Moroccan citrus salad of oranges and kalamata olives dressed in a spicy vinaigrette. Add peppery arugula and quinoa for a vegetarian main dish.
Citrus is at its peak right now, and brightening hearty winter salads is one of the best ways to use it. Like this Moroccan Citrus Salad that I love to make all winter, or this Sumo Citrus Salad with Cauliflower, Olives and Feta. As note: This recipe was originally posted in January 2012, and updated January 2020.
Why Use Citrus Now
Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes are the most common. But, in winter, they’re joined by so many friends. Look for mandarin oranges, tangerines, tangelos, sumo, satsuma and Buddha’s hand. Pomelo, closely related to the grapefruit, is considered the largest citrus. It offers a sweet, mild grapefruit flavor. Kumquats are unusual in that their rind is sweet, while the pulp is sour (although some kumquat strains boast a sweeter pulp).
At their peak, citrus is at its sweetest, juiciest, and most flavorful. Many citrus can taste more sour, bitter or bland when harvested at other times of the year than now.
We all know citrus is loaded with vitamin C, and may shorten a cold. But they’re also loaded with potassium, provide fiber, and are heart healthy. For bonus points: citrus, when added to nutritious greens, makes the green’s nutrition more bioavailable. So, next time you’re choosing some kale, swiss chard, or collards, think about adding citrus to the mix.
- The oranges can be any seedless variety, such as navel, blood oranges, sumo mandarins, satsuma or tangerines.
- The peppery flavor of arugula is a great foil for citrus and quinoa, but the arugula can be combined with other greens. Good examples are spinach, which I used, baby kale or baby Swiss chard.
Make This Moroccan Citrus Salad in Less Than 15 Minutes
Make the vinaigrette ahead of time, and either cook raw quinoa ahead or use frozen quinoa. I almost always use frozen cooked quinoa and steam it in a little orange juice for extra flavor.
Kick Up the Flavor
If you want to kick up the flavor even more:
- Toss 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves with the greens.
- Cook the quinoa with orange juice and stir in the zest of 1 lime when it’s cooked.
Tips for the Omnivores
Sauté some shrimp dusted with paprika, salt and pepper.
If you want to move to a more vegetarian diet, but not sure the best steps to take, join the Monthly Vegetarian Meals Challenge. Each month I’ll post some tips – great plant protein sources, must-haves for the vegetarian pantry, ways to build flavor, and more. Additionally, we tackle 1 – 3 seasonal recipes tied to the theme that month. Subscribe to Monthly Vegetarian Meals Challenge.
Moroccan Citrus Salad with Quinoa
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 large oranges, see notes
- 4 cups arugula or other greens, see notes
- 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 20 kalamata olives, halved
- Cook up the quinoa, if you don't have any on hand and you're cooking it from seed. TIP: I typically either have cooked quinoa on hand or a bag of store-bought frozen quinoa in the freezer for a big time saver.
- While the quinoa cooks, make the Moroccan Vinaigrette. Whisk together the sherry wine vinegar, orange juice and spices until spices and salt are dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.
- Slice off the top and bottom of the oranges. Set them on their flat bottoms, and carefully slice away the peel and pith, leaving the fruit completely intact. Slice the whole, peeled, oranges horizontally in 1/4" slices or bite-sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine the arugula and other greens you're using with the cooked quinoa, olives, shallot, mint leaves and lime zest. Add the orange slices and drizzle 1/2 the dressing over the mixture. Toss and add remaining dressing as desired.
- Heap on a plate and top with the optional feta cheese, if using.
- Make this dish in 15 minutes by making the vinaigrette and quinoa in advance. I almost always have either a jar of quinoa already cooked tucked into the refrigerator, or a package of store-bought frozen quinoa in the freezer.
- Any seedless orange works great in this salad. I recommend navel oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, sumo mandarins, or satsuma.
- The peppery flavor of arugula is a winning combination with the quinoa and oranges, but can be combined with other greens, such as baby spinach, baby kale, or baby Swiss chard.
- Kick up the flavor even further:
- Cook the quinoa in orange juice, and a pinch each of salt and paprika.
- Stir the zest of 1 lime into the quinoa when it's cooked.
- Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves to the greens