Citrus Berry Spring Salad with Blood Orange Raspberry Vinaigrette
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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adore spring and early summer weather—when it’s nice enough to sit outside with the cats on the deck, luxuriating in the warmth and sunshine for hours, but not so warm that the heat and humidity feel oppressive and overwhelming. For whatever reason (perhaps just epic lack of vitamin D or my hatred of being cold), I always feel infinitely better/more positive and seem to stay more productive during warmer months, when the sunlight lingers longer and the day seems to last. Unlike many people, I truly don’t mind day after day in 70 or 80 degree weather; I loathe the cold (I would be perfectly content with about 2 weeks of winter each year—all the other seasons and I get along just fine), and as a result, I find myself eating lots of soup and warm dishes throughout the dreary winter months.
Now that the weather has turned gorgeous, I’m ready for easy meals that don’t heat up the house, especially delicious, filling salads, packed with fresh fruits and veggies and tasty nuts or seeds. I used to think eating salads all the time would become incredibly boring and repetitive, but as with many things, you can easily inject variety into your salad routine with fun new combinations of ingredients and different dressings!
This particular recipe evolved out of our earlier Dressed Greens with Blood Orange Raspberry Vinaigrette recipe, which makes for a fantastic super simple side (and a crazy easy way to add plenty of leafy greens to your diet). While the side dish was delicious, I wanted to adapt it into something heartier and jam-packed with tasty, healthy toppings; besides, I had to make something else with this dressing, since I loved it enough to be eating it by the spoonful!
If you’re unfamiliar with blood oranges, fear not; they’re absolutely incredible, and you simply must try one! Though slightly similar to navel oranges in exterior appearance (minus the characteristic “navel” part), blood oranges have a noticeably sweeter flavor, with an almost strawberry or raspberry like quality and a more subdued acidic note. Blood oranges also have very distinct flesh, varying in color from reddish orange to deep, rich purple; supposedly blood oranges also contain a greater percentage of Vitamin C and antioxidants than their cousins. Bonus! Of course, if you can’t find any blood oranges, grab another variety (or tangerines) instead!
In addition to loading those leafy spring greens up with blood orange bites, we toss in a generous smattering of ripe blueberries and thin slivers of red onion to provide a nice bite and another texture. While you can certainly just slice the onion by hand, I definitely prefer to use our Kyocera Ceramic Mandoline; I find using the mandoline gives thinner, more even slices and takes less time—always a plus.
For the sticky glazed almonds, you only need a few simple ingredients and less than ten minutes to make these delightfully gooey and wonderful little treats. If you’ve been around the blog before, you may have noticed that we tend to use maple syrup, dates, or honey for sweeteners, but for this particular recipe, I chose Coconut Sugar, which we employ on occasion as well. It has a flavor somewhat comparable to dark brown sugar or light molasses.
I know everyone has strongly held opinions regarding sugar and sweeteners, and while I personally tend towards natural sweeteners for greater nutritional density instead of dropping out sugar or sweeteners entirely, I know some people prefer to abstain from sugar all together or don’t mind any form of sugar provided it’s consumed in moderation. It’s all about what works for you on your personal quest towards feeling better, healthier, and more energetic, right? If you’re totally avoiding sugar, just toss the almonds on there raw; it’ll still be delicious! If you’ve got brown sugar instead of coconut—totally fine: you’re not using much, and the resulting flavors will be similar. I definitely agree that many of us (myself included) could do with less sugar in our diets, but it’s a journey, unique for each of us, and for me it’s about progress, not perfection.
Anywho, I love these almonds and couldn’t help but snack on them as we prepped the salad, but I definitely think they’re best as a salad topping due to their slightly sticky nature! In addition to tasting fantastic, they give the salad some oopmh and staying power, so you feel more satisfied and fuller longer. If almonds don’t excite you, I think pecans would make a great substitute, or try pepitas or sunflower seeds if you need/want to avoid nuts. You may have to experiment with the glazing process and ingredient ratios for the seeds, but you can make it work; trying new things is half the fun, right? If you want another recipe with tasty glazed nuts, check out our Roasted Beets with Chevre, Mint, and Quick Candied Pecans for a simple but hearty side!
Lastly, the dressing: this blood orange and raspberry vinaigrette tastes so ridiculously satisfying that I literally sat over my immersion blender eating it with a spoon. The fruits combine beautifully, and we add just enough olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to make it truly feel like a dressing instead of a smoothie. You can definitely ramp up those ingredients if you like, but I personally don’t enjoy oiler dressings; I always feel like I end up with greasy lips… TMI? Sorry. While I normally use our Vitamix for all things blended, we don’t have a small enough container for little quantities, like dressings and sauces. Instead, I reach for our Immersion Blender, which works perfectly for little jobs such as this! You could use a Mini Food Prep as well, though it may not turn out quite as smooth.
And that’s it! Yeah, I know, I wrote a lot; it probably sounded like more work than it actually is, lol. Seriously, I bet you can have the nuts glazed, the dressing made, the fruits/veggies prepped, and all of it tossed together all in about 15-20 minutes, quite possibly even less than that! It’s seriously delicious and works great as a make-ahead salad too; just be prepared to shake up the dressing or stir it back together the next day. Delicious. Healthy. Simple. That’s a win in my book!
Make sure you’re prepared with these great products!
- 1lb Mixed Spring Greens
- 2 Pint Blueberries
- 2-3 Blood Oranges, peeled and pith removed, sliced into thirds
- ¼ of a Small red onion, sliced thin on a mandolin
- 1 Cup almonds
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 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)
- Dissolve sugar, vinegar, salt into water over medium heat.
- Add almonds, stirring regularly until mixture coats and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat
- Continue stirring as they become sticky and glazed. Cool on plate.
- Blend ingredients with immersion blender.
- Yields about 1 ¼ C (300 mL)
- Assemble ingredients in bowl.
- Top with Quick Glazed Almonds.
- Dress with Blood Orange Vinaigrette.
- If you don't have blood oranges, choose another sweet orange or tangerine variety!
*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of our links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Our Sweetly Spiced Life!