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Food For Thought

Winter Citrus Salad

I typically find myself craving some version of this Winter Citrus Salad right about now. Winter in Maine is a looooong season and this salad is like a little dose of sunshine. None of the ingredients for this are hard to find (you may even have all of them on hand right now), so plan to perk up your plate with the pleasant punch of this Winter Citrus Salad.

Why use citrus in salads?

Citrus is in its prime at this time of year, meaning selection is wider and usually prices are a bit lower (all bets off this year, though). Citrus fruit lasts several weeks when refrigerated, so it's ok to stock up on it when you see some you like. I usually opt for grapefruit and clementines because they are favorites, but take your pick from what you find at your market. Blood oranges, navel oranges or Cara Cara oranges, Satsumas, tangelos, pomelos and Meyer lemons can usually be found at this time of year. Besides being a great source of vitamin C and potassium, citrus fruits offer fiber (including heart-healthy soluble fiber—unusual for fruits) and folate.

What ingredients do I need for Winter Citrus Salad?

This is a very flexible salad, so the recipe is meant to give you the idea and inspiration for including citrus in your winter salads, but you can certainly mix it up. By all means, use ingredients you have on hand.

I typically include:

  • Arugula - it's peppery taste balances the citrus nicely

  • Red grapefruit or Cara Cara oranges

  • Pistachios - nuts give a nice textural contrast

  • Red onion - I just like the color it provides

  • Feta cheese

  • Simple Citrus Dressing - if you don't want to make it, use a good quality bottled citrus-based dressing

  • Salt and pepper

I just love the look of this salad, all loosely arranged on top of the greens so that every ingredient is visible. If you aren't sure how to trim and cut the citrus sections for this, here is a quick video tutorial I found online.

Other than preparing the citrus, this salad is little to no work to put together. So, although it's pretty enough for a special dinner (hello Valentine's Day!), it's definitely a reasonable weeknight option, too.

Winter Citrus Salad

Makes 4-6 servings

Salad Ingredients:

2 Cara Cara oranges

1 (5 oz) box washed baby arugula or baby kale/other greens

Simple Citrus Dressing (below)

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For Simple Citrus Dressing:

2 teaspoons orange zest (from the 2 Cara Cara oranges)

2 Tablespoons of the reserved orange juice

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)

1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil


For the salad

  1. Using a microplane grater (or the fine side of a box grater), zest the oranges to get 2 teaspoons zest; set zest aside for use in the dressing. Then "supreme" the oranges over a bowl, saving any juices. Squeeze the remainders of the oranges to extract the last of their juices. Set juice aside for the dressing.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the arugula with as much of the Citrus Dressing as you like (you'll likely have leftover dressing). On a serving platter or individual plates, arrange a bed of the dressed arugula.

  3. Top the greens with the red onion, feta, citrus pieces and pistachios. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more dressing, salt or pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

For the dressing

In a jar or other container that has a lid, combine the orange zest and 2 Tablespoons of the reserved orange juices (use any remaining juice for another use--or just drink it!). Add all remaining ingredients (including poppy seeds, if desired). Put lid on the container and shake until well mixed. Store any extra dressing in the refrigerator.

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