Blood Oranges and Grapefruit with Spinach, Pomegranate Seeds and Goat Cheese

by Carol Sacks on January 12, 2012

Post image for Blood Oranges and Grapefruit with Spinach, Pomegranate Seeds and Goat Cheese

Blood oranges finally arrived at our Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago. I am drawn to their color (each orange is a little bit different in shade), flavor and how they brighten any dish they’re in, whether it’s savory, sweet or in-between.

I bought a handful, and got right to work; I made an easy but complex-tasting grapefruit-blood orange-ginger sauce. It cooked quickly on the stove, and once reduced, I spooned it over fresh, roasted salmon. The sauce was stunning — a vivid, rosy pink that brightened the tender roasted salmon flesh. Then, I baked Domenica Marchetti’s Ciambellone, a sweet and dense cake that calls for an Italian liqueur, Punch Abruzzese, that is a bit tough to find here in the U.S. I substituted rum for the liqueur and added blood orange zest to try to duplicate the citrusy component in the digestive. I suspect my improvisation fell well-short of Domenica’s, but I loved how the flavors of the cake have intensified as the days have gone by.

Today, I’m focused on in-between: a flavor-packed, colorful, and easy-to-assemble salad that puts winter citrus front-and-center.

Baby spinach is scattered lightly across the bottom of a serving plate. On top of it, peeled, ripe, juicy grapefruit and blood oranges, which have been sliced cross-wise, are arranged in one layer. Next up: a generous drizzle of one of my favorite olive oils. I used a peppery oil from Joelle, a California-based company that grows and produces olive oil and assorted products in the state. They sell a range of oils from mild to strong, and I picked up my bottle at our local Farmer’s Market.

Then, a handful of pomegranate seeds are sprinkled on top, followed by a crumble of goat cheese. I bought a thick slice of Bucherondin, which is creamy and tangy, during my weekly run to C’est Cheese. While the flavor gets sharper as it ages, the piece I brought home was “young,” so the flavor was on the mild side, and provided a nice counterpoint to the citrus.

A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper across the top, and you’re done. It’s refreshing, pretty and a great jumping off point for improvising a bit. You can mix in different greens, such as arugula or a mild butter lettuce. Swap in different varieties of citrus, such as tangerines or clementines. Try different cheeses to make the dish more piquant — I have a Crater Lake Blue that I think might kick up the sharpness for my next salad. Toasted, sliced almonds or other types of nuts also would complement the citrus and greens.

Whatever you decide, this is the kind of salad that works as a main for lunch or a side at dinner.

4.3 from 3 reviews
Blood Oranges and Grapefruit with Spinach, Pomegranate Seeds and Goat Cheese
Recipe type: salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
Citrus, spinach, pomegranate seeds and goat cheese come together for a light, healthy salad.
  • 3-4 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced cross-wise in ¼-inch slices
  • 5 blood oranges, peeled and sliced cross-wise in ¼-inch slides
  • 2 teaspoons good olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1-2 Tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
  • pinch of sea salt
  • fresh pepper
  1. Spread the spinach leaves on a large dinner plate or small platter.
  2. Using a knife, cut the ends off of the grapefruit -- you will have two flat ends. Stand the fruit on one end, and using the knife, cut the skin off, taking the white pith and membrane with you. Then, turn the grapefruit over on its side and cut the fruit in ¼-inch slides.
  3. In the center of the plate, over the spinach, spread the grapefruit slices, overlapping a bit to form a small circle.
  4. Peel and cut the blood oranges into slices using the same method as with the grapefruit.
  5. Spread the orange slices on top of the spinach leaves, on the outside of the grapefruit; forming a larger ring around the plate.
  6. Drizzle the olive oil over the fruit.
  7. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the salad.
  8. Spread the crumbled goat cheese over the salad.
  9. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the salad.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

LiztheChef January 12, 2012 at 8:21 am

Classic winter flavors for a salad that really “pops”. I like reading about the particular brands of cheese that you select for a recipe.


Carol Sacks January 12, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hi Liz! I’m glad you like the info about cheese. I learn something every time I shop at C’est Cheese; they’re passionate about what they do. Plus, there is nothing better than helping the local businesses. As always, thank you for reading and commenting!


Winifred Lloyds Lender January 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm

What a beautiful salad! I love the way you introduce color and fruit into a winter salad. The pomegranate seeds seems like a wonderful way to add some texture and include an oft overlooked seed. Thank you for the bright inspiration!


Carol Sacks January 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Thank you, Winifred! I’m loving citrus season. Sounds like you are, too.


Winnie January 14, 2012 at 6:08 am

Gorgeous! I love blood oranges with goat cheese and will be posting a salad with those, soon. Love the addition of the grapefruit and pomegranate!


Carol Sacks January 14, 2012 at 6:13 am

Thank you, Winnie! I’m in citrus heaven right now. Made salmon with blood orange sauce last night, using about five blood oranges. Love how different each of them is in color and sweetness. Can’t wait to see your new salad.


Barbara | Creative Culinary February 20, 2012 at 8:15 am

I’ll be honest. I missed this post when it came out. I’m trying very hard to clean up my inbox so that I see what I REALLY want to see and this I would have wanted!

I just had my first blood orange experience and I’m in love. I may have made a margarita but I can almost taste it in this salad. These oranges alone might force me to move to SoCal…in the meantime, with the wind and snow swirling about us today, I think the best I can do it get to Whole Foods as soon as possible and buy out their supply. I want this salad bad and I’m juicing the rest for margaritas this summer. Oh how I wish!


Carol Sacks February 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

Hi Barb! I’m with you, blood oranges are a revelation. Hope things warm up soon. In the meantime, enjoy the citrus!


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