This easy Spinach Orange Salad is full of fresh spinach, juicy orange slices, crunchy walnuts and will brighten up any winter day. It’s dressed with a zesty orange vinaigrette and sprinkled with optional dairy-free feta to top it off and makes the perfect healthy lunch or side for dinner! Gluten-free, vegan with low carb and Whole30 friendly.
Updated January 2022
Easy Spinach Salad with Orange Dressing
Salads that incorporate both fruits and vegetables are seriously the best. While it’s always nice to enjoy them during the summer, we often crave them more intensely during the winter months because of all the freshness they bring to the table. This vibrant spinach citrus salad is loaded with plenty of Vitamin C to help you kiss those winter blues goodbye!
And it’s packed with a lot more than just Vitamin C. It’s also a great source of fiber, antioxidants, protein and various additional vitamins to keep you nourished. If you’re a sweet tooth who’s trying to incorporate more greens into your diet, you’ve found the perfect salad recipe to get you started.
What You’ll Need
We like to whip up the vinaigrette before I make the salad so that it’s already ready to go when the salad is complete. For that reason, we’ll cover the dressing ingredients first.
For the Spinach Citrus Salad
- Baby Spinach: You’ll need a full bag.
- Orange: It’s best to use a smaller variety such as a mandarin orange.
- Sliced Fuyu Persimmon: This popular Chinese fruit tastes like a cross between a mango, a pear and a roasted sweet pepper. It’s utterly delicious!
- Shallot: Sliced thinly.
- Fresh Rosemary Leaves: I like to save the sprigs and use them as a garnish.
- Candied Walnuts: Or regular toasted walnuts.
- Fine-Grain Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper: To taste.
For the Orange Vinaigrette Dressing
- Orange Juice: Freshly-squeezed is best.
- Orange Zest: To supplement the OJ.
- Coconut Vinegar: Or apple cider vinegar.
- Olive Oil: Or avocado oil.
- Dijon Mustard: For creaminess and a subtle touch of spice.
- Shallot: Finely chopped.
- Fresh Rosemary: Also chopped finely.
- Sea Salt: Added to taste.
Optional for topping:
- Vegan Feta: Or regular feta cheese if you’re not dairy-free. Omit for paleo and Whole30.
How to Make Spinach Orange Salad
The simplicity of this salad is as refreshing as each and every bite of it. You’ll have it on the table in a matter of minutes!
- Make Dressing: In a bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, oil and mustard until combined. Then add the shallots, rosemary and salt. Set the dressing aside while you make the salad.
- Prepare Orange: Use a sharp knife to cut off the top and bottom ends of the orange. Lay the orange on a flat surface so it doesn’t tip over. Cut all around the orange, removing the entire peel and white pith, while sparing as much flesh as possible. Cut each segment into 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Combine Spinach & Half of Dressing: Add the spinach to a large bowl or platter and pour half of the dressing over it. Toss well to coat all of the spinach.
- Add Fruit, Shallots, Rosemary & Walnuts: Distribute the orange and persimmon slices throughout the prepared spinach. Sprinkle on the shallots, rosemary leaves and walnuts.
- Season & Finish Dressing: Drizzle the salad with some more dressing and season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Add Feta: Sprinkle some feta over the salad if desired.
Tips for Success
The tips and tricks listed below will guide you through the ins and outs of making this salad. Let’s get down to business.
- Make Your Own Orange Juice: I highly recommend squeezing your own orange juice for the vinaigrette. It’s easy to do and it makes a world of difference! Use your citrus juicer if you have one.
- Slice & Dice: Be sure to chop and slice your ingredients as directed. This ensures that each bite is well-balanced.
- Don’t Forget to Dress the Spinach: Adding half of the dressing to your spinach will help distribute that delectable flavor throughout the salad. Make sure you don’t skip this step.
- Season to Taste: Go ahead and add as much or as little salt, pepper and feta as you’d like. Give the salad a taste and adjust as desired.
Ways to Change Up the Recipe
There are tons of things you can choose to do a little differently when it comes to this orange salad. Here are some ideas!
- Add Grilled Chicken
- Use Another Kind of Cheese
- Add Craisins
- Sub the Walnuts for Pecans or Almonds
- Add Pomegranate Arils
- Use Different Greens
- Add Avocado Slices
This citrus salad will make a great side for any main course of your choice. Try pairing it with one of the following dishes.
- Serve with Orange Chicken: What could go better with an orange salad than tender Slow-Cooked Orange Chicken? This combination is something that you definitely have to experience.
- Pair with Pizza: Made in just 15 minutes, this easy Vegan Pizza is an amazing weeknight dinner option. You can load it up with whatever toppings you’re craving!
- Serve with Steak: This juicy Air Fryer Steak is topped with a flavorful garlic-herb butter that will make you melt. It goes incredibly well with this fruity salad!
How to Store Extra Citrus Salad
If you have leftover salad, you can refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. The dressing on its own will last for up to 5 days in a sealed jar or container in the fridge. Shake or mix it well before using it.
More Healthy Spinach Dishes to Try
Spinach is a scrumptious superfood that can be used in countless ways. Check out these recipes next!
- Spinach Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Spinach Egg Muffins with Cheese
- Cherry Tomato Basil Spinach and Parmesan Pasta
This easy Spinach Orange Salad is full of fresh spinach, juicy orange slices, crunchy walnuts and will leave you speechless. It's dressed with a zesty orange vinaigrette and sprinkled with optional dairy-free feta to top it off and makes the perfect healthy lunch or side for dinner! Gluten-free, vegan with low carb and Whole30 friendly.
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 3 tsp coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp shallot finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4-5 cups baby spinach or 1 bag baby spinach
- 1 small orange
- 1 small Fuyu persimmon sliced
- 1/2 shallot sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves plus sprigs for garnish
- 1-2 tbsp candied walnuts or toasted walnuts, for garnish
- fine grain sea salt to taste
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- vegan feta or regular if not dairy-free, for garnish. Omit for paleo and Whole30.
In a bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, oil, and mustard until combined. Add the shallots, rosemary, and salt. Set aside while you prepare the salad.
Using a sharp knife, cut off the top and bottom ends of the orange. Lay the orange on a flat surface so it doesn't tip over. Cut all around the orange, removing the entire peel and white pith, while sparing as much flesh as possible. Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Add the spinach to a large bowl or platter. Pour half of the dressing over the spinach. Toss well to coat.
Arrange the orange slices and persimmons throughout. Sprinkle with shallots, rosemary leaves and walnuts.
Drizzle with some more dressing and season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with some feta if desired.
Refrigerate leftover salad in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Dressing will last for up to 5 days in a sealed jar or container in the fridge. Shake or mix well before using.
Photography by: Casey Colodny / The Mindful Hapa