Oct 3

Avocado Grapefruit Onion Salad with Creamy Onion Dressing

in ad-free, Fruits & Vegetables, Honey, Salads, Side Dish

Avocado Grapefruit Onion Salad

I believe that the onion is one of the most underappreciated vegetables in the produce section of our grocery stores.  There’s a lot more to them than we often give them credit for.  For example: have you ever stopped to think about the fact that you can find onions year round in the produce section of any grocery store? It’s not because onions are being shipped half way around the world during their off season.  It’s because onions are smart little suckers and have two seasons!  Spring/summer onions and fall/winter onions.  Just like their seasons, the onions have different characteristics.

Fall Red Onion

Spring/summer onions (available March through August) have thinner skins and higher moisture content, whereas as fall/winter onions (available August through May) have thicker skins and lower moisture content.  Because of these traits, fall/winter onions have a long shelf-life and are also called storage onions.  On top of their convenient year-round availability, onions are good for you too!  They are high in vitamin C, a good source of fiber, and will only knock you back 45 calories per serving.  Onions are sodium, fat, and cholesterol free, and provide a number of other key nutrients.

Avocado Grapefruit Onion Salad

Okay, okay, so why am I extolling the virtues of the onion? Because this month I’m hosting the salad course of a Progressive Party sponsored by The National Onion Association (NOA) on Kitchen Play.  NOA is the official organization that represents growers, shippers, brokers, and commercial representatives of the U.S. onion industry.  I was asked to use fall/winter onions (aka, storage onions) to create a salad recipe.  I came up with a simple green salad that features crisp romaine lettuce, thin slices of red onion that have been lightly pickled, turning them a pink hue, sections of tart grapefruit, and chunks of creamy avocado.

Ingredients prepped to assemble the Avocado Grapefruit Onion Salad

The salad is tossed with a sweet creamy onion dressing (reminiscent of a poppyseed dressing, but with a bit more bite) then sprinkled with some toasted almonds for crunch.  The combination of tangy, sweet, and savory flavors will play light and bright on your tongue, while the different textures keeps this salad from being boring.  The salad dressing and pickled red onions can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator, making this salad a great choice for a dinner party when you have lots of other dishes to worry about and coordinate.  The best part for me? Squirrel, who normally doesn’t care for onions, ate 2 big helpings of this salad, onions and all.

Avocado Grapefruit Onion Salad with Creamy Onion Dressing

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Avocado Grapefruit Onion Salad with Creamy Onion Dressing

Makes about 6 servings

For the pickled red onions:
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup warm water, plus more as needed to cover the onions
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons kosher salt

For the sweet creamy onion dressing:
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white onion, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup thinly sliced almonds
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
2 large grapefruit, sectioned
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced

1. Make the pickled red onions: Whisk together the rice wine vinegar, warm water, kosher salt, and honey in a small bowl. Add the sliced onions, and stir to submerge. Add additional warm water if needed, to cover the onions completely. Let the onions sit and pickle for at least one hour.

2. Make the creamy onion dressing: Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Store the dressing in the refrigerator until the salad is ready to be served.

3. Make the toasted almonds: Place the sliced almonds in a skillet over medium heat. Stir them frequently, making sure they don’t burn, until they are golden brown and fragrant. Immediately remove them to a clean plate to cool.

4. Assemble the salad: Toss the lettuce with half of the sweet onion dressing. Add additional dressing if needed. Place in a large salad bowl. Drain the pickled red onions and arrange them on top of the lettuce. Arrange the grapefruit and avocado on top, then sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

National Onion Association Kitchen Play October Menu

I wrote this post and created this recipe as part of a partnership between Kitchen Play and The National Onion Association. They have compensated me for my time and cooking expenses but my opinions and tastes are my own.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kitchen PLAY October 3, 2011 at 3:20 am

Love this refreshing salad, Rachael. Not only am I tempted to make it for the different flavor profiles and textures (tangy, creamy, spicy, tart), but also to see if it will work some magic on my kids (who never eat salad)! Thanks for this lovely recipe.

Kitchen PLAY


Winnie October 3, 2011 at 5:04 am

Beautiful salad Rachel- I love all the elements in here! And I wholeheartedly agree about onions being under appreciated :)


Anne October 3, 2011 at 7:42 am

This sounds refreshing and good:)


Lisa {With Style and Grace} October 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

looks delicious! love the combination of avocado and grapefruit on salads.


Curt October 3, 2011 at 7:57 am

I really love the grapefruit in the salad.


LiztheChef October 3, 2011 at 9:40 am

Gorgeous photos – I hope you get your camera back SOON!


Deborah October 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

I had no idea there were 2 onion seasons. You learn something new every day !! This salad is right up my alley – looks delicious!!


Elle October 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Such a beautiful, refreshing looking salad! It is amazing how versatile onions are, isn’t it?


Jamie | My Baking Addiction October 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm

This salad is gorgeous and that dressing sounds amazing!


Megan October 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

This is one of my favorite salad combinations… plus the grapefruit, which I don’t think I’ve added before. Such a great dish!


Grandma October 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I’m going to make this as soon as I get all the ingredients. It sounds soooooo delicious. I love everything in it. Congratulations on all your successes, and the surprise pea soup too. If hubby liked pea soup I’d make that also. Luv you.


Kathryn October 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm

My grandmother used to make a very similar salad and it was an old, old recipe from her mother. Your version looks very much updated and absolutely delicious.


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