August 4, 2021

Winter Citrus Sunshine Salad

Even in the darkest days of winter, sometimes a crisp, fresh salad sounds good. And, even though we are fully in the depths of winter, there is still seasonal produce to be had! Dark leafy greens, root vegetables, and citrus fruits are all near or at their peaks, and they come together in this salad deliciously.

The real star of this salad is the citrus vinaigrette. The recipe makes extra, so you’ll have some to use later in the week on another salad, or tossed with roasted vegetables. The combination of citrus zest and juice, from both lemon and orange, make this dressing a ray of winter sunshine.

I think raw kale often gets a bad rap, but there is a simple trick to making it tender and less bitter. Give it a massage! When fresh kale leaves are massaged with an acid, in this case the excess juice from the citrus fruits, it relaxes, becomes deeper in color, and loses some of the toughness that makes it less appealing. Massaged kale makes an awesome base for a salad, and stands up to heartier additions, like the carrots and beets here.

This salad is a great candidate for a weekly meal prep session, too. Because the kale and root veggies are hearty, they don’t wilt or become soggy after sitting in the fridge, even after a couple days. Serve this as a side salad with a meal, or make this salad a meal in itself by adding a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, some diced avocado, and a protein.

Ingredients assembled for Winter Citrus Sunshine Salad
Assemble your ingredients. I did not have whole carrots on hand, but had these beautiful rainbow carrot chips, which just added even more color!

Massaging cut kale leaves in citrus juice to make them tender
Massage your kale to make it more tender and less bitter. You can see from the top photo to the bottom photo, after being massaged it deepens in color and decreases in volume.

Vinaigrette ingredients shaken in a Mason jar
Add vinaigrette ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously to combine. Look at the sunshine-y yellow color!

Pouring the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients
Add everything to the bowl, and toss with the vinaigrette. For a refresher on how to supreme the oranges, check out my post for Triple Citrus Guacamole!

Winter Citrus Sunshine Salad on a red glass plate
Winter Citrus Sunshine Salad shines bright during the dark winter months.

Original publication date: January 7, 2021

Winter Citrus Sunshine Salad

Dark leafy greens, root vegetables, and citrus fruits are all near or at their peaks in the winter, and they come together in this salad deliciously.


Kira Freed - The Joyful Plateful











For the salad:

1 bunch of kale (curly or lacinato work well)

2 carrots

2 small red beets

2 oranges

For salad dressing:

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Wash and dry kale. Remove leaves from stems. Stack 2-3 leaves together, roll tightly, and slice into thin ribbons. Place kale into a large bowl.
  2. Scrub carrots and beets to remove dirt. Using a large grater, grate the carrots and beets, and set aside.
  3. Zest 1 orange, and set zest aside. Peel and supreme both oranges into segments, and set prepared orange segments aside. Squeeze any remaining juice from the leftover orange flesh into a bowl. Reserve two tablespoons for the dressing.
  4. Zest the lemon, and set aside. Squeeze the juice into a small bowl, and measure out 3 Tbsp. for the dressing.
  5. Add any remaining lemon and orange juices to the large bowl with the kale. Massage the kale with your hands by pressing it against the bowl, until it turns darker green and relaxes slightly, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the grated carrots and beets, and the orange supremes to the bowl with the kale.
  7. Make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a 1-pint mason jar, and shaking vigorously to combine.
  8. Toss the salad with enough dressing to coat, and serve. (You will have more than enough dressing; it can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.)
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