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Green Salad with Oranges, Fennel & Avocado

This green salad with oranges, fennel & avocado is ideal for a dinner party and home entertaining. This salad recipe has mixed greens like spinach and arugula, an assortment of citrus, and an easy cherry vinaigrette. It’s the perfect appetizer salad to add to any of our dinner party menu ideas

green salad with oranges, fennel, and avocado

Green Salad with Oranges

When I create a dinner party menu, including a delicious green salad is top of mind. It’s part of my dinner menu formula where it can act as a first course or a side dish with the main entree.

Salads add freshness and a nutritious boost to the meal. And with the availability of pre-washed bagged salad greens, they’ve never been easier to make!

This elegant dinner party salad recipe can easily be tailored to however many guests you have. In fact, most salads can because it’s a simple mix of fresh ingredients. 

Try this easy green salad for a spring ladies luncheon, Easter entertaining, and summer gatherings. It’s fantastic for brunch too! The citrus makes it a wonderful Christmas or winter salad as well.

appetizer salad

Easy Dinner Party Salad  

When you’re hosting a party and serving a meal, you want to begin with an interesting salad. Here are some dinner party themes where you can serve our green and orange salad recipe.

What to serve with green salad

This salad looks fancy the way it’s presented, and it’s easy to make ahead for dinner. Just cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

PARTY TIP: Here’s a tip from my old waitressing days. Plate the salad on the dish you want to serve it on and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to dress it and serve. You can do this with individual plates too. Just wrap each one individually with the saran wrap and you can stack them to save room in the fridge.

This salad is a great accompaniment for pasta and casseroles, for chicken, salmon, or beef. Here are some entree recipes to serve it with.

orange peels

How do you cut oranges for salad?

The vibrant colors in this dish make a pretty presentation. Here’s how I cut the citrus for the salad so you get pops of color.

  1. Wash and dry the orange and cut off the two ends so it has a flat base to stand on.
  2. Use a serrated knife for easy cutting.
  3. Stand the orange on its flat base. Start at the top end and cut the orange peel off of the fruit making sure to get the white pith, all the way down to the base. Continue all the way around the orange until it’s completely peeled.
  4. Turn the orange on its side and cut slices crosswise, about 1/8 inch wide.

PARTY TIP: Use orange peels to garnish cocktails or to make a fragrant potpourri to simmer on the stove. Just add peels to water and heat on low. Add cinnamon sticks and whole cloves if you like.

How to Make Green Salad with Oranges

I love starting with a mixed green base. That way you get different textures and a subtle assortment of flavors.

Adding fruit helps to brighten up the salad in both flavor and visually. And in this recipe sliced fennel gives a hint of spice while avocado adds a creamy compliment to the citrus. 

  1. Start with a bag or two of pre-washed salad greens. Here I used one bag of baby spinach & arugula + one bag of spring mix. You can get about 4-6 individual servings from one bag.
  2. Prepare 3 to 4 oranges from the variety list below.
  3. Cut 1 bulb of fennel following these instructions.
  4. Peel and slice 1 or 2 avocados. Sprinkle with lime juice to help preserve color and slow browning.
  5. Add the greens to a large serving plate or bowl.
  6. Arrange the citrus fruit in an attractive pattern, on top of the salad greens.
  7. Place the sliced avocado on the salad and sprinkle the fennel all over the top.
  8. When ready to serve, top with crumbled goat cheese and walnuts.

Cherry & Honey Vinaigrette recipe

  1. Make the simple vinaigrette up to a day ahead and refrigerate. This will save time when you’re making the other food.
  2. For the dressing you’ll combine extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, cherry juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. Use cherry juice that you drink; not the juice from jarred cherries.
  4. Put all the ingredients in a small canning jar, put the lid on and give it a good shake to mix everything together. Pour it into a pretty cruet to serve on the table.

You don’t need to toss the salad with the salad dressing. You can drizzle it lightly over the entire dish just before serving, or let guests drizzle it on their own portion.

PARTY TIP: You can use pomegranate or grape juice in place of the cherry juice if you like.

easy dinner party salad

What kind of oranges should I use?

Citrus fruit is very versatile. You can use a variety of oranges to make this side salad. I like to mix and match two or three types so you get a variance of flavors and colors. 

  • Navel Oranges – These are sweet and known for being easy to peel. 
  • Blood Oranges – These are probably the most beautiful oranges as they range in color from pink to red to fuchsia. The flavor can be described as “berry-tinged.” 
  • Cara Cara Orange – Cara Cara’s have a reddish tinted flesh and are sweet with berry flavor notes. 
  • Tangerine – A tangerine is lighter in color and slightly tart. Add it to balance the sweeter flavor of the navel orange.
  • Clementine – Clementines are a small form of mandarin orange. They’re mild in flavor and easy to peel.
  • Mandarin Oranges – Small and sweet and easily found in the canned fruit section making them a quick and easy option for this salad.
  • Valencia Oranges – They’re sweet and large and probably the most common type you’ll find.
  • Grapefruit – Although a grapefruit is not technically an orange, it IS a cross between a sweet orange and a pomelo. Grapefruit can add complexity to this salad as it can add a sour note, or a sweet-tart flavor. 

PARTY TIP: For a quick and easy version of this salad, just add canned mandarin oranges instead of cutting fresh fruit. Make sure to drain the juice before using the mandarin segments. 

More Side Green Salad Recipes

Salads are an important part of menu planning for parties. Here are some more gourmet salad recipes. 

best salad recipe

Overall I think this is one of the best salad ideas for a dinner party or weeknight meal. It’s vibrant, nutritious, and delicious.

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green salad with oranges and cherry vinaigrette recipe recipe

Green Salad with Oranges, Fennel & Avocado + Cherry Vinaigrette Recipe

Yield: varies, 4-10

This mixed green salad has a variety of oranges for complex flavor and color. The addition of fennel, avocado, goat cheese and walnuts adds savory texture for one of the best appetizer salad recipes, including homemade cherry vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 1 - 2 bags of mixed greens - baby spinach, arugula, or spring mix
  • 3-4 oranges in different varieties, peeled and sliced
  • 1 - 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bulb of fennel, sliced
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Walnuts

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons cherry juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch each, of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Arrange salad greens on a large platter.
  2. Top with sliced oranges and avocado.
  3. Sprinkle with fennel, goat cheese, and walnuts, and serve.
  4. For salad dressing, add all ingredients to a small jar and cover tightly. Shake vigorously until well combined.
  5. Drizzle vinaigrette over entire salad just before serving, or let guests pour their own.

Notes

Use 1 bag of salad greens and 1 avocado for 4-6 guests;

Use 2 bags of greens and 2 avocados for 8-10 guests.

You can substitute the cherry juice with pomegranate or grape juice.

Did you make this recipe?

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