Winter Salad with Grapefruit, Crispy Quinoa, and Jalapeño-Mint Vinaigrette Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Winter Salad with Grapefruit, Crispy Quinoa, and Jalapeño-Mint Vinaigrette Recipe

Photography by Victoria Wall Harris

I for one am in need of a Plant Based RESET.  Who is with me?  If you are curious about how to eat more plants, then you should take advantage of my Plant Based Bootcamp, which is a 4-week course where I teach you the basics about a plant based diet – nutrients, what to cook, products, proteins, how not to gain weight, and more.  We start next week and I’d love to have you join!  Early bird discount code is PB100 for $100 off! After 12 days in New York of eating pizza, sourdough, babka, sourdough, cheese, pizza, wine, cookies, sourdough, you get the picture – I NEED AND CRAVE SOME GREENS.   I enjoyed the holiday food and now I am done with it.  I have reached my enjoyment threshold!

Intuitive eating is quite the buzz right now, and if I am going with my gut, so to speak, I feel like I want a lot of plant food.  A fresh salad with lots of texture and seasonal ingredients would fit the bill.  I remember teaching this salad last year and so many of my students mentioned how it was such a welcome reprieve from a lot of heavy, wintry foods.

I tried to come up with a salad with a few of my favorite flavors – tart, spicy, herby- and one of my favorite salad add-ins, crispy quinoa!  A restaurant in my area makes a fabulous salad with crispy quinoa and I order it just because of the quinoa.  It’s airy and crunchy and nice a small, so it’s the perfect texture in every bite.  I tried to recreate it once by sauteeing the quinoa in a skillet, but it wasn’t quite the same.  But the oven – that was the secret!  Like I always say, you can take whatever you like from one salad recipe and mix and match with other salad recipes.  This quinoa can go with everything!

By the same token, so does the dressing.  This jalapeno-mint vinaigrette is so delicious and fresh.  It’s perfect with creamy avocados and sturdy greens, as well as grapefruit which I decided I can’t wait to eat more of in 2021. If you wanted to add protein to this salad, the dressing is divine with fresh or canned salmon or tuna, as well as white beans and chickpeas.

Let me know if you make this by tagging me on Instagram @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman .  I just love seeing your creations and I can’t wait to hear how much you love this salad.  Here’s to better health in 2021!!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Winter Salad with Grapefruit, Crispy Quinoa, and Jalapeño-Mint Vinaigrette
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (or more if you love it)
  • 2 grapefruits or 1 pommelo
  • Vinaigrette*
  • Grapefruit juice after segmenting grapefruits + enough unseasoned rice vinegar to equal ⅓ cup
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ jalapeño, stem and seeds discarded (optional, but such nice complement to the mint)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup unrefined cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups arugula or baby spinach or your favorite lettuce
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 4 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • A generous handful of broccoli sprouts, if desired (so good for you!)
  • Flaky salt (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Toss the quinoa with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and spread quinoa evenly over the baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10 -15 minutes or until crispy. Set aside to cool.
  2. Segment grapefruit (see my blogpost on segmenting citrus). Squeeze membranes into a measuring cup and add enough rice vinegar to the juice to total ⅓ cup. Set aside.
  3. Make vinaigrette: in a blender, combine grapefruit juice-rice vinegar mixture, shallot, garlic, mint leaves, jalapeño (if using), salt and pepper. While the blender is running, slowly pour in the oil and process until completely smooth.
  4. Assemble salad: Place greens on a platter and toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Sprinkle with crispy quinoa. Arrange the grapefruit, avocado and radishes on top and drizzle with some more dressing. Top with sprouts if desired and a sprinkle of flaky salt.
Also delicious with feta, walnuts or pistachios.

How to segment citrus fruit

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  1. Hi Pamela. Another great salad — very refreshing taste and beautiful presentation.. Baking the cooked quinoa is worth the effort because it adds chewiness to this multi-textured salad. Next time, I’ll make the dressing and bake the quinoa a day ahead of time, to save on prep time. Thank you!

    • Totally!! Happy you gave this one a try.

  2. Recipe sounds delicious. I see the recipe calls for 2 whole grapefruits segmented. But how many segments did you use to make the dressing? All or some? And then you add rice vinegar to total a 1/3 c. Just clarifying because you then say to add grapefruit segments to the salad so I will assume that’s additional grapefruit needed. Please clarify and thank you

    • I segment both grapefruits over a bowl to catch the juice that drips. Save the segmented grapefruit for the salad. I then measure the grapefruit juice that fell into the bowl and if it’s less than 1/3 cup, I supplement with unseasoned rice vinegar to reach the 1/3 cup mark. If you have really juicy grapefruits, you may get lucky and not need to supplement with rice vinegar. Here’s a post for how I segment citrus:

  3. Hi! I cannot wait to make this! I love ALL of your salad recipes from QTQ so I’m sure it’ll be delicious! I’m wondering if I can make the dressing ahead of time? (About 2 days before serving.) thank you!

    • Totally!

  4. Do you rinse the quinoa before baking? Thank you.

    • I don’t rinse quinoa before cooking, but you certainly can. The quinoa must be cooked before baking it in the oven.

  5. What would be a good substitute for the grapefruit? Grapefruit interferes with some medications. I cant wait to make this salad for my sister who will be recovering from lung surgery.

    Thanks and Happy New year!

    • Orange, kumquat, or pomelo would all work well if your sister can have citrus fruits. Otherwise you can omit and it will still be delicious!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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