What makes a beautiful bright salad is the freshness of your produce! I recently made this spring citrus salad with lavender vinaigrette as a side at my dinner party. I garnished it with winter citrus and sprouts from the farmer’s market. When blood oranges are in season, take note, and use them in everything! The colors and textures in this salad are beautiful, and the lavender vinaigrette adds a lovely flavor to the crunch.
Think complementary colors, meaning, anything that complements green, are shades of red! It’s very pleasing to the eye, especially in one of those beautiful big wooden walnut bowls. I’m still hunting for the perfect one.
I like to limit the types of salad greens to at least three types. Some lettuce is a bit more bitter, like raddichio, and kale is just plain chewy. I love a good spring mix in that five dollar plastic box from Whole Foods. There’s a nice mix of purple and green. Otherwise, grab some fresh spinach from the farmer’s market, purple lettuce, and green lettuce. The key is to chop the lettuce into bite sized bits, and your salad game is on point. Toss all these fresh leaves in a big mixing bowl.
Bulgur is a staple in our pantry here because we love making tabouli. It’s a middle eastern grain, an ancient grain if you will, and you can prep this the night before. You can also substitute with quinoa or barley if you prefer. A half a cup of dry grains makes plenty when cooked! Just make sure it’s chilled before throwing in your mixing bowl, because the heat will wilt the salad leaves.
Besides looking pretty mixed into the salad, these toppings are just where it’s at! A fresh herb like mint goes a long way. Chop the mint finely so no one eats a whole leaf. A handful of sprouts or mustard greens brighten your salad even more. Thinly slice a quarter of a red onion with a mandolin. And then for the final star of the show, the blood orange- slice into small bite sized segments to sprinkle on after the salad is well mixed.
Ok, let’s be real, the reason I love using a shrub in this salad dressing recipe is because it is a great conversation starter. Wait, what’s a shrub? Check my post on my lavender blueberry shrub for the full recipe. This has to be made ahead of time. But once you have it, store it in a jar and use it for your basic vinaigrette recipe, in place of red wine vinegar. The lavender flavor is subtle in this dressing. The flavor that pops is the citrus juice!
What’s a spring citrus salad without some bright colored flowers? Marigold and nasturtiums almost steal the show with their vivid pop of orange and crimson hues. Whole Foods generally carries marigold in their edible flower packet, but otherwise, make some friends with your local farmers. I’m constantly making runs for edible flowers they have available! Add the flowers to your salad after it is tossed.
Spring Citrus Salad With Lavender Vinaigrette
Make this bright and vibrant salad for your next spring dinner party! This serves four small side salads, so I typically double the recipe if I have more than four people over.
- Yield4 side salads
What you need:
For the salad
- 3 cups mixed greens- lettuce, purple lettuce, and spinach
- 1 handful mustard or amaranth greens
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint
- 1 blood orange peeled and segmented
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat or quinoa or barley
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons blueberry lavender shrub or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 1 t. maple syrup
- juice of half a small blood orange
Preparing the spices
Soak the bulgur wheat an hour before cooking it. Drain. Follow instructions on package to cook the bulgur. Drain and let cool. Do this the day before and pull out of fridge when ready to use.
Chop fresh mint finely and stir into the bulgur. Let sit for a few hours.
Arrange 3 cups of mixed greens in a bowl and spoon bulgur over the greens.
Use a mandolin to finely slice the red onion. Peel and segment the blood orange into bite sizes. Arrange on top of the salad.
Lightly toss toppings and greens in your mixing bowl with the dressing.
Garnish the top with orange nasturtiums or marigold petals.