Chicory, orange and watercress salad with a toasted walnut pesto


Chicory, ornage and walnut salad with walnut pesto

A deliciously fresh, vibrant and healthy autumn salad

This salad packs a healthy punch helping to ward off  winter bugs and colds. Chicory  and watercress  are packed full of vital vitamins and minerals and oranges and parsley are brimming with vitamin c . The pesto contains antiviral garlic, and walnuts which are  a superfood in their own right. 

I have made this versatile salad a number of times over the past few weeks in various guises.  You can add black herbed pitted olives for a piquant bite, or the remains of steamed veg such as broccoli spears or green beans. I have also made the pesto using hazelnuts and hazelnut oil in place of the walnuts.


Serve 4-6

150g walnut halves

50g bunch flat leaved parsley, washed and dried

1 large or two small garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

50ml walnut oil (or whole hazelnuts)

50ml light olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper and flaked sea salt to taste

2 red chicory bulbs

2 green chicory bulbs

100g watercress leaves (approximately one large bunch with the stalks removed)

2 oranges with thick skins

*optional – 12-15 pitted black olives, halved. you chop and add the remains of steamed broccoli and green beans.



Heat the oven to gas 4

 First make the toasted walnut pesto.

toasted walnuts and walnut oil

Toasted walnut pesto

Put 100g of the walnut halves onto a bake try and toast in the oven for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool.

Take 40g of the washed parsley and roughly chop. Put it into the jug of a blender along with the cooled toasted walnuts, chopped garlic,  and both of the oils. Blitz until you have a paste still with a little texture from the chopped nuts. Add a good pinch of pepper and salt and mix again.

Remove about 4 of the out leaves from each bulb of chicory and arrange around the edge of a flat serving platter. Roughly slice the remaining chicory bulbs and put into a large mixing bowl.

Remove the leaves from the bunch of watercress and discard the stalks (don’t throw away they are delicious added to creamy potato soup). Add the leaves to the mixing bowl.

Roughly chop the remaining untoasted walnuts.

Florentine the oranges – remove the tops and bottoms of the orange skin and then using a sharp knife remove the skin and pith. Ease out  the orange segments from between each membrane with a paring knife, saving the juice. Put the orange segments and the juice into the mixing bowl and stir everything well together.

Mound the salad into the centre of the serving dish arranging the whole chicory leaves around the edge.

Drizzle a few spoonful’s of the walnuts pesto over the salad and finding with a sprinkling of the remaining parsley, finely chopped.

Put the remaining pesto into a serving dish and let guests help themselves to extra.



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