It’s still way too cold outside! The days are getting longer, though, and juicy, in-season citrus is brightening up my days. Spring will surely come soon. Right?
For now, we can enjoy this cheerful avocado and blood orange salad. You could call it a wintertime version of my favorite avocado salad. It’s bold and bright, and almost looks more like abstract art than food. That is, until you take a bite, and fall in love.
This salad requires some careful slicing and attention to detail. As long as you’re not in a hurry, it’s a really fun dinnertime project and would make a statement at a party.
This salad comes from a relatively new cookbook called Dining In by Alison Roman, which I’ve been reaching for a lot lately when I need a burst of inspiration. I don’t know Alison, but I think she’s cool. She works for The New York Times and Bon Appetit; she’s from California but lives in New York. She’s way cooler than I will ever be.
I really enjoyed her kale salad made with roasted and raw kale, and I can’t wait until summer to try more of the fruit salads in her sweet-and-savory fruit salads chapter (!). I loved her citrus and avocado salad so much that I wanted to share it with you, with some ideas to change it up.
Great produce is key. You can’t make a great blood orange and avocado salad without great citrus and perfectly ripe avocado!
Use your best judgment. Produce size varies quite a bit, so you might want to use two small avocados if you can’t find one large, or throw in an extra orange if your oranges are small. Add as much onion as seems right, but don’t overdo it.
Choose your seeds. Alison’s first suggestion is nigella seeds, which I don’t keep on hand. Maybe I should. Black sesame seeds are great, too, if you can find them (they are more intensely flavored than regular white). She also offers poppy seeds as a suggestion, so I tried them when I made this salad, but I didn’t like those as much. Pepitas are also good!
Salad Preparation Tips
To slice your onion: You’ll want to do this first so the onion can soak in ice-cold water while your work on the rest (this mellows the onion flavor and makes the slices nice and crisp). Cut off the paper end of the onion and peel off the papery skin. Firmly hold the onion against the cutting board so the center runs parallel to the cutting board, and use a sharp knife to slice straight down. You’ll want your onion rounds to be as thin as possible.
To slice your oranges: First, peel off the skin and pull off any big clumps of pith. Carefully hold the orange on its side, with the center running parallel to the cutting board, and use a sharp knife to cut the orange into 1/4-inch thick rounds. If your citrus is very ripe, the rounds may fall apart, but that’s ok!
To slice your avocados: Cut the avocados in half from stem end to base, and carefully remove the pits. Then cut the halves in half again to make long quarters. Peel the avocado skin off of each quarter and carefully slice it into long, 1/4-inch thick strips.
Change it Up
Choose another type of citrus. Any orange will work. Cara caras are particularly good. Ruby red grapefruit might even be nice.
Add sumac and/or Aleppo pepper flakes. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice that is sour and citrusy, so it emphasizes the citrus flavor. (Maybe you have had it on hummus before.) Aleppo pepper flakes are more mild red pepper flakes that offer some nice flavor as well as heat.
For a Mexican variation, substitute toasted pepitas for the sesame seeds, and add a small jalapeño. Slice your jalapeño very thin, and shake out the seeds (they’re the hottest part).
Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you in the comments! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Looking to get your fill of winter citrus? Here are a few more of my favorite citrus recipes:
- Blood Orange, Fennel and Avocado Salad with Lemon Citronette
- Clementine Sunshine Smoothie
- Blood Orange Curd, Meyer Lemon Curd and Honey Lemon Curd
- Citrus Olive Oil Cake
Blood Orange & Avocado Salad
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Californian
This beautiful blood orange and avocado salad brightens up dreary winter days! It’s loaded with delicious fresh, seasonal flavors and makes a statement on the dinner table. Recipe yields 4 servings.
- ¼th small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 4 blood oranges (or regular oranges), peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 large or 2 small-to-medium ripe avocados, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
- Flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon nigella seed, black sesame seeds* or pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fill a medium-sized bowl with ice and water, and soak the onions for 10 to 20 minutes. This step makes the onions crisp and softens their flavor intensity.
- Meanwhile, on a large serving plate, layer the orange and avocado slices.
- Drain the onion well and tuck pieces in between and on top of the orange and avocado. Drizzle the salad with the lime juice and sprinkle generously with salt.
- Sprinkle the seeds and cilantro on top, then drizzle the olive oil all over it. Serve promptly.
Recipe adapted just a little from Dining In by Alison Roman.
*Where to buy: You might be able to find black sesame seeds next to the Asian ingredients in well-stocked grocery stores.
On leftovers: Given the fresh avocado component of this salad, it’s really best served immediately. It might keep for a day in the fridge if you gently toss it so that the avocado is coated in citrus juice.