This healthy Citrus Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts has it all—sweet, savory, crunchy, juicy—and the Orange-Dijon Dressing is fabulous on any salad, so you’re sure to use every drop.
A Beautiful Citrus Salad for Holiday Dinners or Hearty Winter Meals
Ruby red grapefruit and cara cara orange team up with sliced fennel and flecks of kale in our Citrus Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts.
The sweet, aromatic citrus brings refreshing balance with a splash of color to hearty winter meals and rich holiday dinners. More than a fruit salad, this side dish packs the nutritional punch of pomegranate, walnuts, and kale too.
Include it in your Thanksgiving menu or toss it together for a holiday party take-along to complement any feast.
Tips for Making the Best Citrus Salad
- Only use the naked pulp, leaving the membrane behind. See the video below. Citrus doesn’t risk browning like other fruit because citric acid keeps it bright and beautiful. However, it does weep if mixed with sugar, vinegar, or salt (also called macerating). Since the dressing recipe includes all three of these ingredients, it is best to apply the dressing just before serving.
- Mix it up with the subtle crunch of nuts or seeds to balance the texture of soft, juicy citrus. If nuts are an allergy issue, toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds are a good alternative. The maple-candied method in the recipe works for seeds too.
- Let (slightly) bitter greens like kale or arugula bring harmony to sweet citrus. Larger pieces of kale are tougher to chew, so it’s important to tear the kale into small pieces or cut into thin ribbons.
- Dot with feta or cotija cheese for hints of savory that perk everything up. Salt is a great equalizer for sweets and feta does its job in both flavor and color as a garnish in this recipe.
My friend took one bite of this salad and said, “It tastes like summer!“
She is right, and every ingredient is at its peak during dreary winter months when we yearn for warmth and golden sunsets.
Citrus Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts and Orange-Dijon Dressing
For the Citrus Salad:
- 1 large Cara Cara orange , peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size segments
- 1 ruby red grapefruit , peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size segments
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel
- 1 1/2 cups torn kale leaves , small pieces
- 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans whole
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- pinch Sea salt
- Feta cheese -- for garnish
- Pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries , for garnish
For the Orange-Dijon Dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons flax seed oil optional for nutritional boost
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (try capturing the juice from segmenting the citrus)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (from the orange in the salad, is fine)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 dash hot sauce
- Zest the orange first. Hold the orange and grapefruit over a bowl while carving out segments to capture extra juice--use juice in dressing.
- Toss the orange, grapefruit, fennel, and kale in a mixing bowl to combine. Heat walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat to toast.
- Once the walnuts begin to brown in spots, add maple syrup and a small pinch of salt; stir to coat. Continue stirring until the syrup thickens and clings to the walnuts. Remove from heat and spread out on a sheet of wax paper to cool.
- Prepare dressing by mixing the ingredients in a cruet or jar with a lid and shake. (Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
- Just before serving, toss walnuts with salad and garnish with pomegranate and feta. Pour enough dressing over to salad to lightly coat while gently tossing.
Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica says
I bet it DOES taste like summer. Looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it!!
Katie Beck says
This is a gorgeous salad full of great fall/winter flavors. My family would love this with a holiday meal!
Catherine Baez Sholl says
Such a colorful and inviting salad! The dressing sounds so good too.
That salad is a party on a plate 🙂 I have not used flaxseed oil before, interesting you mentioned it. Do you need to store flaxseed oil in the fridge in airtight container so it won’t spoil?
I just love candied nuts on citrus based salads… I can wait to make this!
Kari - Get Inspired Everyday! says
I love all the flavors going on in this salad plus I’ve really been craving all things citrus!
What a gorgeous and delicious salad! Saving it for later !
Renee D Kohley says
The dressing looks fantastic! My girls would love all the fun flavors in here!
Yum! I love citrus in salads and this looks so vibrant and delicious! Can’t wait to try out that dressing.
Love everything about this recipe, including the yummy dressing. I need that!
Raia Todd says
Oh, that dressing sounds amazing! I definitely need to try it!
This salad is BEAUTIFUL! Love the color of those ruby red grapefruit slices!
That salad dressing sounds absolutely delicious! Love the candied walnuts in there too, yum!
Megan Stevens says
Oh my goodness, that is one beautiful salad!! LOVE those flavors and ingredients!!
Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving says
Dang! This looks amazing! My son would tear this up.
linda spiker says
This salad is making me drool!
Raia Todd (@RaiasRecipes) says
Ooooh…. All the flavors in this sound amazing! I think I might have all the ingredients, too!
Renee Kohley says
This is so pretty! And that dressing fantastic – I can smell it just looking at those ingredients! Can’t wait to try it!
Joni Gomes says
This is my kind of salad!! Love the citrus aspect.
Love bright and colorful salads and this one looks so pretty! Citrus makes all salads better in my book.
This salad sounds delicious and so festive! I love the fennel and pomegranate in there.
We live in Indian River County, Fl. that is famous for its grapefruit and this is a terrific way to use some of it.
This is my kind of salad! It’s salad like this with wonderful citrus that make winter tolerable.