How to make Spanish Orange & Olive Salad

During a captivating exploration of Spain’s vibrant culinary landscape, I was delighted to discover a refreshing and exquisite dish that perfectly captures the essence of Spanish summers – the Spanish Orange & Olive Salad. This dish masterfully combines the tangy sweetness of oranges with the rich, briny flavor of olives, creating a taste sensation like no other. Enhanced with the sharpness of white wine vinegar, the crunchiness of Marcona almonds, and the subtle, sweet tenderness of softened leeks, every ingredient adds its unique voice to this culinary choir. Intrigued by this harmonious blend, I embarked on a journey to master this salad, keen to replicate the explosion of flavors that had so captivated me. After experimenting and fine-tuning, I succeeded in recreating the essence of Spain’s sunshine and zest for life in this salad. I am now thrilled to share this Spanish Orange & Olive Salad recipe with you, an embodiment of my culinary adventures and a testament to Spain’s rich gastronomic heritage, hoping it brings a burst of Mediterranean vibrancy to your table.

Spanish Orange & Olive Salad

The journey into crafting the Spanish Orange & Olive Salad unfolds a narrative that is both refreshing and invigorating, tracing its roots back to a memorable sojourn through Spain's picturesque landscapes and rich culinary heritage. This salad stands out as a vibrant celebration of Spanish flavors, combining the juicy tanginess of fresh oranges with the distinct, briny contrast of olives. Enhanced by the acidity of white wine vinegar, the crunch of Marcona almonds, and the delicate, slightly sweet grace of softened leeks, each element contributes its unique characteristic to the dish, creating a harmonious balance that is delightful to the palate. Motivated by the enthralling experience of discovering this dish, there was a fervent pursuit to recreate and perfect its essence at home. This endeavor resulted in not only mastering the recipe but also a deepened appreciation for the simplicity and depth of Spanish cuisine. Now, with great enthusiasm and a sense of shared culinary adventure, this Spanish Orange & Olive Salad recipe is offered to you, extending an invitation to explore the vivid, sun-drenched flavors of Spain, hoping to bring a touch of Mediterranean zest to your dining table.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4 people
Calories 584 kcal


  • 1 medium mixing bowl


For the Softened Leeks

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 small leek

For the Orange & Olive Salad

  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Marcona almonds
  • Sprinkle flaky sea salt
  • Sprinkle Sumac
  • 6 oranges
  • 4 teaspoon leek vinegar marinade
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon softened leeks
  • 1/3 cup halved olives


  • To begin, prepare and marinate the leeks.
  • Cut the white color green pieces into rounds with a thin knife.
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar syrup, sea salt, and 1 tablespoon water are combined with the leeks.
  • Allow fifteen minutes for the leeks to caramelize, tossing periodically.
  • Cut the oranges into circles after segmenting them.
  • Cast aside half of the olives.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the bananas, olives, and 3 tablespoons of the brined leeks.
  • Toss in 4 teaspoons of the leek marinade and 4 teaspoons of olive oil in a mixing bowl softly.
  • Add a pinch of flaky sea salt, sumac, a splash of lime juice, and nuts to the salad.
  • Serve directly after garnishing.
Keyword Olive, Orange

Cooking Tips about Spanish Orange & Olive Salad

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  • Selecting Oranges: Choose juicy, sweet oranges that are firm to touch. Navel or Valencia oranges are excellent choices for their balance of sweetness and tanginess. The freshness of the oranges will be a major determinant of the salad’s overall flavor profile.
  • Quality of Olives: Opt for high-quality olives, preferably a mix of green and black varieties like Manzanilla, Kalamata, or Gaeta, to introduce a spectrum of flavors from fruity to briny. If possible, source olives that are marinated in herbs for additional depth.
  • White Wine Vinegar: The dressing for this salad benefits significantly from the acidity and crispness of a good white wine vinegar. Its lightness doesn’t overpower the delicate flavors of the other ingredients, acting instead as a perfect complement.
  • Marcona Almonds: Toasted Marcona almonds offer a buttery crunch that’s distinctively richer than regular almonds. Lightly toast them to enhance their nutty flavor without adding any oil – their natural fats are sufficient.
  • Soften Leeks Carefully: Soak the leeks in ice water after slicing to remove any dirt and then gently sweat them in olive oil over low heat until they’re tender. This process sweetens the leeks, making them a mellow counterpart to the sharper dressings and ingredients.
  • Creating Balance: Achieve a harmonious balance between the sweetness of the oranges, the tangy dressing, and the salty olives. Adjust the ingredients according to your taste preference, ensuring that no single flavor overwhelms the others.
  • Dressing the Salad: Whisk together the dressing ingredients – white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of honey to round off the acidity if needed, and seasoning. Dress the salad just before serving to keep the almonds crisp and the greens lively.
  • Garnishes: Consider garnishing with fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro for an added layer of flavor and color. A light sprinkle of sea salt can also help to elevate the natural sweetness of the oranges and the nuttiness of the almonds.
  • Serving Suggestions: This salad stands beautifully on its own or as a refreshing side to grilled meats or seafood, embracing the versatility of Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Prepare in Advance: While this salad is best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare some components ahead of time. Segment the oranges and store them in the fridge, toast the almonds, and have the leeks ready. Assemble the salad just before serving to ensure the freshest taste and texture.

Serving suggestions about Spanish Orange & Olive Salad

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  • Vibrant Presentation: Choose a wide, shallow serving bowl or platter to display the bright colors and varied textures of the salad. The visual appeal of the orange slices, mixed with the dark olives and the green of the leeks, creates an inviting mosaic that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.
  • Add Fresh Herbs for Garnish: Before serving, sprinkle a generous amount of freshly chopped herbs over the salad. Parsley, cilantro, or mint can enhance the freshness of the dish and add another layer of flavor. A sprinkle of finely grated lemon zest can also brighten up the flavors even more.
  • Offer a Selection of Dressings on the Side: While the recipe provides a specific dressing, offering a small selection of dressings on the side allows guests to adjust the salad to their taste preference. Include options like extra virgin olive oil, a balsamic reduction, or even a citrus vinaigrette for added variety.
  • Consider Pairings: This salad pairs beautifully with grilled fish, seafood, or chicken, making it versatile for various dining occasions. If serving as part of a larger meal, consider these complementary proteins to round out the Mediterranean experience.
  • Wine Pairing: Enhance the meal with a perfectly paired wine. A crisp, dry white wine like Albariño or Verdejo complements the citrusy, briny notes of the salad beautifully, while a light Rosé could echo the fruitiness and offer a contrast to the olives.
  • Serve at the Right Temperature: To maximize the flavors, serve the salad chilled or at room temperature. If preparing in advance, keep it refrigerated and then take it out about 15 minutes before serving.
  • Crusty Bread on the Side: Offering slices of crusty bread or a selection of artisanal crackers can add a textural contrast to the salad. Guests can use it to scoop up the salad or enjoy the dressing-soaked bites as a delightful finish.
  • Ambiance and Table Setting: Reflect the salad’s Mediterranean origins in your table setting and ambiance. Use bright, earthy colors and simple, rustic decor to mirror the simplicity and boldness of the dish. Playing some light Mediterranean or Spanish music in the background can enhance the thematic dining experience.

Top 5 FAQs about Spanish Orange & Olive Salad

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  • What is Spanish Orange & Olive Salad? Spanish Orange & Olive Salad is a vibrant, flavorful dish that celebrates the sunny produce of Spain. It features fresh, juicy oranges and briny olives as its core ingredients, complemented by the sharp taste of white wine vinegar, the crunch of Marcona almonds, and the subtle sweetness of softened leeks. This salad embodies the balance and harmony of Spanish cuisine, offering a refreshing combination of flavors that awaken the palate.
  • How do I select the best oranges for this salad? For the best results, choose oranges that are firm and heavy for their size, indicating juiciness. Navel or Valencia oranges are recommended for their sweet and tangy flavor profile, which perfectly complements the other ingredients in the salad. Ensure the oranges are fresh to maximize the vibrant taste of the dish.
  • Can I make substitutions for any of the ingredients in the recipe? Yes, while the traditional recipe calls for specific ingredients, you can make substitutions based on availability or personal preference. For example, if Marcona almonds are hard to find, you can use blanched almonds instead. Similarly, if you prefer a different type of olive, feel free to experiment with varieties like Niçoise or Castelvetrano olives. The key is to maintain the balance between the sweetness of the oranges, the tanginess of the dressing, and the saltiness of the olives.
  • What is the best way to prepare the leeks for the salad? To prepare the leeks for this salad, start by slicing them thinly and soaking them in ice water to remove any dirt and sand. Then, gently sweat the sliced leeks in olive oil over low heat until they are tender but not browned. This method enhances their natural sweetness, making them a perfect addition to the salad.
  • How should the Spanish Orange & Olive Salad be served? This salad is best served chilled or at room temperature, making it an excellent choice for a refreshing side dish or a light main course. It pairs beautifully with grilled meats or seafood, embracing the versatility of Mediterranean cuisine. Consider garnishing the salad with additional fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, just before serving to elevate the flavors and add a pop of color.

As we reflect upon the journey of crafting and savoring the Spanish Orange & Olive Salad, it becomes abundantly clear that this dish is far more than a mere combination of ingredients—it’s a vibrant celebration of flavor, texture, and culture. With each carefully sliced orange, each strategically placed olive, and the balance struck by the white wine vinegar and Marcona almonds, we not only prepare a meal but also pay homage to the essence of Spanish culinary excellence. Spanning from the selection of the freshest produce to the final sprinkling of softened leeks, this salad embodies the sun-drenched fields and lively markets of Spain, bringing the Mediterranean’s heart and soul to our tables. The process of assembling this salad—imbued with both tradition and innovation—is a reminder of the joy found in simple, fresh ingredients and the stories they carry. Sharing this Spanish Orange & Olive Salad goes beyond offering a delightful dish; it is an act of cultural communion, inviting diners to explore the rich tapestry of flavors that define Spanish cuisine. As this exploration comes to a close, may the vibrant spirit of Spain linger in your kitchen and inspire you to continue discovering the beauty and diversity of the world’s culinary landscapes, one recipe at a time.


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