pantry, a fantastic new shop worth checking out.)

This Radicchio, Cara Cara and Quinoa Salad recipe is part of The February Seasonal Food Guide.

Yield: about 6 servings

2-3 cups finely chopped radicchio (adjust according to taste)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
1 cup cooked quinoa, directions below
1 cup crumbled feta
2 Cara Cara oranges (substitute navel if unavailable)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoon olive oil, separated
1 tablespoon white Balsamic vinegar (or similar mild, sweet vinegar)
salt + pepper to taste


Add 1 part quinoa and 2 parts water to a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes more, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.

While the quinoa cooks, prepare the onions. Warm a medium skillet over a low flame. Add two teaspoons olive oil and the sliced onions. Keep covered, stirring occasionally. They should be about ready when the quinoa is.

Next, supreme the oranges. Using a sharp knife, slice the top and bottom from the orange, then slice the peel and the pith from the fruit. Holding the orange gently, slice vertically along the membrane to remove each section of orange. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the radicchio, fennel, feta, pumpkin seeds and parsley. Slowly mix in the quinoa – since it is warm it will soften things a little, which is okay. Slowly fold in the onions. Add the orange sections last.

Whisk together the remaining two tablespoons olive oil and the vinegar for the dressing, and add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad and toss gently.

  • The February Seasonal Food Guide » The Year In Food - […] MONTH: RADICCHIO, CARA CARA ORANGE AND QUINOA SALAD […]ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - This is totally my kind of salad. It looks so bright and refreshing with a ton of texture! I’ll be making this soon. And I love that show! We only listen to it when we go on road trips to the States, but why am I denying myself all that good time fun when there’s such a thing as the internet! Doh!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum - This is beautiful!! and I love that it features February ingredients. I’m going to have to make this soon because February is almost over… :)ReplyCancel

  • Tweets that mention Radicchio, Cara Cara Orange and Quinoa Salad » The Year In Food -- - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by james hamilton, Annika Gordon. Annika Gordon said: Quinoa Blogs – Radicchio, Cara Cara Orange and Quinoa Salad » The Year In Food […]ReplyCancel

  • WendyfromCookingQuinoa - This recipe looks great! Would you mind if I adapted it for my site (with a link back giving credit to you of course). I rarely feature other people’s recipes but I think this is something my readers would really enjoy.ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - @kickpleat: yes, it’s a kitchen sink kind of salad, isn’t it? I listen to most radio shows on podcast, you should too! And perhaps someday you can clue me in to some good Canadian shows.
    @Lindsay: Thank you! I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll still be able to find most of these items come March first. :)
    @Wendy: By all means, go ahead!ReplyCancel

  • leela - this is my favorite type of meal — a hearty grain salad w/loads of things in it. you are a combatter of winter extraordinaire!ReplyCancel

  • JMN - I can’t find those oranges here… I will substitute blood oranges (imported from Spain, and easy to get in Denmark right now). Oranges, especially blood oranges, and fennel are a brilliant combination. Thanks for another terrific recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - What a bright and refreshing winter salad – with some of my favorite ingredients. Thanks for another great recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - Living in NYC, I’ve seen my share of deformed pigeons. So I think that earns me a right to a bowl of this beautiful salad. You have made winter fruits seem so refreshing! Not that they weren’t always, but sometimes it’s so easy to forget that they’re out there.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin - I love this – of course!! I think my quinoa salads sometimes are too heavy on the grain. The proportions here are really lovely, with the fruit and vegetables being the stars. And more importantly, I think this could be a new quinoa salad the Mr. would like too (he is likely ready for a new incarnation)!ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - @leela: my favorite too! I love the kitchen sink approach.
    @JMN: Good call on the blood oranges. That’s a perfect substitution.
    @Lynda: Indeed!
    @Joanne: You are probably as well-versed in sad city pigeons as I. We deserve this salad.
    @Caitlin: I think that I used to do the same with quinoa in salads – always make it the star attraction. It’s so nice when it plays a supporting role. (Geez, what’s with the bad movie puns. :)ReplyCancel

  • Cara Cara Orange, Beet, and Goat Cheese Salad | Healthy Green Kitchen - […] Citrus Salad with Mint Sugar from Two Tarts Everybody Loves Sunshine Citrus Salad from My New Roots Radicchio, Cara Cara, and Quinoa Salad from The Year in Food Spinach, Feta, and Blood Orange Salad from Joy the Baker /* Bookmark/Share var […]ReplyCancel

  • Charissa - The Gifted Blog - I didn’t have all the ingredients, but your recipe provided great inspiration for a salad I winged last week. I’m just learning to cook w/ quinoa – thanks for the guidance!ReplyCancel

  • Fennel and Orange Salad « Stale Bread into French Toast - […] one of my cousins was asking me the other day about quinoa recipes, and I found this one on The Year in Food – such a lovely blog.  Apparently we’re not the only ones to figure out that fennel and […]ReplyCancel

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