Eating for Life

Citrus packs a punch

Food styling by JILL WENDHOLT SILVA/Photo by JIM BARCUS/The Kansas City Star

Brighten up your gray winter days with this winter citrus salad. Combining orange juice and apricot spread for the dressing makes it tangy yet low in calories.


W hen winter skies turn grey and cold, citrus shines.

Even school-age children know that oranges, bursting with tangy juice, supply a whopping dose of vitamin C. But few adults know that a single orange contains 170 phytonutrients, including zeaxanthin and lutein, which prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness after age 65.

Drinking juice is a convenient way to ingest all these good-for-you nutrients, but The Star’s Winter Citrus Salad adds another way to enjoy the bounty of citrus fruits available now. We’ve paired oranges with red grapefruit segments, which contain lycopene, a phytonutrient that protects against prostate and lung cancer.

The citrus embellishes richly colored lettuce varieties, such as the sweet and tender Bibb and the slightly bitter endive. Next we added straws of jicama, a sweet, crunchy vegetable with creamy white flesh and an apple-like texture that is low in calories and sodium, contains no fat or cholesterol, provides fiber and is also a good source of vitamin C and potassium.

Of course, as any dieter knows, a pristine salad can quickly become less than a health food if caloric, high-fat dressings are drizzled over the top. Instead, we’ve opted for a splash of orange juice to echo the salad’s star garnish, then melded it with an apricot fruit spread for a flavor-packed yet low-calorie vinaigrette.

Shopping tip: Jicama (pronounced HEE-kama) is shaped like a turnip. Known as the Mexican potato, it is found in Latin markets and most supermarket produce departments. It should be peeled before using. Raw julienne strips are frequently available on salad bars.

Cooking tip: To segment an orange or grapefruit, slice off the bottom and top so it rests flat on the cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, follow the contour of the fruit and slice off all the rind, including the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, slip the blade between two membranes between each section and separate the flesh, allowing it to fall into the bowl.

Storage tip: Oranges and grapefruits should be refrigerated; they will keep for up to two weeks. Jicama can be stored in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin for up to two weeks.

Pump it up: Freshly squeezed orange juice has more nutrients than frozen or bottled juices. One medium orange should yield 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice.

Winter citrus salad

Makes 8 servings

1/3 cup apricot all-fruit spread

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon tarragon-flavored white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste

6 cups torn Bibb lettuce

2 cups torn curly endive

2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments

1 red grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments

1 cup peeled julienne-sliced jicama

Whisk together apricot fruit spread, orange juice, vinegar, olive oil and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.

Place torn lettuce in large salad bowl. Add oranges, grapefruit and jicama: toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.

Per serving: 79 calories (8 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 8 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

Recipes developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

Food styling by JILL WENDHOLT SILVA/Photo by JIM BARCUS/The Kansas City Star