Chilled blood orange salad is a refreshing recipe that you can quickly prepare for a tasty side dish, lunch, brunch… or any other excuse you can come up with. Delicious, blood oranges are in season throughout the cold winter months, ready to brighten up our plates all season long!
Gorgeous, juicy blood oranges hail from Sicily, the land of oranges itself. Its unique spice-like edge and refreshing flavor are fantastic in jams, desserts, and juices alike, but I like it best in a simple blood orange salad.
This quick blood orange salad recipe embodies everything I love about Mediterranean food: bright notes from fresh, chilled oranges and red onion slices that add just a touch of bitterness, fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and fresh cracked black pepper.
And that’s really all there is to it. It takes just 15 minutes to throw together, if it even takes that long, and is a great appetizer or revitalizing bite between meals!
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I hate wasting food, even the scraps in my kitchen. I save the blood orange peels for homemade chili crisp and use the rest of the onion in some other Mediterranean chopped vegetable or lentil salads.
Why are they called “blood” oranges?
Blood oranges, originating in Sicily, derive their name from the crimson hue of their flesh, attributed to anthocyanin pigments. Renowned for a distinct flavor, a perfect blend of citrusy sweetness with a hint of raspberry, their unique taste and vibrant appearance make them a prized and flavorful addition to culinary delights.
I find it best to chill the blood oranges for at least an hour prior to making the salad. Cut into a quarter to half inch slices. I leave the peel on before slicing and find it easier to peel off each slice that way before plating.
- Blood Oranges – This unique citrus fruit is less tangy than the navel orange. It’s also both tarter and sweeter, with a delicate floral taste and scent that truly sets it apart. Its flesh is a dark, blood red — hence the name.
- Red Onion – The best onion for raw salads is undeniably the red. It’s milder than white and yellow onions and even has a touch of sweetness that goes well in this blood orange salad recipe. The next best choice would be the yellow onion. Avoid using white.
- Kosher Salt & Black Pepper – I recommend using freshly cracked pepper and flaky, large-grained salt in fresh salads.
- Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is the less processed, stronger-tasting option. It also has more vitamins and antioxidants!
- Optional Toppings – Choose to serve this blood orange salad recipe as-is or with some of the following additional toppings:
- Balsamic Vinegar – Sweet and fruity, a drizzle of a little balsamic adds another layer of flavor to blood orange salad.
- Mint – There’s nothing like the combination of tart, almost spicy orange with cool, fresh mint! Rosemary and thyme taste great with citrus, too, if you have it on hand.
- Chill & Slice the Oranges. Chill the oranges for an hour before starting. Remove from the refrigerator and slice into ¼ to ½ inch slices. You might find it easier if you slice the oranges before removing the peel and then peel afterward, taking care to remove all of the white pith.
- Slice the Onion. Cut the onion in half, peel, and trim off the ends. Cut one of the halves into half again, leaving you with a quarter of the onion — save the remaining ¾ of the onion for another use. Thinly slice the remaining quarter.
- Arrange & Serve. Arrange the orange slices on plates for serving. Sprinkle the onion over the oranges and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the olive oil over top, then top with balsamic and mint as desired.
- Chef’s Knife – Make sure you’re using a sharp chef’s knife, not a serrated knife, when preparing vegetables for salad. It’s the best way to get clean cuts and give a good presentation!
Storing and Prep-Ahead
The best way to prepare a salad in advance is to slice all of the ingredients and store them in separate airtight containers until you’re ready to serve. This way, the individual fruits and vegetables retain their unique flavors right up until assembly.
Once sliced, onions and oranges are best eaten within 5 days or so before they begin to wilt and their flavor starts to turn sour. Similarly, a prepared blood orange salad should be eaten within 5 days of assembly.
If you want to bulk up this recipe to make it more of a meal, try any combination of the following:
– Tender, young salad greens like baby spinach or arugula, microgreens, or a spring mix.
– Toasted pecans, walnuts, or sesame seeds.
– Thinly sliced prosciutto, roast beef, or boneless lamb steak.
Ripe oranges feel a bit heavy, laden with all of that spectacular juice. But it shouldn’t be squishy! The peel should still be firm with just a bit of give.
You’re more likely to find perfectly ripe blood oranges in January — that’s usually when the flesh reaches its peak, ruby-red color as well.
Looking to add cheese to your blood orange salad? I recommend something creamy and tangy, like goat cheese or feta. You’d also find a great match with Brie, Camembert, or crumbled bleu cheese.
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Blood Orange Salad
- Chill the oranges for an hour. Peel and slice the oranges into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices. I also find it easier to slice the chilled blood oranges with the peel on, then trim the peel off, being sure to get all the white pith.
- Cut and peel the red onion and trim the ends off. Cut it in half, slice one half thinly, using about a quarter of the entire onion. Save remaining onion for other use.
- Divide and arrange oranges slices on each plate, divide and sprinkle onion over the oranges and season with salt, pepper and drizzle olive oil over top. You can also drizzle some balsamic syrup on top as well to punch up the flavor. Garnish with fresh chopped mint leaves (optional).
- I often times will also sprinkle on ground sumac, which is a Middle Eastern spice with a lemony taste.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.