Citrus Salad with Figs

valleyfiggrowers@alkalyne.comRecipes, Salads

citrus watercress salad

When winter arrives, it brings a bounty of citrus…and citrus salads with figs is the antidote to grey skies. Figs in salad recipes aren’t just for summer.

Winter Citrus: Salads with Figs

A combination of bittersweet grapefruit and bright orange combine to balance each other out. For the salad, you’ll cut the citrus cross-wise into pretty rounds that both adds visual appeal and juicy citrus with the watercress.

Citrus is a natural flavor partner to figs. They just seem to draw out the best in each other. For an example of this, you’ll find many of the Chef Joanne Weir recipes pair lemon with figs or oranges with figs, like this orange quinoa salad with figs, ginger, and mint, or like the Citrus Salad Recipe below from America’s Test Kitchen.

Figs in Salad

Premium Sun-Maid and Orchard Choice Mission Figs and Golden Figs both are beautiful—and bring something different to citrus salads. Golden Figs tend to be milder and especially good with orange and honey. Mission Figs with their bolder fig flavor especially work well with the grapefruit.

How to Pull the Salad Together

Savory salads made with oranges and grapefruits are an impressive way to showcase colorful winter fruit—but only if you can work with the grapefruits’ bitterness and prevent the fruit’s ample juice from drowning the other components.

We started by treating the fruit with salt to counter its bitter notes (a technique we’ve used in the past with coffee and eggplant), but the salt pulled even more juice out of the fruit and onto our platter. Draining the seasoned fruit enabled us to preemptively remove the excess juice, some of which we used in the dressing for the salad greens.

Salted nuts added richness that contrasted nicely with the fruit and the assertively flavored greens, and dried fruit added texture and sweetness to this citrus salad with figs.

Substitution Ideas

You may substitute tangelos or Cara Caras for the navel oranges. Valencia or blood oranges can also be used, but because they are smaller, increase the number of these fruits to four. We prefer golden figs in salad recipes like this one, though Black Mission can be substituted.

Citrus Salad with Figs

Brighten your winter meals with a Citrus Salad with Figs. An easy way to introduce crunchy texture and sweetness is to add California Figs in salad recipes.
citrus watercress salad
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 red grapefruits
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup pecans chopped coarse
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces watercress torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
  • 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed and cut into ¼-inch pieces


  • Cut away peel and pith from grapefruits and oranges. Cut each fruit in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into ¼-inch- thick pieces. Transfer fruit to bowl and toss with sugar and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Melt butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer pecans to paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
  • Drain fruit in colander set over bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons juices. Transfer fruit to platter, arrange in even layer, and drizzle with oil. Whisk shallot, mustard, and reserved juices together in medium bowl. Add watercress, ½ cup figs, and ¼ cup pecans and toss to combine.
  • Arrange watercress mixture over fruit, leaving 1-inch border around edges. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup figs and remaining ¼ cup pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Recipe and photo by Cook’s Country

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