This Blood Orange Citrus Salad with Homemade Orange Vinaigrette is ridiculously gorgeous, and tastes as good as it looks!
This has become my FAVORITE new salad. And that means something from this meat and sweets obsessed girl!
Slices of vibrant blood orange full of berry flavor, crunchy, candied pecans, spicy red onion, creamy blue cheese crumbles on a bed of baby field greens with a drizzle of bright, homemade vinaigrette full of orange flavor makes for the ultimate citrus season salad!
The inspiration for this salad is two parts. First, I’m in LOVE with blood oranges. I think the kids and I have been through about about the 10 bags of them since January. You can taste them in action in my Sticky Asian Blood Orange Chicken and see the collection I put together featuring them here.
Second, a birthday party. We celebrated by my son Adam’s 11th birthday with about 25 family and friends this past weekend. His party food requests were pineapple bratwursts (don’t knock ’em till you try ’em!) and homemade macaroni and cheese. Well, admitted food snob that I am, decided this menu was not up to her gourmet standards, plus all the weight conciseness ladies in attendance would want something green.
So, this Blood Orange Citrus Salad with Orange Vinaigrette was created. And it was so stinking delicious, I had to make it again the next night.
How to make Blood Orange Citrus Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
The salad and homemade vinaigrette is quick and easy to put together. Start by making the vinaigrette so it has a chance to marinate before serving.
What is a vinaigrette?
A Vinaigrette is made by mixing an oil with something acidic such as vinegar or lemon juice. The mixture can be enhanced with salt, herbs and/or spices. It is used most commonly as a salad dressing, but can also be used as a marinade. Traditionally, a vinaigrette consists of 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar.
We will use less olive oil in our vinaigrette and blood orange juice with a little balsamic vinegar for the acid.
Make the vinaigrette by juicing a couple blood oranges. Add olive oil, a small amount of balsamic vinegar, a minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, and a touch of dijon mustard and a pinch of sugar. Whisk it all together and let it hang out until you are ready to serve your salad.
The salad consists of baby lettuces or field greens layered with slices of blood oranges, slivers of red onion, blue cheese crumbles, and candied pecans, all topped with your homemade vinaigrette.
How to make Candied Pecans
Candied pecans are as easy as 2 simple ingredients. Sugar and pecans.
Place a small skillet or small sauce pan on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of regular granulated sugar in the bottom and let it sit. Wait until you see the sugar granules melt and begin to turn caramel color. Add the pecans, stir to coat, and almost immediately turn them on to a piece of foil sprayed with no-stick spray to cool. Cooking the pecans too long will cause them to burn, but a very short period of time will toast them slightly.
Warning: these pecans are ridiculously delicious, so making a few extra for snitching fingers is not a bad idea.
How to peal an orange for this salad
Cut a slice off the top and bottom of the orange and set it flat on the cutting board. Slice downward from the top of the orange to the bottom, trying to just remove the peel and the white skin, while leaving as much of the flesh intact. Continue to slice the peel in strips around the orange and then lay it on it’s side and cut into slices.
Build your salad in individual bowls, plates, or a large serving container and either toss with the dressing or serve it along side. Garnish with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
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Blood Orange Citrus Salad with Homemade Orange Vinaigrette
- 6 ounces mixed baby lettuce or spring mix
- 3 blood oranges, peeled and sliced
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 red onion, thinnly sliced
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup blood orange juice about 2 oranges juiced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 clove garlic, finley minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper fresh ground
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or a salad dressing shaker and whisk or shake to combine. Let the dressing marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Place a small skillet or small sauce pan on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of regular granulated sugar in the bottom and let it sit. Wait until you see the sugar granules melt and begin to turn caramel color. See photos above recipe.
- Add the pecans, stir to coat, and almost immediately turn them on to a piece of foil sprayed with no-stick spray. The pecans can usually cook no longer then about a minute before they will burn.
- Cool the pecans for 5-10 minutes to harden and then break into pieces.
- Layer the orange slices, red onion, pecans, and blue cheese crumbles over the lettuce mixture and toss or drizzle with dressing. Garnish with salt and pepper if desired.