Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Basil

February 25, 2011

<img alt="Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Basil"/>

Grapefruit finds its way into my basket when I’m at the market.  I always have good intentions when I grab one or more of the pinkish-orange orbs of bracingly sweet tart fruit imagining that I’ll eat one a day.  We all know that imaging something doesn’t quite make it happen, so once home, the grapefruit are wedged to the back of the bin in my refrigerator by other seemingly more important orbs of wonderfulness or left to gather dust and sunlight each morning on the top level of my “other ingredients” rack.  Looks beautiful for a while, and then, well, it becomes yet another science experiment.

What is wrong with me?

If I had to line up citrus in the order it’s been a factor in my life, oranges would be first on the list.  This can’t be significant because my mother put them in my lunch box on most days.  She’d score the skin to make it easy to peel and I always thought that was pretty cool.  Sometimes, she’d quarter them, sprinkle them with salt and seal them in a baggie, making them extra juicy by the time lunch rolled around in my school kid day.  Makes me want an orange with salt just thinking about it.  For the sake of contrast, my sister would have lemons first on her citrus list because she ate them like oranges when she was little, right from the rind.  I still haven’t figured out how she could do that.  I’d suck on a lemon, too, but it had to be dipped in the sugar bowl first, and that was risking certain death if my mother found out about it.

Tangerines had to be next on the list because how much effort does it take to eat one?  Zero, thanks to that peeling, and seeds or no seeds, the sections come right apart.  Having lived in a beautiful place with two tangerine trees once upon a time, I am lucky to have memories of eating them sun-warmed right from the tree, and images of my youngest, still in diapers, sitting with my mother on the hill where the trees grew while she taught him to peel them.

Grapefruit was always last on the list, requiring a sprinkle of sugar to ward off the tartness just like that wedge of lemon. When I saw them in the house, I remember thinking my mother was on a diet more than it was fruit destined for me.  Thankfully I figured out how to eat grapefruit without sugar at some point in my life.  I’m thinking it was when I started teaching.  Anything that could be eaten on the run worked and became a habit because there was no time during the day to think about food — ever.

Ruby Reds probably had quite a bit to do with my learning to eat a grapefruit like an orange because they’re so sweet, but I have more time on my hands now, so can actually take the time to enjoy them with a fork and knife on a plate with avocado and a few other salad ingredients instead of having to clean up the juice that inevitably runs down my arm when I eat them from the peel.

If you’re someone who feels salad isn’t appealing at this time of year, don’t deny your body the flavor or nutrition this salad packs.  Get yourself warmed up with a cup of soup first, then dig into the salad.

No excuses.

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Basil and Lime

about 1/4 grapefruit and avocado per serving

fresh basil leaves

a bit of thinly sliced red onion

crumbled goat cheese

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

squeeze of half a key lime

sea salt & cracked pepper

This salad works best on a plate for me.  Large pieces down first, then add the basil, onions, and cheese.  Lime juice before the olive oil.  Perfect with Maldon sea salt.  I like to cut it up to mix the flavors and make sure each bite has a bit of everything.

Recipe Notes:

  • Try it with cilantro or arugula instead of basil.  Substitute Feta or Cotija for the goat cheese.  Give hazelnut oil a go instead of olive oil, or maybe a bit of chili oil.  Better yet, add some very nice thinly sliced roasted red jalapenos to get beneficial capsaicin as well.  Don’t have limes?  Lemons or oranges will also taste well squeezed over this salad.  Want more of a crunch?  Add some sliced cucumbers.  Need some protein beyond what the cheese provides?  Add a bit of proscuitto.
  • This salad is amazingly good for your body.  Grapefruit — especially that Ruby Red — is full of that amazing phytonutrient, lycopene (like tomatoes — especially cooked tomatoes) which is known to help fight oxygen free radicals. They’re also packed with Vitamin C.  Read more about the nutritional wonders of grapefruit here.  Avocados do contain a high percentage of fat and we know that fat is fat as far as calories go, but it’s monosaturated fat — just like the fat in the olive oil.  However, the avocado oil is thought to increase the absorption of the lycopene, increasing its benefit.   Read more here.
  • To help with the “salad isn’t winter food” dilemma, make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.  I don’t like cold salad even on hot days so always serve salad at a reasonable room temp.
  • In other news, I just treated myself to a dwarf Meyer lemon tree for my patio.  It’s loaded with blossoms and I have just the spot for it where, when the windows are open, I will be able to smell the intoxicating fragrance.  Can’t wait.  Clearly, I’ll have even more to say about lemons than I have.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

A&N February 25, 2011

Love the first picture. I’m one of those people who can’t eat salads in cold weather. But give me avocado any day! I do the same with grapefruit. Sigh. Have you tried broiling them with a sprinkling of sugar?

Reply

Kelly February 25, 2011

Yes, I have broiled them, but only once to see what it was like. I even made the edges all jagged like I’ve seen. The flavor was pretty amazing!

Reply

Joanne February 26, 2011

I used to think of grapefruits only as diet food as well, but they’ve come to be one of my favorite winter fruits! I crave them constantly during the winter months. This salad is such a perfect balance of acid and fat that it must taste absolutely delicious! I am definitely going to have to give it a try!

Reply

kellypea February 26, 2011

What I like most about simple salads like this — especially with avocado — is that they can actually be creamy once they’re mixed, just like something you’d put a dressing on. So good!

Reply

Kalynskitchen February 26, 2011

I love grapefruit and love the ingredients you’ve combined it with here!

Reply

kellypea February 26, 2011

Thanks, Kalyn — really a nice combo. :)

Reply

Becky February 26, 2011

Looks really, really good. Can walk into the backyard for the fruit and by spring for the basil as well. Keep the good food coming.

Reply

kellypea February 26, 2011

You’re so lucky to have that great backyard and the fruit trees! I’m working how how to grow a few things in my small space, though. We’ll see how the new lemon tree goes once this cold weather is past :)

Reply

wes February 26, 2011

love your pictures!

Reply

kellypea February 26, 2011

Thanks! I keep on working on them, more at this point from the camera end instead of relying always on editing. A bit of sharpening does wonders if something is shot in natural light. Thanks for stopping by here.

Reply

The Food Hound February 26, 2011

First of all, this looks amazing. Second, I LOVE LOVE LOVE grapefruit!! I really do eat one every day! It’s like a bright spot in the middle of winter :) Glad you started to eat them without sugar to truly appreciate their awesome flavor!!

Reply

El February 27, 2011

I’m not sure how you’re sister ate lemons from the rind. She must have an iron palate! I’m with you on the order of citrus. The salad you made is lovely!

Reply

kellypea March 3, 2011

Thanks El — my sister is one tough customer on many fronts. She likes all the sour spicy stuff — like those little pearl onions that come in a jar. She’d eat those when she was a baby if you can believe it. It’s pretty cool, actually.

Reply

Jenn, Leftover Queen February 28, 2011

I really like what you did with the grapefruit in this salad. I am like you, I like the idea of them, but once home, they never seem to get eaten. But I think mixed in a more savory salad, it would work beautifully! It certainly looks beautiful!

Reply

Missy March 1, 2011

Awesome pictures~ makes my mouth water. I love grapefruit too, but with a sprinkling of sea salt. Come to think of it, I like salt on all my fruit. Wonder what that means ~ maybe I just need a salt lick :)

Reply

kellypea March 3, 2011

Okay, Missy. I still miss you on FB, but it’s good that you drop in here once in a while, so thanks! And because of this, I did sprinkle on some salt today. I should have known this would be good because I eat salt on watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, and apples and love it. A little sprinkle does it :)

Reply

lo March 2, 2011

Woman, you make some of the best looking salads on this earth — and this one is no exception. I also have to smirk a bit as I read this post. For some reason, grapefruit always seem to meet the same fate in our fridge… though I couldn’t tell you why. I actually really LIKE them, though I find their pulpiness a bit repulsive at times. And yet, they never get used up quite as quickly as the oranges, tangerines, lemons or limes… poor grapefruit.

Reply

kellypea March 3, 2011

I figured I was not the only one out there who mistreated their grapefruit. Ha! I know what you mean about the pulp and have this new semi obsession with cutting them differently to remove as much as I can. Then I pop the wedge into my mouth and of course, the juice dribbles down my arm. SO annoying. But good. :) Thanks for liking my salads!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: