Grapefruit Salad – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Leafy Green Salads

This Grapefruit Salad is loaded with vibrant citrus, creamy avocado, pops of sweetened cranberries, and honey-roasted almonds. Drizzle with a simple balsamic vinaigrette for an unforgettable, crave-worthy salad!

Check out some of our other favorite citrusy salads like this Orange Pomegranate Salad, Citrus Quinoa Salad, or Avocado Citrus Salad.

Overhead image of the Grapefruit Salad

Pink Grapefruit Salad

My husband isn’t one to ever rave about a salad (let’s just say he’s certainly more excited about a hearty Baked Ziti With Chicken or Steak Tacos). But this salad? It got some serious praise! He couldn’t get enough of this one and even went back for seconds and then thirds.

It’s the perfect fruity salad when summer fruits (like berries) aren’t in season, but you’re craving some freshness and vibrancy. Plus, it’s pretty stunning to look at — the perfect side dish for the upcoming holidays! It’s citrusy and bright with a lovely creaminess from the avocado and perfect amount of crunch with the almonds. Kale makes the ultimate hearty base to house the quinoa and citrus.

Grapefruit Salad FAQs

1What flavor enhancers can I add to grapefruit?

Salt is actually a secret to sweeter-tasting grapefruit! While it might seem counterintuitive, salt helps to balance the bitter and emphasize the sweet.

That’s why it’s important to add salt to the dressing we top the grapefruit with!

2What do you eat with red grapefruit?

Nothing beats a salad with grapefruit! We love it paired with a creamy avocado, other citrus (navel oranges, clementines, cara cara oranges, etc.), and sweetened cranberries.

Here are some other options for additions or replacements in this simple grapefruit salad:

  • dried tart cherries
  • dried blueberries
  • fennel
  • walnuts
  • diced mango
  • arugula
  • red onion
  • cucumber

3What cheese goes well with grapefruit?

IMHO, nothing beats a good goat cheese with grapefruit and avocado! The soft goat cheese nicely offsets the acidity of grapefruit. Feta is another great option.

4What can I do with all my grapefruit?

When we get a big bag of grapefruits, we make this salad on heavy repeat! Some other great ways to use grapefruit:

Process shots-- images of the cooked and cooled quinoa being added to the greens

How to Prepare The Kale

The “secret” to delicious kale in a Grapefruit Salad? Massaging it. It takes a little extra effort, but it is well worth it to make the best possible salad. Here’s how we do it:

  1. First, remove the bulk of the stems. Grab the bottom of the stem with one hand and run your other hand tightly grasping upward along the stem to remove the leaves right off the stem. Some of the stem at the top is fine; we’re more concerned about the bulky large part of the stem.
  2. Next, very thinly slice (ribbon) the kale. The smaller the shreds of kale, the better! It integrates into the salad better and the dressing adheres so much better.
  3. Toss the kale in a colander set in a clean sink. Drizzle lemon juice or olive oil and a pinch of salt and then massage it for about 2-3 minutes or until the kale begins to soften. You’ll notice that the kale reduces in volume slightly and turns a deeper green color — this is what we’re looking for.
  4. Thoroughly dry the kale. Once the kale is massaged, rinse it, and then make sure to get it nice and dry. If the kale is at all damp or wet, it will make the whole avocado and grapefruit salad soggy. If you have a salad spinner, now’s the time to use it.

Process shots of Grapefruit Salad-- images of salad toppings being added on top

SHORTCUTS

The Quinoa

To make the prep on this salad as quick as possible, we’ll often use Packaged Microwavable Quinoa– it’s already cooked and just needs to be microwaved. This type of packaged quinoa is typically found among other types of pre-cooked quinoa, rice, and grains in the grocery store. There are lots of different flavors, so be sure to pick the plain (sea salt) quinoa so flavors aren’t competing. 

Another time-saving option is to prepare some quinoa at the beginning of the week so it’s already cooked, cooled, and ready to pop in this Grapefruit Salad.

Image of the dressing being drizzled on top

How To Cut Grapefruit For This Salad

If you are unfamiliar with the term supreming citrus it’s a simple technique to remove the membrane from citrus fruit. Not only does it elevate the presentation in this Grapefruit Salad, but it also ensures the citrus is free of rind or pith. Supreming does take a little more time, so it’s not entirely necessary, but if you’re serving this salad for an event or holiday, it does add that extra touch.

To supreme citrus:

  1. Use a very sharp knife (otherwise this can be frustrating!).
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of the fruit and then set the fruit on a cutting board, flat edge down.
  3. Working around the fruit, slice the peel and pith off in sections. Follow the shape of the fruit, cutting from the top down to the bottom.
  4. Repeat until all the peel and pith have been removed.
  5. Now, thinly slice (and halve the slices for smaller orange bites).
  6. Add the beautiful cut citrus to the Grapefruit Avocado Salad!

QUICK TIP

Don’t want to supreme the citrus? Simply peel and break apart into segments for this salad.

Up-close overhead image of the Grapefruit Salad

Grapefruit Salad Dressing

The dressing whips together so quickly–simply add everything to a jar with a lid, and shake to combine! Here’s what we’ve got in the dressing:

  • Balsamic vinegar. The better your balsamic vinegar, the better the flavor of the dressing will be. It’s that simple!
  • Dijon mustard. Make sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard. 
  • Olive oil. We recommend extra virgin olive oil for this recipe.
  • Honey. Since the two vinegar offers a fair amount of tang, we like balancing that out with some honey.
  • Salt and pepper. Add to taste preference, remembering that an extra pinch can be the difference between a good and a stellar dressing!

QUICK TIP

To control how sweet this Grapefruit Salad is, adjust the honey in the dressing. For a sweeter dressing, add additional honey, slowly, and to taste. For a tangier dressing, reduce the honey.

Up-close overhead image of the dish ready to be enjoyed

STORAGE

Grapefruit Salad Storage

This salad doesn’t sit or store well after it’s made. Once assembled, the salad needs to be eaten soon after; otherwise, the dressing softens the nuts, the citrus gets soggy, and the avocado will begin to brown. To make ahead: Prepare the quinoa, kale, and dressing ahead of time (store it all in the fridge). Cut avocado and citrus right before assembling and combine everything at serving time.

What To Eat Grapefruit Salad With:

Grapefruit Salad

This Grapefruit Salad is loaded with vibrant citrus, creamy avocado, pops of sweetened cranberries, and honey-roasted almonds. Drizzle with a simple balsamic vinaigrette for an unforgettable, crave-worthy salad!

Grapefruit Salad

This Grapefruit Salad is loaded with vibrant citrus, creamy avocado, pops of sweetened cranberries, and honey-roasted almonds. Drizzle with a simple balsamic vinaigrette for an unforgettable, crave-worthy salad!

Instructions

  • QUINOA: To make the prep on this salad as quick as possible, we’ll often use Microwaveable Packaged Quinoa (be sure to grab the plain (sea salt) quinoa). Follow package directions to prepare it then pop it in the fridge until chilled through. Alternatively, prepare quinoa ahead of time — See Note 2.
  • DRESSING: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1/4 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper). Shake to combine; store in the fridge until ready to use. Shake before topping salad.

  • SALAD PREP: Either supreme the citrus or peel and break apart into segments for this salad. (To supreme citrus: Use a very sharp knife to cut off the top and bottom of the fruit and then set the fruit on a cutting board, flat edge down. Working around the fruit, slice the peel and pith off. Follow the shape of the fruit, cutting from the top down to the bottom. Repeat until all the peel and pith have been removed. Now, thinly slice and add to salad!

  • SALAD ASSEMBLY: (Read instruction 4 before dressing) Toss together completely dry prepared kale, fully cooled quinoa, and 1/2 the dressing in a large bowl. Add the grapefruit, oranges, avocado, cranberries, and almonds. Add remaining dressing (or to preference) tossing gently once more. If desired top with goat or feta cheese. Serve immediately.

  • STORAGE: Only add dressing to the amount of salad you intend to eat that day. This salad is best eaten immediately after being dressed, so if you want leftovers, only add avocado, almonds, and dressing to the portion that will be eaten immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Kale: Kale can be delicious all depending on how it’s prepared! Here’s what we do: remove the coarse stems on the kale. (I do this by grabbing the bottom of the stem with one hand and running my other hand upward along the stem in a tight grasp to remove the leaves from the stem. Some of the stem at the top is fine to leave; we’re more concerned about the bulky large portion of the stem.) Take the kale leaves, roll them up like a cigar, and finely slice the kale to make thin and small ribbons of kale. You should have 4 cups tightly packed kale. Next, place in a colander and rinse. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt on top of the kale and a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Massage and rub the kale with clean hands for 2-3 minutes or until tender and a deep green color. Rinse again and thoroughly dry. (I add to a salad spinner.)
Note 2: Quinoa: If NOT using packaged quinoa start here: Rinse 1 cup tri-colored or white quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve in cold water for about 30 seconds. In a small saucepan, combine rinsed quinoa with 2 cups water. Season with salt (I add 1/2 tsp). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover the pan with a lid. Turn heat to the lowest setting and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until the water has completely absorbed in the quinoa. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for 5-10 minutes. After it’s finished steaming, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa gently with a fork. Set aside to cool to room temperature. In a hurry? Spread it on a sheet pan and slide it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Quinoa can be prepared 3-4 days in advance.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 54.3g | Protein: 8.5g | Fat: 16.4g | Sodium: 31mg | Fiber: 7.7g | Sugar: 22.2g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

 

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