With crisp lettuce, juicy oranges, crunchy pecans, and creamy avocado dressing, this Simple Salad with Orange and Avocado is a truly amazing addition to any meal!
This is the salad of our summer dreams. But, really, it’s good any time of the year when you can get your hands on good citrus and avocados. It’s so simple to put together and so amazing, you will want to have it all the time!
Ingredients for Your Simple Salad with Orange and Avocado
No strange ingredients here or any that will have you hunting in way too many stores to pull this salad together. Nope. We don’t like that either. Just simple staples are all it takes to pull together a wonderful fresh salad!
- Lettuce – A nice soft, not-too-bitter green is what we want here. Butter or Bibb lettuce are perfect, but romaine will work great, too. Even spinach. But don’t choose a bitter green like kale, or it will throw off the balance of flavors.
- Baby Arugula – This tender little green adds just a bit of spice and the perfect “bite” to this salad, complementing the tender lettuce and creamy dressing perfectly. You don’t want to skip this!
- Oranges – A juicy navel orange is perfect. Mandarin oranges work great too! Simply peel and roughly chop into bite-size pieces for a burst of sweet-tart juice in every bite.
- Pecans – A toasty salad staple in our opinion. Toast them lightly in a skillet, then let them cool. These add the perfect crunch and a hint of smokiness to the salad.
- Green Onion – These add the perfect sharp note. Add only the greens if you like, or add the white parts, too, for a bit more of that bite.
- Avocados – Our avocado is mashed for a thick and perfect dressing which will coat everything with creaminess and flavor. This is what pulls the whole salad together!
Tips for Avocados
One thing we love about food is that there is always something to learn, to experience, and to pass along. Here are some tips about choosing and storing avocados that we’ve picked up along the way.
Choosing the Best Avocado
You want to find an avocado that has even dark green color all over. Pick it up and gently press on it. The avocado should feel a little bit soft, but not mushy. If it gives just a little bit under your fingers, it is ripe and ready to eat. If you don’t plan on using it right away, choose one that is firm all over. It will ripen more when you get it home.
Another trick is to look at the stem end. There should be a little brown piece left from the stem. Gently remove that little piece and look underneath it. If the avocado is bright green underneath, then that’s a sign that this is a good avocado. If it’s a dark brown, you might want to choose another one.
Storing Your Avocados
Your fully ripe avocado can go straight into the frig, preferably in a produce drawer. There, it will keep for a week or more. If your avocado is still very firm, keep it at room temperature and check it often for ripeness by gently pressing on the sides. Once it begins to soften, transfer it to the refrigerator.
What About Browning?
Avocado flesh will brown when exposed to the air in a process called oxidation. While it isn’t as pretty as that pale green of a fresh, just-cut avocado, it is not a sign of rot and you can still eat it!
To hold this process at bay, once the avocado is cut, if you aren’t going to use it all, press plastic wrap firmly onto the cut side to close it off from the air as much and as completely as possible. Keep the pit in place, as this will naturally protect the flesh underneath it.
Once used in the dressing (or other things like guacamole), you can forestall browning a little by pressing plastic wrap over the top of the avocado-based food itself before sealing the container. Or add a bit of liquid to the top. Make sure this is a liquid that you want in your food! Here, you could add a very thin layer of additional milk. For guacamole, a thin layer of salsa works well. These all help to keep air from the avocado in order to keep oxidation from happening as much as possible.
Citrus juice (acid) helps keep avocado from browning, too. In our dressing for this salad, we incorporate a little lemon juice for flavor and to help maintain the avocado’s fresh green color.
Use all of these tips together for the best results! Find even more in this helpful set of slides from Food Network.
Make Your Avocado Dressing
It’s as easy as mashing your avocado, then whisking everything together. A fork is a great tool for both the mashing and the mixing, and is easier to clean too! Add the milk a little at a time until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. If you prefer it to be a little thinner, simply add more milk. But note that this will affect the flavor a bit, too! Add more salt and pepper as necessary to suit your taste.
Any leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use the tips above to help keep it from turning brown. This leftover dressing is also a great veggie dip or spread for sandwiches!
Assemble Your Simple Salad with Orange and Avocado
Just throw it all together. Really!
Put your greens in a large bowl and toss with dressing until the leaves are lightly coated. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the oranges, pecans, and green onion. Then enjoy!
Serving Your Salad
This Simple Salad with Orange and Avocado is great on its own for a light lunch or dinner, but it is also perfect alongside grilled chicken, steak, or fish. Try it as a side for these main dishes:
- Grilled Bone-In Chicken Breasts
- Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Lime Sauce
- Simple Potato Soup
Don’t Forget Dessert!
So many dessert options to choose from! Here are a few of our favs:
Simple Salad with Orange and Avocado
For the Creamy Avocado Dressing:
- 1 medium ripe avocado mashed
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
For the Salad:
- 1 head Bibb or butter lettuce roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup baby arugula
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped orange segments
- 3 tablespoons chopped pecans toasted
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onion
- Make Your Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mashed avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time to thin the dressing to a soft and smooth consistency. The dressing will still be fairly thick and will not pour like typical dressings. (If you prefer it to be thinner, simply add more milk.) Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Assemble Your Salad: In a separate large bowl, combine the lettuce and arugula. Add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Toss in more of the dressing as needed to lightly coat the leaves.
- Serve Your Salad: Transfer the dressed lettuce and arugula to a serving bowl and top with the orange pieces, pecans, and green onion. Serve immediately.
- Leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It may brown a little bit, but will still taste good. Whisk before using.
- This dressing is also great as a spread on sandwiches or as a dip for veggies.
- Make this salad vegan by using plant-based yogurt and milk in the dressing.
- If you can’t find bibb or butter lettuce, use your favorite variety. Try to use one that is not too bitter. Romaine works well, too.