Sunshine Salad For A Winter Day

Jump to the InstaRecipe if you’re in a rush and/or don’t want any Dad Advice! 

February 07, 2022.  Dear Kids– Fortunately, citrus season shines in the depths of winter, even in those parts of the country that are not so citrusy- like where The Dad hangs his hat, which featured a wind chill of below negative 40 just a few days ago- so, no matter where you are, it’s a good time to brighten up your day with a salad like this.

Not only is this salad delicious, it also resolved a domestic “dispute” after Mom gave me some “feedback” on my standard side dishes for Taco Night (it’s not just for Tuesday’s anymore)- Once Fried Beans and Mexican Inspired Rice- “explaining” they were too much with the tacos. I tried to keep an open mind, even as I wondered how I could be wrong about my taco side dish selection- I mean I have a food blog, right? However, as is often the case, I have to hand it to your Mom because when I thought about this salad as an alternative, I knew she was right. Well, maybe not right- I mean it’s food after all- eat as you wish- but definitely not wrong in suggesting we eat a better balance of food, from both a flavor and health standpoint. I mean, after all half of us, including The Dad, were having Birria tacos, which if you haven’t heard, call for frying the tortillas in the meat fat that floats on top of the Birria stew. BTW- the other half (which included Mom) requested turkey tacos made with an Old El Paso Taco Kit- not so sure Mom was right, or at least not wrong, on this one.

Given all that, I hope you give this salad a try. Please don’t be discouraged by the most challenging part of this otherwise quick and simple recipe- the knife work for “supreming” the segments (known as “supremes'” hencing supreming) of citrus from their peels and sour piths. This takes some practice, but it is very satisfying once you master it and also rewards you with, not only undiluted citrus flavor, but with supremes that glisten like jewels on the plate.

Diet:  Vegan

Prep Time: 20-30  minutes

Servings: 4


  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion
  • 3-4 limes 
  • 3-4 oranges- any variety or varieties you wish- I used Cora Cora, Navel, Mandarin and Blood
  • 5 ounces of baby arugula or other bitter salad green, like watercress
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, optional
Just by looking at the ingredients you know you’re not only in store for a delicious salad, but a very nutritious one as well.


Play “Sunshine On My Shoulder” by John Denver and feel the warmth of the music while you make your salad and play “Stop In The Name of Love!” by the Supremes because you will probably love this salad even more than the Dad Joke Music selections for this recipe.  

1. Make Ahead- Or Not- Pickled Onions. Up to a day ahead or just before you make the salad, place onions in a small bowl, add juice of a lime, a pinch or two of salt and massage together with clean fingers. Cover and refrigerate if not using soon after making.

2. Supreme Flavor.  Also, up to a day ahead or just before you make the salad, get a sharp knife and cut the top and bottoms off oranges- being careful that the orange is stable for safe cutting and cutting just deep enough to remove the skin and pith (the pith is the bitter white membrane between the orange skin and fruit), but not the bright and shiny fruit.  Move on to the sides, cutting down in a similar fashion, along the contour of the orange- a gentle curve, more or less-, to remove the side skin and pith in a similar manner.  Trim any stubborn flecks of pith that remain with your knife. 

You will notice the light lines that separate each segment of fruit- slice your knife at a slight angle, and as close as you can to the inside of the line on the left side of the wedge shaped segment, to center of orange. Repeat the cut on the right side of the segment. Place segment in a medium bowl (use a separate bowl for blood oranges if using- they stain everything) and repeat until all segments are free at last! 

Squeeze the juice from the fruit carcasses that remain (what’s left of the pulp from each orange after you’ve extracted the fruit) into the bowl with the orange segments and set aside. Cover and refrigerate if not using soon after prepping.

Quite by coincidence, the tip of the knife is pointing to a few of the orange carcasses.

3.  Dressing For Dinner.   Add arugula to large bowl and drizzle a few tablespoons of orange juice from bowl of orange segments, juice of a lime and 1 tablespoon of oil over arugula and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, or to taste. Toss and taste- adjust seasoning with more orange, juice, lime juice, oil, salt and/or pepper as you wish.  Portion dressed arugula on plates- hopefully chilled plates, but room temperature plates are OK, but, I’ll be honest, a bit disappointing.

4. Not Just For Toast Anymore.  Slice avocados into 1/3” wedges, place in bowl used to dress salad and use clean hands to gently toss with a bit of lime juice and a pinch of salt. 

5. Gold Plating.  Artfully arrange citrus, avocado and onion slices on the salads and, if using, sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads.

Once the citrus is supremed, the rest of the prep is a snap. Notice my economy mandoline (aka veggie peeler) used for thinly sliced onions.


Citrus Shopping.  Winter is citrus season, so it should be easy to find plump and juicy citrus during this season. Use your senses- feel for firmness and heft (citrus that feels heavier than it looks is a good sign), smell for the faint scent of citrus and look out for mold.

I like a variety of oranges and, of course, you could use grapefruit or any other decent sized citrus (even a few lime supremes can really make a salad pop) as you wish. In this recipe, I used four orange varieties- the ubiquitous navel, which offers the familiar sweet orange flavor of your youth; the pink fleshed Cora Cora, which is even sweeter, but with more dimensions of flavor for your more mature palate; the Mandarin, for an exotic hint of spice; and the crimson Blood, with a touch of sweet and tart that has no equal in color.

A Brief Segment on Segments (“Supremes).  Believe me, cutting citrus into supremes is rather fun and satisfying once you get the hang of it- it makes you feel like a surgeon.

The top and bottom cut are the easiest cuts. Place orange on its side, keeping in mind that it is round and could roll causing a flesh wound if you don’t keep it steady, and slice the rounded ends of the orange off, with as little fruit as possible- keep your fingers out of the way.
As you cut away skin and pith from the sides, keep the curved shape of the fruit in mind- you are not cutting straight down, you are flowing with the curve of the orange as your knife follows the curved, rounded contour of the orange- around its side and under its bottom- your knife will end up parallel to the board as you follow the rounded bottom and end your cut. .
All carved up, with the pith helping you by outlining each segment. You can also see the stubborn pith that remains on the segments- just slice those spots off before you cut out your supremes..
This segment has been cut through at a slight angle, following the wedge shape of the segment, on its left side and has released from the pith that lines it. The same cut is repeated on the right side. After the second cut, the segment should hopefully come to rest on your knife blade so you can deftly remove it to the bowl and amaze anyone watching- not that anyone ever watches me when I segment fruit (only in my dreams) ,so don’t get your hopes up. Nevertheless, I find cutting citrus segments to be a very satisfying and calming endeavor..
The segments (“supremes”) are all lined up on the left, with the carcass waiting to by juiced to the right.

Waste Not Want Not. Before you go deftly extracting your supremes, don’t forget about the other hidden gem on your citrus- the rind- that can be “zested” and used in a variety of ways to enliven oh so many food and drinks- like risotto, shrimp scampi, citrusy desserts, pancake batter, shortbread cookies, Old Fashions, Negronis and so on. Just remove the zest in tiny granules with a microplane (stop zesting when you see the bitter white of the pith) and/or in thin strips (no bitter pith attached please) with the versatile vegetable peeler (remember it was great to use to get thin slices of onion for the salad). Store in an airtight container or bag in fridge for up to about a week or freezer for up to several months. Beware, “clever” manufacturers make “zesters”, but don’t be fooled into buying something with such a limited use (a “unitasker” to quote the late, great Alton Brown- oh, he’s not dead, just not very punctual), when a microplane and vegetable peeler can be used for oh so many things.

© 2023 All rights reserved.  Dad’s Dinner Diary

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