Winter’s Bliss Citrus Salad

January 24, 2017
Winter's Citrus Bliss Salad - A dramatically bold, bright, colorful and fresh salad, filled with winter greens and sweet-tangy citrus

“I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times.”   ~ Nora Ephron

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Not long ago, my third grandson was born, and thus began something wonderful and unexpected.  A daily conversation of sorts with my daughter

“Morning Sweetie; What do you get to do in your day today?”

“Good question; we’re still figuring out a routine.  It’s so different now, having two.”

(How I remember)

— — —

One of the most insightful pieces of parenting (and life) advice I ever received came on a summer day, sitting on the porch swing of a grandmotherly neighbor.  Her slippered foot kept us in motion, while we nibbled on animal cookies chased with tall glasses of lemonade

I’d been up nearly all night with Calculus problems and a colicky baby.  There appeared to be no end in sight (for either homework or the longing for a nap)  

I’ve thought of that moment during nearly every stage of my life.  How we come to rely on lots of little tricks and built-in rules, that we tuck away in our back pockets; to use day after day after day.  Until one day

we don’t

Winter's Citrus Bliss Salad - A dramatically bold, bright, colorful and fresh salad, filled with winter greens and sweet-tangy citrus

The shelf life of routine and normalcy?  Maybe a few weeks?  Max?

We drive the crying baby from one end of town to the next.  We listen to Tom Snyder on the radio and pray she won’t wake up when the engine shuts off.  Until we don’t

We chronicle our nights by the stars in the sky.  Standing in the backyard with two little puppies waiting for them to do .. anything.  Until we don’t

We push the stroller to the park, loaded down with snacks and apple juice, blankets, wet wipes, and toys.  Until we don’t

We attempt a walk around the neighborhood. “Come on, you two, playtime when we get home.”  A half-an-hour later we’re wrapped up like mummies in a tangly mess of leashes.  Distance traveled?  Less than a block.  Until we don’t

We make a grocery run for ingredients to make buttery parmesan noodles for dinner, again (and again and again).  Until we don’t

We wash the mud out of their fur, turn the knob to “Sanitize” and start another load of towels and blankets.  Until we don’t

We can’t believe she has a little one of her own now.  How I look forward to afternoons hanging out with him until they move away.  Until we don’t

We marvel at their seven-month-old numbers on the scale: Harry = 84 and Sally = 71 pounds.  How we’re scooched all the way over to the edges of the bed because Harry likes to sleep in the middle.  How Sally looks at me, just waiting to see what I’m going to tell her next

Winter's Citrus Bliss Salad - A dramatically bold, bright, colorful and fresh salad, filled with winter greens and sweet-tangy citrus

Because nearly as soon as it starts, we figure out the game.  Everything changes, and it’s hard to remember our tricks ever existed. That we’d ever mastered the art of baby-calming, toddler playing, and fluffy puppy loving

A few of the rules we’re living by lately?  The one that says Lamb Chop can’t be buried in the backyard.  The sit-for-pets rule.  The don’t chew on mom’s stick shift rule.  The snuggle as much as you can rule.  The FaceTime with grandma whenever you want rule.

Even as I write them down, I sense them shifting.

We go to puppy class and I (hope) that in a few short weeks, we’ll be loose-leash walking like champs.  I listen to my grandson and realize he’s on the verge of preschool.  Not to mention navigating his days with a little brother on his heels and all the new tricks

surrounding each

— — —

And because new challenges are always fun; the rule that says for the next ten weeks we’re going to step it up when it comes to eating well and moving more.

Yesterday marked the start of Live Healthy Iowa’s 10 Week Wellness Challenge.  I’m excited to have been invited to be part of a group of Iowa Bloggers.  We’re teaming up, to not only participate, but write about it as well.

( … much more to come .. )

Winter's Citrus Bliss Salad - A dramatically bold, bright, colorful and fresh salad, filled with winter greens and sweet-tangy citrus

January in Iowa this year has been a million shades of grey.

On a mission to chase away the winter blues, I found myself wandering through the co-op this weekend, in search of all things colorful and happy.  (Among my many treasures), I came home with a bag brimming with oranges that have been brightening up our meals ever since

This isn’t really a salad you can just throw together, there’s a bit of prep, but enough that you’ll want to plan ahead.

On the orange front, this salad begs a bit of drama.  Therefore, I’d recommend keeping an eye out for smaller blood oranges with their pretty blush on the skin.  They also seem sweeter and juicer to me.  Cara Caras have persimmon-colored flesh and look great alongside regular navels.  It’s hard to go wrong

The vinaigrette is amazing, adding to the salad’s already bright, citrusy flavor.

Food for thought: I bet this salad would also be great without the greens, or even with just a bit of greens as a side dish.  It also looks beautiful, colorful, and impressive on any dinner table.  It would make a great addition to a winter buffet



ps:  I’m participating as part of the  Iowa Food and Family Project‘s blogger team in this year’s annual Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Challenge. More stories from the Challenge can be found here 

— —

~ Adapted from Fine Cooking

Winter's Bliss Citrus Salad


  • 4 oranges (3 for the salad and 1 for zesting and juicing)

  • Orange-Rosemary Vinaigrette
  • 1 ½ tsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 2 Tbsp white wine (or Champagne vinegar)
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • ¾ tsp fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • Salad
  • fine grain sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 7-8 cups mixed greens
  • 1 large ripe pear, quartered, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
  • 4 - 6 Medjool dates, each pitted and cut into 4 or 5 pieces
  • cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces (** for a vegan version of this recipe, omit the cheese or substitute a vegan equivalent)
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted optional but tasty
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling


  • Orange-Rosemary Vinaigrette
  • In a small bowl, add all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, and whisk to combine
  • Continue whisking as the olive oil is added in a steady stream.
  • Season to taste with fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Salad
  • Cut the peel away from the remaining two oranges in strips, removing all of the white pith, but not too much of the flesh.
  • Slice the oranges crosswise no more than 1/4 inch thick, removing and discarding any seeds as you go.
  • Pile the mixed greens in the center of a platter, or divide among serving plates.
  • Top with the orange slices, pear, dates, onion, and mozzarella, and then sprinkle with the pine nuts, a grind or two of black pepper, and a pinch of flaky sea salt.
  • Whisk the vinaigrette, spoon some over the salad, and pass the rest at the table
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 288
Total Fat 15.2g
Saturated Fat 3.9g
Carbohydrates 33.8g
Fiber 6.4g
Sugars 25.3g
Protein 7.7g
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  • Reply Sarah Althouse January 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Wowzers this looks pretty and delicious!

  • Reply Ana January 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    This literally looks like bliss and I like how it has so many antioxidants which is great for your immune system!!

  • Reply Kimberly January 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    This salad looks amazing!! The colors are so bright and vibrant. Would love to make it.

  • Reply Amer January 24, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Oh wow! That looks amazing. I’m definitely making this tomorrow. I love all the colors and looks delicious too.

  • Reply Heydave January 24, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    5 stars
    Easily one of the best salads ever.

  • Reply Elizabeth O. January 24, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Time moves faster than we thought when we have little ones running about the house. Sometimes, it is tough to keep up while there are times when you just want it to move faster. I think this salad is lovely and enticing, I definitely love the colors.

  • Reply Ana January 24, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    5 stars
    This salad is so colorful and adds a special charm to the winter weather! I do have a few oranges left in the refrigerator and will try it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply Carrie January 25, 2017 at 2:18 am

    This salad looks amazing! I love all the colors and how vibrant they look! I love eating salads no matter the time of the year. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my arsenal.

  • Reply Eugenia January 25, 2017 at 7:48 am

    This citrus salad looks really amazing! Love the healthy ingredients that are also good for any diet! Thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply Marsha January 25, 2017 at 8:45 am

    This is soooo beautiful, healthy and tasty I presume….. I had to pin it! The photos are outstanding! 🙂

  • Reply Rachel January 25, 2017 at 10:48 am

    This salad looks amazing! Your photos are beautiful! I’m definitely going to try this salad soon. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Mary January 25, 2017 at 11:33 am

    This looks delicious! You really got the color of the oranges to pop out. It looks beautiful.

  • Reply Jolina January 25, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Oh don’t get me started on winter blues. We haven’t seen the sun in a week! Citrus is really one of the few things I love about the season and this salad is perfect! So bright and un-blue 🙂

  • Reply Aarika January 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    5 stars
    This salad looks stunning! I love the addition of dates. What a great idea! This salad is definitely going on my list of salads to make this Winter. Thanks!

  • Reply Ali January 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    5 stars
    What a beautiful salad! I love citrus in my salads – especially this time of year, as it helps me not go over the edge, longing for spring. What fun that Iowa bloggers are getting together to do this – I wonder if I could get my Oregon and Washington blogging peeps to do the same – it sounds like fun!

  • Reply Catalina January 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    5 stars
    Where have I been? I never tried citrus in my salads. Can`t wait to give it a try !!

  • Reply Daisy January 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    5 stars
    Omg that Cookie Monster photo is adorbs! Your food photography is on point and this salad is perfect for cheering up the winter blues (and getting some much-needed vitamin C in!).

  • Reply Surekha January 26, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I love good-looking salads, haha! This looks super yum! love all the oranges you put it there. Great pictures

  • Reply chichi January 26, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    its so beautiful, perfect to brighten any day! and looks so yummmmm too!

  • Reply Michelle January 27, 2017 at 8:00 am

    5 stars
    What a beautiful salad!! 🙂 I’m looking forward to completing the January challenge with you.

    • Reply sexyveggie January 27, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Michelle! Ahhh .. thank-you .. you’re awesome.

      Likewise about the challenge .. go Iowa Food Bloggers! ??????

  • Reply Hannah January 28, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    I love the idea of the citrus flavor mixed with the pine nuts and all. Sounds so good!

  • Reply Mary February 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Looks fabulous!

  • Reply Dipti May 3, 2017 at 4:03 am

    The salad looks super fresh and i must say the pictures are giving me a feeling to make and have it almost immediately..This will go so well with the season. Perfect!

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