Winter Citrus Salad

Vegan Winter Citrus Salad

Salads don’t have to be complicated.

Sometimes, in fact, the best salads are the simplest.

I know I’m guilty of overloading my salads. What will a little cheese hurt? Some nuts, some legumes, some olives, why not the whole kitchen sink?!

But if you’re able to exercise a little self-restraint, you might be surprised by the clean flavors of a simple salad.

The slightly bitter crunch of the lettuce, the zing and tastebud tickling tartness of fresh citrus, and the smooth and luscious texture of extra virgin olive oil. That’s all you really need!

Vegan Winter Citrus Salad in a Large White Bowl

Plus, simple salads are friendly to nearly any eater. They’re naturally gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free, vegan, and vegetarian. Amazing!

This winter citrus salad highlights three delicious citrus fruits: lemon, orange, and grapefruit. The ultimate trifecta.

Lemon and grapefruit give the salad and dressing a nice tart zing, while the natural sweetness of orange balances it out. Rather than dousing the salad in oil, I let the citrus flavors shine. This dressing is heavy on the citrus zest and juice, and light on the oil. And you won’t even miss it!

This light and bright salad goes great with a heavier main dish, like Oven Roasted Pork,  Creamy Potato Fennel Soup with Pancetta Croutons, or Seared Pork Chops with Mustard Pan Sauce.

Vegan Winter Citrus Salad with Baby Greens

Winter Citrus Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 additional large navel orange
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit
  • 8 oz mixed baby greens
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, dijon mustard, parsley, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside for now.
  2. Next, segment the orange. Here’s how it’s done: Cut off the top and bottom of the orange to expose the flesh. Put one of the cut sides down on the cutting board, then use your knife to slice off the skin and pith off the orange. You’ll do this in sections, by slicing off one section of the skin/pith with your knife, from top to bottom of the orange, following the curve of the orange, then rotating the orange and continuing slicing off the skin until all that’s left is a beautiful skinless & pithless orange.
  3. Next, grab a paring knife & carefully slice each segment of fruit out from it’s papery membranes. To do this, slide your knife between the left and right membranes, releasing the fruit segment in one piece. As you cut out each segment, place it in a bowl for later. Continue until all the segments are cut out of the orange. Discard the remaining membrane.
  4. Repeat this process with the grapefruit.

  5. Divide the baby greens into 4 salad bowls, and divide the orange and grapefruit segments on top of each. Drizzle with salad dressing and enjoy.
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Barley Salad with Feta and Orange Shallot Vinaigrette

Barley Salad With Feta and Orange Shallot Vinaigrette Served in a Large Bowl

The transition between summer and fall is one of the most fun to play with in the kitchen.

You can still find delicious summer tomatoes and herbs, but hints of fall begin to creep in. Succulently sweet figs, juicy persimmons, freshly picked walnuts, and everyone’s favorite, pumpkin.

So what does the logical cook do?

Throw it all together in a bowl, of course!

Simply follow the formula: grain + nut + cheese + vegetables + vinaigrette.

You can’t go wrong. And it works at any time of year.

This particular weekend, I chose the following:

  • Pearled Barley. It’s relatively quick cooking & doesn’t require a pre-soak, holds it shape & texture well, and absorbs the flavors of whatever vinaigrette you pour over it.
  • Walnuts. California’s first walnut harvest just took place, so, you know, I had to.
  • Feta Cheese. Probably my #1 go-to. I’m sort of obsessed with the mild tang it provides.
  • Cherry Tomatoes. For a juicy pop of freshness in each bite, extra color, and a hint of sweetness.
  • Baby Spinach. Perfect for lightening up a grain-based salad & adding extra nutrients.
  • Orange. Because… I haven’t made an orange vinaigrette in awhile, and it gives the salad a little more of a fall/winter vibe.
  • Shallot. More mild than an onion & perfect for some extra bite without being overpowering.

I love giant salads like these, because they’re just so easy. 

Prep all the individual components (which is pretty easy here- just boil the barley, zest & juice some citrus, quarter some cherry tomatoes, roughly chop baby spinach, and mince a shallot), and toss it all together.

Goes great with some fresh fish (we served it with tuna), grilled shrimp, or any other light protein you enjoy.

Barley Salad With Feta and Homemade Vinaigrette

Barley Salad with Feta and Orange Shallot Vinaigrette
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked pearled barley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 cara cara orange
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning to taste
  • 5 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
Instructions
  1. Place the barley in a large saucepan and fill the pot with water. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until al dente. Drain, place in a large serving bowl, and set aside to cool.
  2. While the barley cools, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the orange zest and juice, lemon juice, shallot, olive oil, and kosher salt and pepper.
  3. When the barley is room temperature, add the spinach, walnuts, feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes to the serving bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the top and toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, and enjoy! Goes great with a high quality piece of seafood.
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California Cobb Salad

California Cobb Salad

California love.

Way back in the day (a la 2009), I took California for granted. I genuinely believed that I could live anywhere in the country, or maybe even the world, and be fine.

HAHAHAHAHA.

Yeah right.

Freshly after graduating college, I jetted off to Pennsylvania, and spent about 2 years living the Steel City of Pittsburgh. While I loved the friends and colleagues I made there, my oh my, did I miss my sunny happy California.

The weather… (pretty much always between a pleasant 65 and 80 degrees w. no humidity or rain), the friendly open minded people, the fashion, the Mexican food, my family. I missed it all.

So this post is in honor of lovely California.

California Cobb Salad with Chicken and Spouts

I present to you, the California Cobb Salad.

What makes this cobb salad so Californian? Let me count the ways…

  1. Grilled chicken. I’m not exaggerating that you can grill year round in California, so I just had to oblige in this salad. (Although I cheated and used a grill pan, hehe).
  2. Avocadooo. Okay, that’s already in cobb salad. But I gave each serving a full HALF of an avocado. Because anything less would be blasphemy.
  3. Sprouts. Californians love their health food. And what screams health more than fresh sprouts on your salad or sandwich?? Nothing, that’s what.
  4. Perfectly hardboiled eggs. Because a trendy Californian wouldn’t be caught dead with an over-done chalky egg yolk (especially not one w. a green ring around it!). Smooth, creamy, and richly dark yellow. These eggs aren’t just an afterthought, they’re a main star of the dish.
  5. Fresh herbs. Since fresh fruits and veggies are available at farmers market year round here in Cali, I had to represent with some fresh oregano stirred into the dressing. Yum yum.

Again, this salad is perfect for serving a crowd. Just place all the ingredients in small bowls, and let everyone assemble their own salad to their pleasing. Enjoy!

California Cobb Salad

California Cobb Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 8 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 avocados, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bacon pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Use tongs to move the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate & let cool.
  2. Next, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with several inches of cold water. Put the pot on the stove & warm over high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot & run under cool water. Place in the fridge to cool completely.
  3. Cover a large cutting board with plastic wrap & place the chicken breasts on them. Cover with a second layer of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to pound the breasts to roughly 1/4 inch thickness. Discard the plastic wrap, drizzle the cutlets with grapeseed oil, then season liberally with kosher salt & ground black pepper.
  4. Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Add the pounded chicken breasts & cook about 4 or 5 minutes on the first side, and just a minute or two on the second side (until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Remove from the grill and let cool.
  5. Next, cut the head of romaine into bite-sized pieces for the salad. Wash the salad pieces well, and spin dry in a salad spinner. Set aside.

  6. Next, prep all the cooked salad ingredients. Crumble the bacon into pieces, slice the hardboiled eggs into rounds, and slice the chicken into thin strips.

  7. Finally, make the salad dressing. Whisk the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, Dijon, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.

  8. Fill each bowl with one quarter of the lettuce, and top with 1/4 of the chicken, 1 sliced egg, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/4 of the bacon, 1/4 of the green onion, 1/4 cup blue cheese, and a handful of sprouts. Drizzle with salad dressing, and enjoy!

Pssst – Here is my favorite easy way to chop lettuce!

Goes great with Herbed Garlic Bread!

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