A vibrant, fresh salad made with avocado, winter citrus, picked fennel and red onion, crushed pistachios, & crumbled goat cheese and topped with a honey citrus vinaigrette.
Happy Friday friends! We finally made it to the weekend. Yaas! And I’m bringing you this fresh and vibrant salad that is sure to brighten your weekends (mean., just look at those colors!!).
This salad highlights the beautiful citrus fruit that is in season during the winter months: oranges!
I’ve been trying to be more cognizant of using and appreciating the produce that are in season each month. If you recall, I was totally obsessed with figs in late summer and early Fall (fig season) and made some killer recipes like my fig jam parfaits. Now I’m obsessing over winter citrus that is now plentiful in my grocery store.
Why buy in season?
Well, really there are three main reasons. 1: the fruit is the ripest and freshest when in season so simply tastes the best. 2: fruit that is in season cost less. For example, if you try to buy fresh berries during the winter months, be prepared to spend $6-$8 for a pint (trust me, I know, I had to break that habit so I stopped breaking my bank!). 3: the fruit is picked when it has had the most sun exposure, so has had time to ripen and fully develop, which leads to higher levels of antioxidant.
Knowing it was orange season led to this wonderful avocado citrus salad. It’s the perfect vibrant salad to add a little color and freshness to the gray, and typically heavy eating winter months.
Let’s get to making this salad!
The star of this salad is the orange. I realized that they are actually in season during winter months, so decided to utilize them in this dish. I was actually blown away at how many different types of oranges are available at the store. I decided to use three different kinds in this salad for their different tastes and beautiful colors:
Cara Cara Orange: a medium-size orange with a glossy, textured rind. The inner flesh of the Cara Cara is pink, resembling the color of a ruby grapefruit. It’s seedless and tastes sweeter than any given orange with flavors far more comparable to tangerines with robust and complex citrus aromatics
Naval Orange: a medium size orange variety with a smooth but pebbled skin. The trademark “navel” at its budding end is due to a genetic mutation where a secondary orange grows within the larger fruit. Its translucent yellow-orange segmented flesh is seedless and rich with sweet juices.
Blood Orange: is a variety of orange with a crimson almost blood-colored flesh. They have a unique flavor compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes.
First, peel and remove them pith from all the oranges and cut them into thin round slices. If there is extra flesh on the rinds of the oranges, juice them as you will use the juice for the dressing.
To make the dressing, combine the orange juice, ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil until the dressing emulsifies and comes together.
I also added pickled fennel and red onion to this dish for a pop off acidity and tangy flavor (you do not have to pickle them if you are rushed for time). Cut the fennel and red onion into very thin slices (I actually used a mandolin). Add them to a bowl and mix with honey, rice wine vinegar, and salt and allow to sit for at least an hour.
To make the salad, add the arugula to a big salad bowl or 4-5 plates (if you are making individual salads). Arrange the oranges, avocado slices, and pickled fennel around the arugula (used desired amount, to me the more the better). Top with the pistachios and goat cheese and drizzle with desired amount of dressing.
The salad is bursting with color and flavor. The orange are sweet, bright, and juicy. The pickled fennel and red onions add a bit of tang. The avocado adds creaminess and savories to help balance out the sweetness from the oranges. The pistachios add a nice crunch. And the goat cheese adds salty richness to the dish. It’s all around a beautiful bite of food! Enjoy!
Avocado Citrus Salad
Avo Citrus Salad
- 1 bag arugula
- 1 blood orange peel and pith removed and sliced
- 1 cara cara orange peel and pith removed and sliced
- 1 naval orange peel and pith removed and sliced
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1/2 cup pickled onion and fennel
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles for vegan option use vegan goat cheese or omit cheese
Quick Pickled Red Onion and Fennel
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey agave if vegan
- Dash salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons orange citrus juice I squeezed juice out of the flesh on the peels I cut off the oranges used for salad
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey agave if vegan
- 1 teaspoon dijon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 3 tablespoons olive oil I used a lemon infused oil but regular works too
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the quick pickles, mix together the honey, rice wine vinegar, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the thinly sliced fennel and red onions and stir until coated in the pickling liquid. Allow to marinate for at least an hour.
For the dressing, combine all of the ingredient from citrus to ginger. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it is fully incorporated with the other ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad, add the arugula to a big salad bowl or 4-5 plates (if you are making individual salads). Arrange the oranges, avocado slices, and pickled fennel around the arugula (used desired amount). Top with the pistachios and goat cheese. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing.
Serve and enjoy!
Katie Walsh Beck