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Citrus Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Citrus salad is one of those side dishes that just makes a meal feel brighter. There’s a whole world of flavors beyond iceberg lettuce and ranch, I promise. See how easy this fall and winter salad is to make and brighten up those heavier cool weather meals.

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Put down the iceberg. I mean it. Put that bottle of French back where you got it and wave goodbye to Kraft.

Because you need a change with this beautifully complex salad.

Not one that’s hard to make complex–just flavor complex. It makes a meal that’s simple feel much more special.

Plus making your own dressing soars in flavor and health benefits over bottled.

Ingredients you’ll need for this salad:

  • Mixed greens
  • Red onion
  • Grapefruit and oranges
  • Pumpkin seeds and pomegranate arils
  • Feta or goat cheese
  • Thyme, olive oil, lemon, mustard, blood orange juice for dressing

Why you should hate store bought salad dressing

How many reasons would you like?

I think the biggest one is that they don’t taste good. You think they do because of all the crud they put in there that stimulates your brain with an MSG and preservative hit. But it’s a lie.

The inflammatory oils are also an issue. Just about every store bought dressing has sunflower, safflower, canola, vegetable or corn oils and these are dangerous. And if you are a low fat/sugar free dressing person you have even more cause for concern.

Plus they are more expensive when you consider just how much homemade dressing you can make with basic ingredients at home.

Lighten up a heavy holiday meal

Balance out the richness of celebration food with salads like this. The flavors are bright enough to cut through the rest of the plate and still be filling. This salad goes wonderfully with deep fried turkey, hot casseroles, and prime rib.

How to cut the fruit for this citrus salad

Use a sharp or serrated knife to cut off the ends of your citrus enough that you can see the actual fruit underneath.

Set it down on one flat end and use your knife to cut the skin away in small sections. Curve your knife with the shape of the fruit so you don’t cut too much off.

Then turn the citrus on its longer side and cut slices of fruit for your salad.

How to build the citrus salad

It’s as easy as layering everything together. You can arrange it neatly or toss it all in a bowl and serve it up.

  • Start with greens on the bottom.
  • Add sliced onions and citrus fruit next.
  • Put the smaller items–the pepitas and the pomegranates on top so they don’t get lost under the greens.
  • Dot with the goat cheese.

When serving, do your best to get a little bit of everything on the plates.

Substitutions ideas for a citrus salad that works for you

I hate goat cheese so much I can’t even verbalize it. I stood in a goat pen on a friend’s farm once–turns out it smells just like goat cheese tastes. I’m sticking with cows.

You may also need some swaps so here are some ideas to try:

  • Use feta or a soft mild blue cheese instead of goat cheese
  • Swap the arugula for baby mixed greens
  • Use shallots or green onions for a milder onion flavor
  • Raisins wouldn’t be as bright as the pomegranate, but they could sub in a pinch
  • Any roasted nut you like would work here in place of the pumpkin seeds too. Pine nuts are small and would give a similar texture.

What to serve with citrus salad

That’s what I love about this recipe–it’s the tang your super rich winter food needs on hand. I love this recipe with celebration food like prime rib, broccoli casserole, and baked turkey at the holidays.

You could also add a simple protein like pan seared chicken breasts or steamed shrimp and you have an instant main dish.

Other winning salads to try

These salads are some of my all time favorites. Check them out:

Citrus Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Rachel Ballard


For the salad

  • 3 ounces arugula
  • 2 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 mandarin orange
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas roasted and salted
  • 4 ounces honey goat cheese we tested with Montchevre
  • black pepper to taste

For the dressing


For the salad

  • Prepare the ingredients. Peel the oranges and slice them into thin slices. Slice the red onion into thin slices.
  • Add the arugula and spinach to a large platter.Lay thin slices of red onion, blood orange and mandarin orange on top of the greens.
  • Garnish the salad with pomegranate arils, roasted pepitas, and crumbled goat cheese. Grind fresh black pepper over the top of the salad, if desired.

For the dressing

  • Add the blood orange juice, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey and salt to a small bowl. Stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Using a metal whisk, whisk the dressing while streaming in the olive oil little by little. Whisk until all the olive oil is incorporated into the dressing, and the dressing reaches a glossy creamy consistency.
  • Pour as much dressing as you like over the salad, and enjoy!


Notes and Tips
Use a serrated knife or paring knife to removethe orange peels to give the orange slices a pretty hexagonal shape.
Remaining salad dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. If the vinaigrette beings to separate in the fridge, just whisk it again or shake it up in a jar to re-emulsify it.
  • Substitute the goat cheese for feta crumbles
  • Substitute the roasted salted pepitas forsunflower seeds, walnuts or pecans
  • Substitute the salad dressing for a balsamicvinaigrette or creamy poppyseed dressing, if you prefer


Serving: 1cupCalories: 420kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 9gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 311mgPotassium: 342mgFiber: 2gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 2319IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword citrus salad, salad with citrus fruit

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.