Sweet oranges and tangy grapefruit, tossed in a simple vinaigrette over salad greens, make this stunning citrus salad a lovely all-season salad. Refreshing and pretty.
We use a simple citrus vinaigrette for zip, nuts for crunch and creamy avocado for a contrasting texture. Quick, easy and beautiful.
The salad only takes 10-15 minutes to put together and pairs beautifully with any protein or vegetarian dish. I find it a perfect way to lighten up a heavy meal.
If you’re looking for something a little different from your typical green salads, this is a good one. Packed with fiber, potassium and healthy vitamin C and A, this simple citrus salad makes a lovely side dish for a BBQ, potluck or weeknight dinner.
Bonus – the salad is vegan, dairy free and gluten free. And, as always, there are lots of variations and substitutes you can use to tailor it to your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand.
Make it a winter citrus salad during the citrus season (typically winter months) or a summer salad that capitalizes on the light and refreshing factor.
Tip: Although prep for this citrus salad recipe can be done hours ahead, it’s best to assemble it just before serving.
What to serve with a citrus salad
Almost any main course goes with this salad. Here are a few of my favorites – some winter meals, some summer fare.
How to make a fresh citrus salad
Tailor To Your Taste
Feel free to use your favorite citrus fruits, types of lettuce and garnish.
Citrus fruit options
- Orange options: Try cara cara oranges, navel orange or blood oranges. Tangerines or mandarins are also great when in season in the winter.
- Grapefruit options: ruby red, pink grapefruit or pomelo.
- Here’s a seasonal calendar for fruits – when they are at their peak.
Green lettuce variations
- I like to use a combination of dark and pale leaf lettuce – spinach and butter lettuce- but a spring mix is fine too.
- Other good options are: kale, arugula and red lettuce or frisee.
- Any toasted nuts or seeds – walnuts, sliced almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pepitas, sesame seeds.
- Herbs and onions – finely chopped chives, mint, parsley, thyme, green onions, red onion
- Add pomegranate seeds and/or crumbled goat cheese for gorgeous color contrast.
- Try drizzling on balsamic reduction just before serving.
Citrus Fruit FAQ
Look for shiny, bright fruit without blemishes. The fruit should feel heavy for its size. This is a sign of juiciness. The fruit should have a slight “give” when pressed. This means less white pith (the bitter white part under the skin).
Citrus fruits can be stored either in the fridge or on the counter.
Most citrus fruits are in season between November and March. That should be the the best time to buy them, but nowadays, they can be found in grocery stores all year round. Tangerines and mandarins are at their peak in the winter.
- Use any good quality store-bought vinaigrette dressing – honey, balsamic, raspberry, etc. I don’t suggest a creamy dressing as it would cloud the pretty colors.
- You can prep the fruit and dressing hours ahead of time, but I suggest assembling just before serving.
- So prepare the vinaigrette dressing up to a couple days ahead and peel/slice the fruit.
- Don’t cut the avocado too far in advance as it can turn brown. Squeeze a bit of orange or lemon over it to prevent that.
Other simple salad recipes to try
- Thai mango salad
- butternut squash salad cups
- fig salad with pomegranates
- fruit salsa
- tropical fruit salad
- festive winter salad recipe
Best Citrus Salad With Greens
- 3 navel oranges Note 1
- 1 red grapefruit
- 1 avocado, peeled and diced or sliced
- 1/2 head of lettuce, ripped into bite size pieces butter, Boston or Bibb
- 2 cups (60g or 2 oz) baby spinach leaves, stems removed, ripped into bite size pieces, Note 2
- 1/4 cup (33g) toasted nuts (pine nuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, pistachios, pistachios, hazelnut, walnuts)
Vinaigrette Dressing, Note 3
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice from fresh lemon (substitute white or red wine vinegar if you like)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup neutral olive oil (I don't use extra virgin for this)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling at the end)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Other garnishes (optional)
- pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, herbs (chives, parsley, fresh mint leaves, thyme), green onion, red onion, balsamic reduction drizzle.
- PEEL AND CUT CITRUS FRUIT: To remove peel and white pith (the white flesh under the peel) on oranges and grapefruit: cut off both ends of the fruit and set one cut end on the cutting board to stabilize. Use a sharp paring knife to slice down the sides removing the peel and white flesh, conforming to the shape of the fruit. Then cut the fruits into thin slices (about 1/4 inch/0.36cm). Cut grapefruit slices into quarters and orange slices in half. Place fruit and avocado in a bowl.
- MAKE VINAIGRETTE DRESSING: Whisk together lemon juice, Dijon, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly add olive oil while whisking, until well blended. Pour half over citrus fruit and gently toss together.
- ASSEMBLE CITRUS SALAD: Mix lettuce and spinach together and divide among 4 plates (or lay out on a serving platter or shallow bowl). When ready to serve (not before as greens will wilt), place fruit over the lettuce and sprinkle with toasted nuts. Drizzle extra dressing on if needed (you probably won't need it all). Garnish with your choice of garnishes above. Sprinkle on sea salt or kosher salt.
- Types of citrus to use: Cara cara oranges, naval oranges, tart blood oranges, valencia. Tangerines or mandarins are also great when in season in the winter. Grapefruit options: ruby red, pink grapefruit or pomelo.
- Green lettuce variations: use any greens. I like to use a combination of dark and pale leaf lettuce. Good options are baby spinach, spring mix, kale, arugula, red lettuce or frisee.
- Vinaigrette dressing – for a shortcut, buy a good quality dressing (balsamic, raspberry, honey, etc). Not a creamy one. Or try this homemade orange vinaigrette dressing.
- Make ahead: You can prep the fruit and dressing hours ahead of time, but I suggest assembling just before serving. Don’t cut the avocado too far in advance as it can turn brown. Squeeze a bit of orange or lemon over it to prevent that.