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Odds are you’ve heard of blender lemonade, which calls for pureeing an entire lemon instead of squeezing out its juice. As it turns out, there are other delicious uses for whole citrus fruit, like this arugula salad with whole-lemon vinaigrette from Sheela Prakash’s new cookbook, Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year.
“The thought of using an entire lemon—flesh, peel and all—might sound nothing short of crazy, but it’s no-waste brilliance at its very best,” writes Prakash. “The vibrant peel, bitter pith and lip-puckering flesh are bold elements that, when combined with buttery almonds, a touch of sweet honey and a generous glug of olive oil, make for a complex vinaigrette that’s unlike anything you’ve had before.”
Arugula plays nicely with the dressing due to its sharp, peppery bite. But you could drizzle it over any type of green, or even spoon it onto fish, shellfish or poultry before baking. Try topping the salad with tangy feta, frizzled prosciutto, summer berries or stone fruit, or substitute maple syrup or agave for the honey if you want to make it vegan.
If you don’t have a food processor to make the vinaigrette, don’t fret—you can chop the lemon and almonds by hand. The resulting texture will be a bit rougher, but the dressing will taste just as delicious.
Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year by Sheela Prakash © Rizzoli, 2023. Photography © Kristin Teig.
¼ cup sliced raw almonds, divided
1 small lemon
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 ounces arugula (about 5 packed cups)
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread the almonds onto on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden, stirring halfway through, about 5 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
2. Trim the stem end off of the lemon. Cut the lemon into quarters and remove any seeds. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, about 15 pulses. Check to see if you missed any seeds, and if so, remove them with a spoon.
3. Add half of the almonds, the garlic, honey, a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Pulse until the lemon and almonds are finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed, about 30 pulses.
4. Transfer the lemon and almond mixture to an airtight jar or container. Add the olive oil, seal the jar and shake to combine and emulsify.
5. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl, drizzle with half the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add more vinaigrette, if desired, a spoonful at a time, until the salad is dressed to your liking. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with the remaining toasted almonds.