This is the time of year we are in need of a little cleanse, and nature's seasonal ingredients lend themselves perfectly to that need. Simple, healthy and beautiful; you will get up from the dinner table feeling like a million bucks and craving more after indulging in this light and balanced salad.
This citrus, beet and avocado salad recipe is just a guide. Get creative and add and remove ingredients depending on what you find at the farmer's market.
Let's talk about these winter ingredients.
There are so many types of citrus this time of year. Some of them (like blood oranges) are available all year, but the Cara Cara Oranges are only available this season. The Cara Cara oranges are
probably my favorite orange. I just can't stop eating them. From the outside, they look like ordinary oranges. From the inside they have a deep pink color that looks really similar to a Grapefruit and are super bright in flavor. You can read more about Cara Cara Oranges over at Specialty Produce.
While beets are available all year; they are at their peak of their season in winter months. Because of their beauty when sliced, I like to get a variety of colors for presentation.
How to cook beets
There are a lot of ways you can cook beets; including roasting, steaming and boiling. I will often cook them in a steamer, which takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on their size. Either way you choose, they should be cooked with the skin on until they can easily be pierced with a paring knife.
After the beets are cooked, place them on a plastic cutting board to cool enough to handle. Slice both ends off and use paper towels to peel the skin off. Since red beets can stain, you can wear rubber gloves to prevent your hands from turning color, and the plastic cutting board will make cleanup easier.
As much as I love California Avocados, they are only in season from February through October. Before California avocados arrive, we usually get our avocados from Mexico or Chile, which are still great. Not only does the color of the avocado add so much to this salad, but the the creaminess is a wonderful contrast against the bright citrus.
The vinaigrette consists of lemon and lime juice, zest, shallots, honey for some balance, dijon mustard and good quality extra virgin olive oil. You could totally mix in some juice from the oranges, which would also be great. There might be a little extra vinaigrette than needed, but it can be saved to use on your next salad or would be great to top seafood.
I like to add a little crunch to any salad and I happen to have some roasted hazelnuts, which have a great nutty flavor that pairs nicely with citrus and avocados. Any kind of nuts like walnuts, pecans or pistachios would also be great. I also shaved a little Parmigiano-Reggiano on top at the very end.
Once the vinaigrette is made and all your ingredients are prepped; you can simply toss everything in a bowl, or you layer the sliced citrus, beets and avocado on a plate and add the other toppings. No rules, just be creative. It will taste wonderful with great ingredients.
- 1 Blood Orange peeled and sliced
- 1 Cara Cara Orange peeled and sliced
- 1 Cooked Red Beet peeled and sliced
- 1 Cooked Golden Beet peeled and sliced
- 1 Avocado sliced
- ¼ cup Toasted Hazelnuts
- 1 Shallot sliced thin, divided
- 1 tablespoon Meyer Lemon Juice
- 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
- Zest from the lemon and limes
- 1 teaspoon Chopped Shallot
- 1 teaspoon Honey
- ½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 3 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To make the vinaigrette
- In a medium bowl; whisk together the lemon juice, lime juice, zest, chopped shallot, honey, dijon and a little salt & pepper. Let this sit while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Just before serving; whisk in the olive oil to finish the vinaigrette dressing for the salad.
- Taste and adjust to your preference. Add more honey and olive oil if the vinaigrette is too acidic. Add more lemon and lime juice if it isn't bright enough.
To plate the salad
- Layer the various sliced citrus with the beets and avocados. Drizzle on the vinaigrette and top with the toasted hazelnuts and sliced shallot.