Spinach Salad with Asparagus & Cara Cara Oranges


How could I resist picking up such a beautiful bunch of fresh spinach to use in my salad?  The obvious answer is that I couldn’t.  I almost gave it a little hug before I put it in my basket at the market.  Along with slender spears of Spring asparagus, French Breakfast Radishes, Cara Cara orange segments, scallions and toasted walnuts dressed with a light citrusy vinaigrette, my spinach salad is starting to look more like a meal than just a green salad.  I like spinach salad with a light dressing, plenty of veggies and with the addition of fresh sliced oranges, it’s even better.  I found the pinky orange  flesh colored Cara Cara oranges at the Farmer’s Market this week.  They are a special variety of juicy low acid (sweeter) seedless naval oranges that are grown in California and available from December through April.  This time of year when the market is bursting with citrus fruits, it’s a good time to look for and pick up Cara Cara oranges.  If you like oranges give them a try in your spinach salad, you might even want to give them a little hug.

Spinach Salad with Asparagus & Cara Cara Oranges

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 large bunch fresh spinach, washed, dried and leaves separated
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, washed, tough ends snapped off
  • 4 Cara Cara oranges, peeled, thickly sliced and separated into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions, white and light green parts only
  • 1 small bunch French breakfast radishes, washed, trimmed and cut into slices
  • 2/3 cup walnut halves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Place the spinach leaves in a large salad bowl and set aside.
  2. To Make the Vinaigrette
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, honey, oils, salt and pepper to taste, set aside.
  4. Blanch the asparagus spears in simmering water for 2-3 minutes, remove and plunge in a bowl of ice water, remove and drain when thoroughly chilled.
  5. Place the walnut halves in a hot non-stick skillet, gently stir to lightly brown.
  6. Sprinkle the sugar on to the hot walnuts with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper, stir to coat walnuts- continue stirring and cooking until dark brown and shiny spots form on edges on walnuts (turn on the exhaust fan-will be smoky) -remove from heat and cool.
  7. Add the asparagus spears, orange pieces, scallions, radishes and broken up walnut halves to the salad bowl with the spinach.
  8. Add the vinaigrette, gently toss to coat everything and serve.

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  1. What a lovely spring salad…so colorful. Your photos look like I could take a fork and reach through the computer and take a bite.

  2. What a beautiful and delicious looking salad Patti. I love everything about it! Gorgeous colors!

  3. Hooray for early spring, and all the beautifully coloured fruits & veggies that arrive along with it! Just looking at this salad is clearing away my cold-weather blues.

    Happy Easter weekend to you and your family, Patty! xo

  4. I just discovered Cara Cara oranges this year and couldn’t stop eating them all winter! I love the idea of tossing them into a fresh, colorful salad like this. Delicious recipe, Patty! Can’t wait to try it.

  5. That has to be one of the freshest looking, beautiful salads I’ve ever seen, Patty! Happy Easter!

  6. Beautiful salad, Patty! I love the mixture of colors and textures!

  7. I asked my sister what could I bring to Easter dinner to go along with lamb. Spinach salad or asparagus. She voted for the salad . . . now I think I might do both. Were you reading my mind? (I fell in love the asparagus at the market, too. Bought them even if I wasn’t planning to put them in the salad.)

  8. A delightful spring salad, Patty.

  9. I wish I liked salads and veggies because this looks delightful. So fresh and healthy. :) But I guess I’d just pick off the oranges. I might hate veggies but I do love my fruit!

  10. I think I would hug those beautiful breakfast radishes :-)
    Beautiful salad.

  11. What a beautiful salad appetizingly dressed. May not be able to get Cara Cara oranges in Australia but there are always substitutes and our slowly approaching autumn does not set me back as I eat salads throughout the year :) !

  12. Happy Easter Patty. That is a fabulous looking spring salad. I love the pictures.

  13. I want to hug that entire salad!! It’s gawwwwdgeous! Gimme a bite, pleeeease!

  14. P.S. Where are my manners?!?! HAPPY EASTER!!

  15. You’ve been posting the most beautiful salads lately! This one looks beautiful and delicious.

  16. That looks absolutely delicious Patty! Hope you and your family are having a wonderful Easter!

  17. I love a nice green salad with some fruit and nuts added in to make it extra tasty. Hope you had a fabulous Easter Patty.

  18. I am so ready for Spring! Bring on the salads!

  19. What a gorgeous spring salad. So fresh and flavorful. I love the addition of the cara cara oranges. How lovely! Thank you for sharing Patty. Always a pleasure to visit here!

  20. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I hope you had a lovely Easter, Patty. Gorgeous and fresh salad. I need this every day this week after Easter sweets and feast;)

  21. What a delicious spring salad! I have some asparagus in my fridge that I need to make tomorrow, this sounds like a great option!

  22. Yum, I want some of those oranges. I just might be headed back out to your market on the 11th. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I need to get back in the kitchen and make some healthy things like this salad. Happy Wednesday my friend.

  23. Patty – you create amazing salads and this one is no exception! I am in love with Cara Cara oranges and the flavor is to die for. Lovely photos!!!!

  24. I just picked up some cars-cara oranges this week–will have to add them to a salad soon. This would be so perfect for lunch or dinner.

    Hope you had a wonderful Easter, Patty!

  25. What a beautiful salad! Cara-Cara oranges are my absolute favorite and I will be so sad to see the season end. Your vinaigrette sounds delightful.

  26. I just LOVE every ingredient in this salad Patty! The only way I like to eat salad is to mix it with fruits, nuts, cheeses, interesting vinaigrettes, etc. This is perfect!

  27. What a beautiful salad – it just shouts ‘Spring’! Cara cara oranges are so flavorful. I am with you on using citrus in salads, well any kind of fruit. We have been getting strawberries in our CSA box and I have been slicing some in my green salads. The contrast of the fruit with the greens and slices of radishes and/or carrots is so very tasty.

  28. made this last night for a neighborhood dinner – fantastic! Thanks for sharing with us.

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