Citrus Salad

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This is our favorite Citrus Salad — we’re combining a medley of oranges, oven-roasted beets, creamy avocado, tangy cheese, and crunchy roasted pistachios. A sweet citrus vinaigrette pulls everything together and adds a nice additional burst of freshness.

We love adding citrus to salads; see some of the other ways we’ve combined the two in this Citrus Quinoa Salad or this Cuban Mojo Chicken with a citrus avocado salsa.

Citrus Salad overhead view

Citrus Salad

It’s finally starting to feel more like spring around here, and with Easter creeping up faster than usual, I’m trying to get my menu all ready– starting with this amazing Citrus Salad that features beet, avocado, and citrus fruits.

This lettuce-free salad is essentially a mash-up of all the best citrus, tender roasted beets, and creamy avocado. And as an added bonus, it makes for quite the presentation! The textures are perfect and the flavors are light and refreshing. Exactly what we all need to welcome springtime!

This salad contains a variety of different citrus that gives it a delicious flavor. And the nice thing is that when oranges are in season (from about December through May), you should be able to find all these different oranges at your local grocery store. No need for specialty stores here! Later in this post, I share the four types of oranges I use in this salad, but this list can be easily adapted to your personal preferences and availability of the oranges. You can also simplify the number of oranges used, but using many different types will give the salad the most visual variety and flavor.

Image of all the ingredients used in this dish

Citrus Salad Ingredients

Later on in this post, I discuss the beets and citrus more, so let’s discuss the other salad additions here.

  • Avocado. Wait for fully ripe avocados — a ripe avocado can add an incredible creamy texture and a far superior flavor. You can tell it’s ripe by gently pressing near the stem. If the avocado yields to that gentle pressure, it’s ripe and ready to be added to this salad!
  • Fresh basil (or fresh mint). We love the sweet, slightly savory touch of fresh basil. It adds a nice complexity of flavor to this salad. If you want an alternative, try fresh mint.
  • Goat (or feta) cheese. Our favorite cheese on this salad is goat cheese; it pairs so nicely with the beets, citrus, and avocado. Feta is a good alternative and if you can’t consume dairy, this citrus salad is still great without any cheese at all.
  • Coarsely chopped pistachios (or sliced almonds). The nuts add texture and a touch of savory. Whatever nuts you choose to use, I recommend dry roasted and lightly salted for a more complex flavor.

Process shots: roasting beets

Beet shortcut

First things first: we’re obsessed with beets in this citrus salad, but if beets aren’t your jam, substitute them with more citrus instead!

If you’re short on time and don’t have time to roast your own beets, a lot of grocery stores (such as my local Kroger store: Smith’s) are starting to carry roasted and peeled beets in the produce section. While they’re a little more expensive than raw beets, they can be a time saver and save you some effort in the kitchen.

You can also roast beets a few days before you plan to eat them. This can reduce cooking time on the day of an event or holiday if you’re preparing a large meal. You can keep freshly cooked beets in the fridge for 4-6 days.

And to roast the beets yourself, here are a few tips to get it just right:

How to perfectly roast beets

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Trim the top of the beets to leave about 1 inch; do not trim the root.
  • Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place on a sheet pan.
  • Roast them for 50-60 minutes (depending on their size), or until a small sharp knife can easily be inserted in the middle.
  • Unwrap each beet and set aside to cool.
  • Peel the skin off the beets and discard.
  • Slice each beet.

QUICK TIP

Peel and slice the beets on parchment paper to prevent staining the cutting board and use gloves to avoid staining your hands! Also, you can save and use the beet greens in another dish — Make sure you thoroughly wash them, discard the tough stems, and then sauté them in dishes just like you would with spinach or kale!

Process shots: making the dressing for Citrus Salad

Citrus Salad Dressing

This dressing has a mildly sweet flavor that emphasizes all the flavors in this salad. Below are a few tips:

  • Use good quality, extra virgin olive oil: The better your olive oil, the better the flavor of the dressing will be. Here are a few tips when trying to find good olive oil and a list of chefs’ favorite olive oils. Cobram Estate® Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a current favorite of mine in this dressing.
  • Toss some of the roasted beets with the dressing. After the beets have roasted, toss with a little dressing while they’re still hot. This gives the beets a chance to marinate and develop a flavor as they cool down for the salad.
  • Use kitchen tools to make the dressing preparation easier. Use a microplane (like this one) to zest only the very outside bright orange part of the navel orange. Avoid the white pith below the peel. This citrus juicer makes juicing the oranges a breeze!
  • Dressing the Citrus Salad. The dressing makes more than you’d typically use on a salad, but it doesn’t cling to the citrus especially well. I like to add about half the dressing and then continue to add more to refresh the salad as guests are enjoying it. If you’d like to add it all at once, that’s great too– just know it will pool at the bottom of the platter.

Process shots: supreming the oranges

The four types of oranges in this Citrus Salad

Here’s a quick description of the oranges in this salad. We find this combo to be the absolute best, but feel free to mix and match citrus to what you have on hand or can find fresh in the grocery store. I’d try to use at least three different kinds of oranges — the more variety, the better!

  1. Cara Cara Oranges. Cara Cara oranges are known for being very sweet with slightly lower acidity than regular navel oranges and they have a cranberry-like tang. On the outside, they look just like navel oranges, but the seedless interior is typically a rich pink color.
  2. Blood Oranges. These are a variety of oranges with a deep red (blood-colored) interior. The dark color is from anthocyanins which are antioxidant pigments usually found in flowers and fruits. Blood oranges have a unique flavor compared to other oranges, with typical citrus notes and a touch of a raspberry flavor.
  3. Tangelos. These are a hybrid fruit of tangerines and grapefruit. They taste like tangerines and are very juicy!
  4. Navel Oranges. Last, but not least, navels are deliciously sweet oranges, with less tang than other varieties. They give this salad a very sweet and refreshing flavor.

Other options that would work well in this citrus salad: Valencia oranges, grapefruit, clementines, mandarines are all deliciously appropriate for this salad.

Up close overhead image of the Citrus Salad

Supreming Citrus

If you are unfamiliar with the term supreming citrus it’s a simple technique to remove the membrane from citrus fruit. Not only does it elevate the presentation in this Citrus Salad, but it also ensures the citrus is free of rind or pith. Supreming does take a little more time, so it’s not entirely necessary, but if you’re serving this salad for an event or holiday, it does add that extra touch.

To supreme citrus:

  1. Use a very sharp knife (otherwise this can be frustrating!).
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of the fruit and then set the fruit on a cutting board, flat edge down.
  3. Working around the fruit, slice the peel and pith off in sections. Follow the shape of the fruit, cutting from the top down to the bottom.
  4. Repeat until all the peel and pith have been removed.
  5. Now, thinly slice (and halve the slices for smaller orange bites).
  6. Add the beautiful cut citrus to the Citrus Salad!

QUICK TIP

Don’t want to supreme the citrus? Simply peel and break apart into segments for this salad.

Image of the citrus salad all prepped and ready to be eaten

Citrus FAQs

1What can I do with lots of citrus?

Make this Citrus Salad of course! Everyone goes crazy for this salad. And if you buy bags (as opposed to single oranges), you can make this citrus salad a few times!

Other ways to use citrus:

  1. In a salad dressing (adding fresh citrus adds so much to salad dressings — this Mandarin Orange Salad is one of our favorites!)
  2. Zest and juice the citrus and freeze it for later. Here’s how to do this.
  3. Make a citrus curd (using this Lemon Curd recipe as a starting point!).

2What is winter citrus?

Most citrus is the sweetest and juiciest during North America’s winter. Oranges are sweetest and most readily available from December through May.

3How can I make my salad more interesting?

  • Supreming the citrus adds visual appeal.
  • Variation adds interest — the more different types of citrus, the better!
  • Toppings like nuts and cheese add flavor and texture.

4How do you keep oranges from going bad?

Place the oranges in the fridge — preferably in the crisper drawer. Keeping the oranges in a cool, dry place will help them last longer than being stored at room temperature.

Citrus Salad Storage

Citrus Salad doesn’t sit or store well after it’s made. Once assembled, the salad needs to be eaten soon after; otherwise, the dressing softens the pistachios, the citrus gets soggy, and the avocado will begin to brown. To make ahead: Prepare the beets and dressing ahead of time. Cut pistachios ahead of time. Cut avocado and citrus right before assembling and combine everything at serving time.

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Citrus Salad

5 from 10 votes
This is our favorite Citrus Salad -- we're combining a medley of oranges, oven-roasted beets, creamy avocado, tangy cheese, and crunchy roasted pistachios. A sweet citrus vinaigrette pulls everything together and adds a nice additional burst of freshness.
Print Recipe

Citrus Salad

5 from 10 votes
This is our favorite Citrus Salad -- we're combining a medley of oranges, oven-roasted beets, creamy avocado, tangy cheese, and crunchy roasted pistachios. A sweet citrus vinaigrette pulls everything together and adds a nice additional burst of freshness.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword citrus salad
Prep Time 35 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 -6 as a side
Calories 295kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $10.12

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) fresh squeezed navel orange juice + 1/2 teaspoon zest
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and pepper

Salad

  • 4 beets (golden, red, or variety) (or use more citrus instead!)
  • 2 navel oranges,
  • 2 tangelos
  • 2 cara cara oranges
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 small Avocados
  • 1/3 cup (48g) crumbled goat or feta cheese (we prefer goat)
  • 1/3 cup (40g) coarsely chopped dry roasted and lightly salted pistachios
  • Optional: handful of fresh basil

Instructions

  • DRESSING: Add all the dressing ingredients to a wide-mouth mason jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper; I add 1/8 tsp salt and a tiny pinch of pepper). Shake vigorously to combine. (You may need to stir to integrate the honey). Store in the fridge until you're ready to dress the salad.
  • BEETS: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the top of the beets to leave about 1 inch; do not trim the root. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan spaced a few inches apart. Roast them for 50-60 minutes (depending on their size) or until a small sharp knife can easily be inserted in the middle. Unwrap each beet and set aside to cool. Peel the skin off of the beets and then slice. See Note 1. Toss the sliced beets with 1 tablespoon of the dressing, cover, and place in the fridge while preparing the rest of the salad.
  • SUPREME CITRUS & CUT AVOCADOS: Cut the tops and bottoms off each citrus. Placing the citrus on its flat surface, use a very sharp knife to carefully slice the peels off the citrus. Cut the citrus into 1/2-inch thick slices and carefully pop out any seeds. Set aside. Peel, pit, and thinly slice the avocados. 
  • ASSEMBLE: In a large bowl or platter, alternate adding different citrus, sliced beets, and sliced avocado. Top with goat or feta cheese, pistachios (coarsely chop), and fresh basil as desired.
  • DRESSING: Shake the dressing once more and drizzle over salad to desired preference. I like to add most of the dressing and then refresh the salad by adding more as guests dish up. *Only dress and add avocado to what will be eaten that day. This salad doesn't sit well with dressing and the avocados will brown.* If you are making this salad to enjoy throughout the week, I'd recommend preparing all of the ingredients and then storing them all separately and assembling what you will eat.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: peel and slice the beets on parchment paper to prevent staining the cutting board. Use gloves to avoid staining your hands!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4.7g | Fat: 15.9g | Cholesterol: 1.4mg | Sodium: 86.1mg | Fiber: 8.4g | Sugar: 25.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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14 Comments

  1. This salad alone is just so beautiful, but I really do love roasted beets so that also makes it super tasty and appealing. This would be a nice change from my lunch smoothie!

  2. 5 stars
    this is such a creative recipe, and beets, love them and always forget to use them in anything, they’re such a unique flavor, thank you for this, love it

  3. 5 stars
    Chelsea, this looks absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never tried citrus in salad – it looks like I’m seriously missing out. So I will definitely have to try this! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for this recipe!
    It was a hit at Christmas lunch today.
    Had to adapt it since it’s summer here and the only citrus available is just your everyday, plain orange. So I added mango for some diversity, haha! The dressing was really great too!

  5. 5 stars
    I did cheat and use already roasted beets- but OMG! I had to make three batches because my 3 teenagers (even the picky eater) kept eating it before I could have any! Thank you for this easy to make , delicious recipe! It is now on weekly rotation and works great with our whole 30 month! 💕💕

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious, and a big hit at dinner! I think next time I’ll leave the cheese off, it’s got a beautiful range of flavors even without it!

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