This is the salad that you’ve been looking for to change things up. When you live in an area that has winter sometimes up to nine months out of the year, the citrus salad is a great way to add variety and deliciousness into your rotation. Citrus fruits can be found (on sale!) throughout the winter and early spring months, and bring a tangy pop to this delicious and simple Whole30 and paleo salad. This recipe is simple, so simple that you can throw it together with little to no thought. If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal, look no further! An added bonus is that this salad is easily made vegan or lighter by omitted the chicken, but can also be a tasty side salad to anything that you’re making for a main dish. I’ve actually served a version of this at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner!
I normally start off most posts about the health benefits of the ingredients, but I doubt that there’s anyone on this site that does not already know that citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C and is a great booster for your immune system. Instead, I figured I might talk a bit more about how to store citrus fruits and greens so that they’re ready when you’re ready.
How to store citrus fruits
Firstly and most importantly: open up that bag of clementines, oranges, grapefruit, etc., and make sure none of the fruit is damaged or already molding. I know this is obvious (or seemingly obvious) to many, but storing molding fruit with good fruit will only make the situation worse. If there appears to be some fruits that have some damage but are not molding yet, you might want to set those aside to use those first. I’ve found that citrus fruits don’t tend to bruise badly, but if they are damaged, it’s usually not an issue if I use them within the next day or two.
Secondly, citrus fruits store for a longgggg time (like, weeks) if you put them in the vegetable drawer in your fridge. The taste of citrus fruits are diminished by storing them in the fridge, but I’ve found that it’s not a big deal to take the citrus out of the fridge the day and putting in on the counter to warm up. I personally enjoy citrus fruit when it’s at room temperature since they are juicier, but if it doesn’t bother you at all to have it cold, go for it!
Just keep an eye on them and check up on your citrus fruits every few days. They tend to get hard and less juicy as time goes on, but usually you can figure that out ahead of time and get ahead of any fruit going bad!
How to store salad greens
I totally am a culprit of buying salad greens with the best intentions, and then finding them all gross and slimy a few days later. I’ve found that it’s well worth my time to take 5 minutes– yes, FIVE minutes – to store greens properly so that they last sometimes WEEKS after buying them.
It’s pretty simple, honestly. Wet a paper towel or two and place them on the bottom of a sealable container. Place your greens on top (I do wash mine first, just because I don’t want to wash them later). Add another wet paper towel on top of your greens and seal the container. That’s it! Store it anywhere in your fridge, although if you have room in your crisper to store the greens, they’ll keep even longer.
Not too difficult, and saves you ton of food waste, and therefore you save money!
How to make citrus salad
You don’t need anything special to make this salad, although if you prefer grilled chicken, you obviously need a way to grill it. I personally use my George Foreman grill since our bigger grill is annoying to warm up and cook on in the winter, but whatever you prefer is up to you! You’re the boss!
Ingredients that I like to put in my citrus salad:
- salad greens (I find that bitter greens work better for this, although spinach or whatever you have on hand is great!)
- oranges (any type – I used Valencia and blood oranges in the photos)
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- chicken breast (omit for vegan option)
- dairy free cheese (omit for Whole30 option – I find that VioLife Foods’ Just like Feta is really tasty!)
Another reason why I love this recipe is because it is so versatile. Not feeling heavy protein today? Leave it out! Looking for something a little more filling? Throw on some pepitas and some diary free cheese! There are endless ways to make this delicious salad.
The instructions are also incredibly simple.
Chop your greens for your salad. Then, prepare your citrus fruit. I normally peel the oranges and the grapefruit and separate out each natural fruit slice. I then chop those into thirds to throw into the salad.
If you are choosing to use grilled chicken, season your chicken breast with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill for about 10-15 minutes before grilling, until it reads about 425°F-450°F. Add your chicken breast to the grill, and grill for about 10 minutes. Make sure to flip them halfway through so they they cook evenly. Depending on how large your chicken breast is, you might need to leave it on for a bit longer. All meat temperatures should internally reach 165°F to be considered safe for consumption. Chop your cooked chicken breast and put on top of your salad.
Top your salad with some pepitas if you wish, and some dairy free cheese (optional). Lastly, pour some olive oil and some balsamic vinegar on your salad and toss it to distribute the dressing. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like – I find that I don’t normally need salt and pepper for this recipe but it’s totally up to you!
Citrus Salad (Whole30, Paleo, Vegan optional)
- Grill (optional)
- 4 cups salad greens I prefer arugula or other bitter greens
- 1 orange
- 1 grapefruit
- 0.5 lb chicken breast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp pepitas
- If grilling chicken breast, preheat your grill for about 10 minutes. It should reach the temperature of about 450°F.
- While grill is heating up, chop your salad greens.
- Peel your orange and grapefruit. Separate each piece of fruit and then chop into thirds, removing any seeds.
- Season your chicken breast with salt and pepper. Place on the grill for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- One chicken is cooked, remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
- Once chicken is cool enough, cut it into slices to top your salad.
- Add your pepitas on top of the salad, along with any vegan cheese you might be adding.
- Add in your olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss the salad to evenly distribute the dressing.
And that’s it! Enjoy this tasty and colorful meal!