Winter Citrus Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

I am obsessed with this citrus salad!  It’s the perfect way to combat the February doldrums.  February can a tough month, don’t you think?  The holidays are long gone but spring still seems far away, at least here in New York.  This winter hasn’t been as bad as some but last February, I watched as huge sheets of ice floated down the Hudson River.  Just, no.  (I can hear my mother saying, “Well it’s 65 degrees right now in Louisiana.”  Thanks, Mom.) 

This time of year, when it comes to food, I often want some element of freshness to counterbalance the heavier foods of winter.  Enter citrus!  Citrus is your friend.  This salad is incredibly refreshing, not to mention beautiful.  I am a sucker for color and these colors are pretty freaking fab.  Take a peak at this closeup… 


I know, right!?  YUM.  I love a salad with lots of stuff.  A little crunch!  A pop of green!  A bit of acidity!  A hint of heat!  It’s like a mini culinary symphony.  But on a busy night, you can definitely cut corners on this one and some nights, you really need that.  If you throw some oranges, jalapeño, red onion and bits of lime into a bowl – and do absolutely nothing else – it is still going to be pretty good.  Add a little salt – or not.  The truth is that if I wasn’t writing a recipe, I wouldn’t measure anything anyway.  I would just throw things in there until the salad looked right, so I invite you to do the same.


Part of what I love about this salad is not just the mix of colors but also the mix of textures.  I sliced some oranges into rounds (see above left).  I also supremed some of the oranges (above right).  You do whatever floats your boat.  And then there is this…


Everything is better with a little jalapeño and lime, right? 🙂  

P.S.  This citrus salad is a nice complement to this three-chile marinated chicken or steak.

Citrus Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
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For the Cilantro Vinaigrette
  1. 1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves (plus more for garnish)
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  5. 1 teaspoon honey
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
For the Salad
  1. 1/4 cup pepitas
  2. 6 1/2 lbs. of your favorite orange varieties*
  3. 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  4. 1/4 red onion, sliced into very thin semi-circles
  5. 1/2 lime
  6. 1 tablespoon thinly sliced jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed)
  7. Himalaya pink salt or fleur de sel**
  8. 2 oz. of your favorite micro greens or sprouts (I used kale micro greens)
For the Cilantro Vinaigrette
  1. Put the cilantro, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, shallot, honey and salt in a high speed blender. Blend until your dressing has come together but you can still see tiny bits of cilantro. Set aside.
For the Salad
  1. Put your pepitas in a skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly toast them, stirring frequently. You are just looking for a bit of color on the pepitas. This will only take a few minutes. Transfer the pepitas to a cool plate. Set aside.
  2. Remove the peel and the pith from your oranges. To do this slice off the top and bottom of the orange. The cut off the peel in long vertical strips, working your way around the orange. Make sure you cut off the bitter white pith, while preserving as much fruit as possible; follow the curves of the orange with your knife.
  3. Slice half of your oranges into rounds.
  4. Supreme the other half of the oranges. To do this, take a good look at your orange. You will see "sections" of fruit between the white membrane. To remove these sections, slice as close as you can to the membrane towards the center of the orange. Slice the left side of the section. Then the right. Then remove the section and repeat until all that is left of the orange is the membrane.
  5. Now it's time to deal with your lime. The key thing to remember here is that you want very thin little bits of lime. Nobody wants to get a big bite! With that in mind, remove the peel and the pith from your lime. To do this, slice off the top and bottom of the lime. The cut off the peel in long vertical strips, working your way around the lime in the same way you did the oranges.
  6. Cut the lime in half the long way. Then cut that half in half the long way so that are left with two long quarters of lime, plus another half. Slice one of the quarter sections of the lime into very thin (emphasis on the very) slices so that you have small little wedges of lime. Repeat with the second quarter section. (Set aside the remaining half a lime for another project.)
  7. Now let's get to the fun stuff. Put your oranges, pomegranate seeds, red onion, lime, jalapeño and pepitas in a large mixing bowl. Add a bit of salt to taste. You don't want the salad to be super salty but a bit of salt will get the citrus juices flowing.
  8. Gently (and I mean gently) toss the salad so that the ingredients are evenly dispersed.
  9. Transfer the salad to a platter, tucking bits of micro greens amongst the citrus as you go. Add some cilantro leaves for garnish. Put the dressing in a small bowl and serve alongside the salad.
  10. Now eat!
  1. * Cara cara, naval and blood oranges are three of my favorite varieties. The colors are gorgeous together! But choose whatever you like!
  2. ** You can substitute another variety of flaky or slightly course salt but these are two of my favorites.
Kitchen Below Canal
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