A light salad packed with antioxidants, immune boosters, and everything you need to fight the winter blues. See a fun video in the blog below teaching how to segment citrus like a pro!
What is a Citrus Salad?
Most people think of citrus as a summertime food. Why wouldn't we? The colors are like that of a sunset and we are advertised citrus flavors when it's hot (think lemonade stands and margaritas). In actuality though, winter is the peak of citrus season. Most citrus hits its stride around Winter Solstice and finishes up in the spring. When looking for a way to brighten up gloomy days and break up heavy comfort-food meals, citrus is the perfect ingredient! Citrus salad is the perfect way to highlight these winter underdogs. What is a citrus salad? Basically, citrus salad is a green salad that highlights different types of citrus as its main ingredient. I like to layer those flavors with rich things like cheese and nuts and earthy vegetables to balance all of that brightness. And don't worry about the season- this salad will taste fantastic all year round, whenever you are looking for something crisp and light.
Why Vitamin C is important
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from the effects of "bad stuff" (ie: pollution, smoke, etc..) and helps do the good stuff (ie: helping to maintain the immune system, bones, and skin, etc...). A medium size orange contains approximately 70 mg of vitamin C- just image what a salad composed of citrus can do for your health.
More than just Vitamin C
Citrus is more than just vitamin C, however. Most citrus is high in B9, which helps keep serotonin levels up and those winter moody blue days at bay. Add that to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, high fiber, and yes- that abundance of vitamin C- it is just what our bodies need as we're fighting off the cold.
The best kind of Citrus for a Salad
There are a variety of citrus out there, and every year seems to bring about a new hybrid or varietal I have never heard of before. If you live in a region where oranges are the citrus of choice, go for it! Good ol' oranges are fantastic! But, if you are wondering what other kinds of citrus might be the best for your salad, here are a few that I love.
Types of Citrus
- Navel Oranges
- Blood Oranges
- Satsuma Tangerines
- Ruby Grapefruits
How to Cut Citrus
To add citrus to a salad, I love to cut away the peel and then slice into thin slices. This reduces the amount of bitter pith going into my salad, but also just looks pretty. To do this, cut off both ends of the citrus. This will give a flat surface so that your fruit doesn't roll while cutting it. Starting at the top (and keeping your fingers out of the way of your knife), cut off the peel towards the bottom, curving your knife to follow the shape of the fruit. This will take some practice at first, but after a while it will be easier than peeling with your hands. After the fruit is peeled, simply slice into thin rounds.
I've included a video HERE to show how to section a grapefruit (or any citrus) after it's been peeled. Now that you've got the lowdown on citrus, let's talk about the rest of this salad.
How to make Citrus Salad
As I mentioned in the intro, almost any ingredients can be put into a citrus salad. For this recipe, I've combined a spicy lettuce mix, roasted beets, and vegan feta cheese. All of these ingredients balance the sharp tang of the citrus and the Juniper Vinaigrette gives it a unique finish.
My recommends for great cheese choices
Antioxidant Rich Citrus Salad
- Preheat the oven to 375f
- Toss the beets with the salt, pepper, olive oil, and rosemary. Wrap in a foil package, folding up each end to seal closed.
- Place beet package in the oven and cook for 45 minutes, until the beets are tender. This portion of the recipe can be done up to 3 days in advance (often I will roast beets and keep them in the refrigerator for salads later in the week). Once beets are finished, remove from the oven and pour onto a dish to cool. Set aside.
- While the beets are cooking, prepare your citrus. Cut each of the ends off to create a flat surface so that your fruit doesn't roll. Starting at the top, cut the peel off towards the bottom, curving your knife in the shape of the fruit as you go. Don't worry if it is not perfect at first- this takes practice. Once the fruit is peeled, you can slice or section (see how-to video HERE )
- Lay the salad greens on a large platter and top with the roasted beets, citrus, and crumbled feta cheese.
- Drizzle with the vinaigrette just before serving.