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Recipe: Orange Romaine Salad

By Greg Dunne                                       

March 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) The winter months are the peak of the season for California grown Navel Oranges.  With the cold and flu season here, it’s a good time to pick up some navel oranges loaded with vitamin C.

Picking out navel oranges is an easy task.  Look for navels that are heavy in size relative to the other navels on the stand.  Usually a thin skin will indicate a juicy orange inside.  Lighter skin or slightly blemished on the outside does not necessarily mean a bad orange.  Most conventional oranges at the supermarket go through a color wash to make them a more vibrant orange.  Try to find organic oranges whenever possible.

Navels are an eating orange, whereas Valencia oranges are more traditionally a juicing orange.  I juice oranges often and when Valencia oranges are not in season, I’ll juice navels.  The best navels for juicing are smaller in size – the larger navels can be a bit pithy and a little dryer.

Keep an eye out for other varieties of navel oranges this time of year. There is the Cara Cara navel orange, which has a slightly darker flesh inside and is not as acidic. Blood oranges are also available this time of year; they are much darker inside and make a nice addition to a citrus fruit bowl.

Including more fruits in your diet can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Most healthy adults need 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit a day. Navel oranges make a healthy fruit choice as they are low in calories and high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C.

Besides all that good information, adding oranges makes a great change from the standard salad.

Orange Romaine Salad


3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ cup virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons chopped green onion

Medium head romaine lettuce, torn into bit e-size pieces

3 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced

½ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped


  1. In a small container with tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, oil, honey, salt, pepper and green onion.  Close the lid and shake vigorously to blend.
  2. Place the romaine lettuce into a large serving bowl.  Sprinkle with dressing and toss to coat.  Add orange slices and pecans and toss gently.  Serve immediately

For a more colorful salad, use a combination of Navel and Blood oranges or Cara Cara oranges.

Greg Dunne has been a produce manager for over 30 years, all here in San Diego County. He's passionate about fruits and vegetables and enjoys his work in the produce department. He can be found taking care of the local, organic and conventional produce at Barons Market in Alpine.

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Oranges are great. When I was a kid my dad planted an orange tree in the back yard. Our relatives came to visit from Michigan and were amazed to be able to pick a fresh orange from the tree to eat. Not many orange trees in Iron Mountain.