You'll love this simple citrus salad made with healthy quinoa and greens. This salad incorporates our favorite citrus fruits like blood oranges, navel oranges, and grapefruit. The addition of quinoa makes it perfect as a light main dish meal. This version is made with a honey vinaigrette dressing and is topped with chopped pistachios.
Try my Greek Pasta Salad for another great salad option.
Table of contents
Why it's awesome
It's easy and quick to make. This salad comes together in about 30 minutes.
Great flavor - You'll love this combination of all the citrus fruits with the poppy seed vinaigrette. It would be great with the addition of some goat cheese and fresh mint leaves.
It's the perfect vegetarian salad that works as a side dish or main dish. A lighter meatless lunch or dinner is sometimes in order. But you can certainly add some grilled seafood, chicken or beef along side.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Blood oranges originated in Sicily and Spain. They have a deep red flesh and a unique raspberry-citrus flavor. Blood oranges are typically considered a winter citrus fruit and are in season from December through March and as late as May. Use any available variety of orange if blood oranges aren't in season. Cara Cara oranges would make a nice substitution.
Navel oranges are available year round. Use your favorite!
Grapefruits are available year round. Grapefruit is common in most citrus salads, but you can omit if you don't like it or can't eat it. Use more orange or try something different like sliced red grapes or kiwi fruit.
Use your favorite variety of mixed greens (I prefer the kind that doesn't have any cilantro in it). Substitute with arugula, spinach, or a mixture.
Quinoa turns this salad into a meal! I used tri-colored, but any variety works. Try brown rice to keep this meal gluten free, or use couscous or orzo if you prefer pasta.
Roasted and salted pistachios adds a crunchy element. Try macadamias, cashews, or pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Flaked coconut will also work.
Cook quinoa according to package directions. I used water to cook the quinoa, not broth. Let it cool on a plate while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
Whisk together the Poppy Seed Vinaigrette ingredients in small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and set aside.
Place arugula or mixed greens on a large platter. Top with cooled quinoa.
Peel and slice the fruit you're using.
Layer greens and quinoa with sliced fruit.
Pour dressing over sliced fruit. Top with chopped pistachios.
Notes and Tips
Extra virgin olive oil tastes best, but you can use another oil like avocado or walnut instead.
If you want to turn the dressing into a citrus vinaigrette, try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
Try topping this citrus salad with thinly sliced avocado, pomegranate seeds, or toasted coconut flakes. Thinly sliced red onion is also a nice option.
You may want to add herbs like sliced fresh mint or basil.
You can section the citrus fruit rather than slicing, if preferred.
Winter fruits are those that ripen in the winter months, typically December through April or May.
The cool temperatures actually make citrus fruits sweeter. The peel becomes thicker and that signals more sugar production.
More Vegetarian Salads
Poppy Seed Honey Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoon canola oil any mild flavored oil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey agave nectar
- ¼ teaspoon poppy seeds
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2-3 blood oranges peel and pith removed, thinly sliced
- 1 navel orange peel and pith removed, thinly sliced
- 1 small grapefruit peel and pith removed, thinly sliced
- 2 cups mixed greens arugula, baby spinach
- 1 cup quinoa red, white, or mixed; cooked
- ½ cup roasted, salted pistachios chopped
- Cook ½ cup quinoa according to package directions. Spread on a plate to cool while assembling the salad.
- Combine oil, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt, pepper in a jar and cover with a lid. Shake until well combined. Set aside.
- Slice ends off fruit and remove the peel and pith. Slice fruit into thin slices.
- Place the mixed greens In a salad bowl or large platter.
- Top mixed greens with cooked, cooled quinoa.
- Top quinoa with sliced fruit.
- Drizzle dressing over the fruit then top with chopped pistachios.