Citrus season is a time that I think should be celebrated as much as winter, spring, summer or fall! These beautiful, juicy fruits come to us when the weather is cool and the sky is grey, brightening our days and dishes with their delicious flavors and vibrant colors! And citrus is chock full of nutrients and vitamins to boot! Of course, citrus is commonly thought of as a fantastic source of vitamin C — however, it also contains an impressive list of other essential nutrients.
This salad reminds me that mindful eating can be just as hearty and tasty as eating any other way. I could probably eat all ten portions of this salad, and then lick the bowl! I’ve also added beets to this salad — for even more nutrients, vitamins and stunning color, of course! Both the citrus and beets add a lot of sweetness to this recipe — and there’s nothing I love more then being able to eat mindfully while satisfying my sweet tooth!
The layers of fruit in this salad are all brought together with the lovely, oh-so-rich and creamy Jalapeño Avocado Crema. More than a dressing for the salad, this is really another whole component. Another healthy component, that is! The combination of the avocado and crema make it velvety smooth, and the citrus and jalapeño add a bit of heat and tang. It’s the Cacique Crema Mexicana, with its mild buttery flavor, that adds a level of richness, making the entire dish something to be savored. The Cacique Cotija Cheese garnish brings a strong, salty flavor that gives every bite the perfect balance.
Since this is such a stunning salad, I love serving it as an elegant first course. It’s an excellent way to begin a meal – however, it can just as easily be a main course! And it can also be arranged on a large platter for a buffet. Any why you choose to serve it, it’s sure to wow your guests – with both its beauty and healthfulness.
WHAT YOU NEED
- For the Jalapeño Avocado Crema:
- ½ cup Cacique® Crema Mexicana
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup avocado (about 1/2 of a medium avocado)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped jalapeño, seeds removed
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- For the salad:
- 5 small tangerines
- 5 Cara Cara oranges
- 5 Blood oranges
- 4 cups packed baby lettuces, washed and dried
- 4 cups thinly sliced, cooked and peeled beets
- 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
- ⅔ cup crumbled Cacique® Cotija cheese
- 1 small thinly sliced jalapeño
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Place the crema, orange juice, lime juice, avocado, jalapeño, honey, cumin, salt and pepper to a blender. Purée on high until it’s smooth, about 10 seconds. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the oil. Set aside.
- Peel the tangerines and slice them into thin rounds, horizontally. Then use a paring knife to peel the oranges — first slice about ½-inch off of the ends of each one. Then stand them on one of their flat surfaces, and use the knife to carefully cut between the pith and flesh, moving the knife downwards and following the curve of the fruit. Continue until peeled and slice them into thin rounds, like the tangerines. Set aside.
- To assemble the salad, add a small handful of the lettuce to 10 serving plates. Drizzle each one with about 1 tablespoon of the Jalapeño Avocado Crema. Then evenly divide the tangerines, oranges, beets and onions among the plates. Drizzle each with another tablespoon of the crema. Evenly divide the crumbled Cotija among the plates and top with a few slices of the jalapeño. All set, you are now ready to enjoy!
- Cook’s Note (optional): I like using a variety of colors, but feel free to use any citrus varieties you like. You can also assemble all of the ingredients on one large platter to serve family-style.