This beautiful citrus salad is made with greens, shaved fennel, red onion, crushed pistachios, fresh citrus fruit and a quick, creamy poppyseed dressing.
This healthy salad recipe is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. The use of seasonal citrus fruits makes this recipe the perfect salad to serve throughout the Winter months.
For another great salad recipe, try our Arugula and Prosciutto Salad with Fig and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Our Golden Beet Salad is another seasonal recipe that is great to enjoy throughout Fall and Winter.
Ingredients (and Possible Substitutions)
This recipe comes together in a matter of minutes with a handful of fresh ingredients. Here's what you need:
- Spinach & Arugula - Other salad greens like kale, endive, frisée, little gem lettuce and baby mixed greens also work well in this recipe.
- Fennel - Both sliced fennel bulb and the delicate fronds are used in this salad. The mild licorice-like flavor pairs deliciously with the tangy dressing and tart fruit. If you don't care for the licorice flavor, feel free to omit this ingredient.
- Winter Citrus - As pictured, we used a combination of navel oranges and blood oranges. Cara cara oranges, grapefruit and mandarins are also good for this recipe.
- Red Onion - Thinly shaved or minced shallot is a good substitute.
- Pistachios - Crushed, salted pistachios give this salad a nice crunch and a rich, salty flavor component. Another toasted nut or seed (like walnuts, almonds or pepitas) can be used, instead.
- Dressing - We have included the recipe for our creamy poppyseed dressing, that is perfect with the tart and bitter flavors of fresh citrus fruit. Of course, you can use a store-bought dressing or your favorite vinaigrette recipe.
Preparing The Citrus
This salad is all about showcasing Winter’s heartbeat: juicy, vibrant citrus fruits. For this citrus salad we like to use the common navel orange and the tart, ruby-colored blood orange.
These juicy fruits strike the perfect juxtaposition of natural sugars and unique flavors while balancing bitter undertones. As mentioned, cara cara oranges, grapefruit and sumo mandarins are also great choices.
Buying The Best Citrus Fruit - We recommend opting for the heaviest fruit you can find, to ensure optimal ripeness. Heavier citrus equals juicier and sweeter fruit.
Also, contrary to popular belief, oranges with a greenish hue are often the sweetest. Many citrus fruits go through a process called "regreening". Unlike other fruits that fall from the tree when ripe, citrus on the tree does not fall and does not over-ripen. While sugars continue to develop, the fruit sometimes returns to a slightly greenish color that is often associated with sweeter juice.
How To Slice the Citrus Fruits
For this recipe, we like to cut the fruit in thick, juicy slices that resemble stars or flowers. It makes for a beautiful presentation and makes citrus the star of the salad. Here's how it's done:
- Use a sharp knife to remove either ends (stem end and the "navel" flowering end) of the citrus fruit.
- Then, stand the fruit up on one of the cut ends. Carefully slice away the remaining citrus peel and white pith by sliding the knife along the curvature of the fruit. It is better to take small sections off at a time, to avoid cutting into too much of the fruit.
- Finally, turn the peeled citrus on its' side and slice into medallions.
How To Make Poppyseed Dressing
This quick and easy poppyseed salad dressing is the perfect companion for a green citrus salad. It takes about two minutes to make in a mason jar. (You can check out the video below, or the entire dressing recipe post.)
We used yogurt as the base for this dressing making it tangy, thick and creamy. White wine vinegar, honey and coarse-ground mustard make for a sweet and savory dressing that compliments the citrus and greens just so.
The namesake, however, is all thanks to the almighty poppyseed adding a speckle of intrigue, mildly nutty flavors and an oh-so-satisfying crackle of texture.
Check out his quick How To video:
Suggested Protein Pairings
This citrus salad recipe is spectacular on its' own and one of our favorite ways to kickstart the first course. That being said - don’t let us stop you from making this salad a full-on meal.
This salad can make for a stellar lunch or can pair with a variety of proteins for a more-filling main event. Here are some protein ideas:
- Pan-Seared Salmon - Salmon is our favorite pairing for this salad! The fish goes so well with citrus fruit and pairs nicely with the tangy Poppyseed dressing.
- Grilled Chicken Breast - For a classic option, grilled chicken is an easy way to make this salad a meal.
- Shrimp - A few grilled on sautéed shrimp are a quick and easy addition. For yummy flavor, squeeze a little fresh orange juice on the shrimp while they cook.
- Avocado - Fresh slices of avocado are amazing on this salad! It's a great vegetarian addition loaded with lots of healthy fats and protein.
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Citrus Salad with Fennel, Pistachios and Poppyseed Dressing
- 1 ½ Cups baby spinach washed and dried
- 1 ½ Cups arugula washed and dried
- ½ small bulb of fennel thinly shaved
- ½ small bulb of fennel fronds trimmed; divided
- 2 citrus fruits (navel orange, blood orange, cara cara orange, grapefruit or mandarin) peeled and sliced in rounds ¼ inch (6 millimeters) thick; divided
- Red onion thinly shaved, as desired
- 1 ½ Tablespoons roasted, salted pistachios hulled and crushed
Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
- 2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt plain, unsweetened
- 1 heaping teaspoon dijon mustard coarse-ground
- 1 teaspoon honey or more for sweeter dressing
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil or avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 heaping teaspoon poppy seeds
- fine kosher salt* to taste
- Combine spinach, arugula, fennel, half of the fennel fronds, half of the orange slices, half of the blood orange slices and red onion in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the dressing to the bowl and toss to combine.
- Garnish the salad with the remaining oranges, blood oranges, fennel fronds and pistachio. Drizzle with remaining dressing, as desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
- Gather, measure and prepare the Poppyseed Dressing recipe ingredients as listed. (To make a bigger batch, check out entire Poppyseed Dressing post.)Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar and tightly secure the lid. Shake the jar vigorously for 30 to 60 seconds until dressing is thick and emulsified. Serve immediately or store dressing in the refrigerator for 4 - 5 days.
* A Note About Salt
Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on The Sage Apron are developed using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. It is a great all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If using table salt, reduce quantities by about half.