This simple and tasty spring greens salad is the perfect side for meals ranging from BBQ to soups to casseroles; blend up this easy vinaigrette and enjoy!
Spring Greens and a Blood Orange Raspberry Vinaigrette
I don’t remember when exactly I started moving towards a healthier lifestyle and began seeking out more healthful recipes, but it was certainly sometime in the latter years of college, as I began realizing I couldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) survive forever solely on popcorn, cereal, and coffee. I began appreciating the increased energy that came with eating better, and as Cory and I ate out occasionally, I started looking for healthier choices and entrees with tasty veggie sides, which is how I stumbled upon the seemingly ubiquitous “dressed greens” side dish that accompanies so many restaurant meals.
Whether served alongside my fave veggie burger from Blanc Burgers (rest in peace, you delicious burger joint; I shall think of you fondly always) or plated with a fancier dinner for some special occasion, I began noticing dressed greens everywhere, and I quickly realized that I adored them. Every restaurant had their own unique twist, adding slivered almonds or shredded carrots or sliced onion, but without a doubt, simplicity and stellar dressings served as the common theme among these delightful little dishes.
Years later and further along my own path of healthier living, I’ve become even more food obsessed, and I relish trying new recipes packed with a brightly colored array of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Though during more hectic weeks, we often forgo side dishes for our meals, opting instead for something more all-inclusive, like this Zoodle & Pesto dish or our Hawaiian Fried Rice, I love adding sides into meal plans along the way. Especially with grilling season right around the corner (you know, provided Mother Nature decides to stop sending us snow in freaking April), we’ll be fixing up plenty of delicious sides.
This simple spring greens side dish keeps the work to a minimum and allows the blood orange and raspberry vinaigrette to steal the spotlight. These easy greens make a perfect pairing for spring and summer dishes and are so simple to throw together for a last minute gathering or on a blazing hot grilling day when you don’t want to heat your home with oven and stove to make a heftier side, like these Roasted Beets with Candied Pecans and Chevre.
Whip up a batch of dressing on Monday, and serve these tasty spring greens alongside your meals for the entire week, if you’d like, to up your leafy greens intake without much effort—sometimes we want healthy eating without much work, after all! The thin sliced red onion really adds to this dish, lending the perfect bite to balance the sweetness of the dressing. Never one to dirty extra dishes or cutting boards if not necessary, I always reach for our handheld Kyocera Mandoline for super thin sliced veggies like these.
You’ve heard me gush over my Kyocera Ceramic Knives before, in our Apples with the Perfect Peanut Butter Honey Dip post, where we discussed the benefits of cutting apples with ceramic knives to drastically minimize browning, and this Kyocera mandoline gets no less love from me. Seriously, the fact that I have an adjustable, small, handheld mandoline that stays sharp and takes no assembly (who wants to set up a bulky piece of equipment just to slice an onion?) or counter space is a big deal in our tiny kitchen (and with my lazy self).
As with all ceramic items, take care not to drop things on the mandoline or toss it around or roughly shove it in a drawer, but with proper care and storage, this should last quite some time! We’ve been using ours regularly for probably three years now, and it’s still sharp and fantastic. Even better, the price point is reasonable. Follow the link(s) above to order your own, or check it out in our featured Amazon products below. I know, some of you are thinking, “Why not just use a knife, Joelle?” You absolutely can, of course, but I can never seem to get the slices as thin cutting that way, and then I have to wash the cutting board AND a knife… and I’m lazy… (Who am I kidding, Cory washes dishes 90% of the time, not me… I’m just keeping his workload to a minimum then, right?. Yeah, that’s totally it.)
As for the dressing, you can use either a simple Immersion Blender or a high speed blender, like a Blendtec or Vitamix. If you’ve been around the site a bit, you know how much I love my Vitamix for smoothies (oh so many smoothies… Mayan Mocha, Mango Pina Colada, Pineapple Berry, Apple Pie, the list goes on and on!) because it blends everything so smoothly—even trixy things like raspberry seeds—that less powerful blenders tend not to pulverize as well. However, I actually use an immersion blender for this dressing, since our Vitamix container is very wide at the base, and we have to make larger quantities to ensure whatever we blend fully covers the blades (Yeah, I know, we just need to buy the smaller container… it’s on the list, I promise!). Either appliance will serve you well here, though!
Since I tend to dislike oily dressings (they make my lips feel slick and gross and weird… Was that a bit of an overshare? Oops) or overly vinagery ones, this dressing has relatively little of either—just enough to complement the fruits and make it feel and taste like a salad dressing and not a smoothie. If you’ve never had a blood orange before, grab a couple extra to eat on their own! They still have the citrus flavor of navel or cara cara oranges but taste sweeter and a little more mellow to me. Their flesh ranges in color from light orange to dark purples, and I love using darker ones in this dressing. I do recommend removing as much of the pith as possible (there seems to be more on blood oranges) before blending. Fresh or frozen raspberries work great in this recipe; if using frozen, just make sure your immersion or other blender can handle them, or let them thaw a couple minutes.
That’s it, though: blend a few ingredients, hand slice or mandoline some red onion, and toss it all together with one of those packages of pre-washed mixed spring greens, and you’ve got yourself a tasty, easy side that is both healthy and delicious. Ah, simple, healthful eating at its finest. For more super easy, healthy sides that takes very little effort, check out our Chilled Peach Soup and Cory’s Mango Jalapeno Salsa. Both make perfect spring and summer sides, are very popular at BBQs or cookouts, taste absolutely delicious, and take so very little work!
Make this simple dressed greens recipe-an easy, healthy vegetarian side dish. Mixed spring greens like spinach (or add kale!) make a quick way to eat leafy green vegetables! With homemade, healthy Blood Orange Raspberry Vinaigrette (simple, sweet, creamy dressing made with fruit, olive oil, balsamic vinegar), this low carb cold veggie side is perfect for BBQs, for holidays, for sandwiches, for chicken, for steak, for a cookout, for summer dinners. Vegan, Paleo, Whole 30, Gluten Free, Make Ahead!
- 1 Blood orange, pith removed
- ½ C raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¼ C Olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
- Pinch of sea salt (a scant ⅛ tsp)
- Mixed Spring Greens ( 5 oz. or so)
- ½ Small Red Onion, sliced thin
- Blend dressing ingredients with immersion blender.
- Toss greens with desired amount of dressing.
- Top with thin sliced red onion.
- Feel free to adjust quantities of greens and onion to suit your needs, depending on how much dressing you like and how many days/servings you want out of the salad.
Do you have a favorite super simple side or a favorite way to make dressed greens? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to subscribe to get healthy recipes and awesome DIYs delivered straight to your inbox! We’ll send you a great freebie for subscribing!
**EDIT: We loved this dressing so much we also created a hearty salad, based on this side, topped with blood oranges, blueberries, onion, and quick glazed almonds—perfect for a summer lunch! Check out our Citrus Berry Spring Salad with Blood Orange Raspberry Vinaigrette!**