Skip to main content

Duchy magnolia, blood orange & pomegranate salad

Using the petals from the magnolia tree to create this colourful and tasty salad, Christopher Archambault has written this delicious recipe.

What a glorious and punch of colour, the magnolia, after a long dark winter. It was a long glancing muse that led me to investigate the edibility of said plant, as the Nursery has several beautiful trees bursting forth late winter, early spring. I simply wondered whether something so beautiful, so ‘red chicory’ like in appearance could taste half as good as it looks.

What a winner. First you get a gingery hit, fading into a subtle Belgian endive bitterness. Fantastic for a late winter salad, and still going strong through much of the ‘hungry gap’. Other worthy culinary applications are pickling, grilling whole or even to scent tea. The Japanese also make a magnolia flavoured miso.

The petals for this recipe is from Magnolia 'Star Wars', please check the variety of Magnolia and whether it is edible before eating.

Duchy magnolia, crumbled feta, blood orange & pomegranate salad

Ingredients for 4 ample starters or a light lunch

4-6 large magnolia flowers Handful of rocket leaves 1 bunch spring onion ½ pomegranate, squeezed out seeds and juice reserved 1-2 blood oranges 200gm feta or quality goat’s cheese 150gm chickpeas (Drained from a tin is fine) Smoked paprika A little finely chopped curly or flat leaf parsley A little lemon zest A good glug of extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil


  1. Brush the spring onion lightly with a little oil and char on a hot grill, reserve

  2. Toss the chickpeas in a little oil, seasoning and smoked paprika and roast in a hot oven until crisp, reserve

  3. Slice the end off the flowers and the petals will naturally splay. You can use the innards, (carpels and stamens) or discard. Personal choice.

  4. Peel and segment the blood orange

  5. Using a large bowl, toss the magnolia, rocket, spring onion, blood orange, chickpeas, lemon zest and parsley with a little oil and the pomegranate juice and seeds

To serve

Divide among 4 plates, crumbling the cheese on top. A little artful lemon zesting and et voila…a stunning, crunchy, flavourful winter salad marking the end of pomegranate/blood orange season and harkening the rise of spring. Suggested tipple would be a crisp Chablis or sparkly perry.