The Washington Post

Gem Salad With Grapefruit, Pickled Onions and Avocado Dressing

Gem Salad With Grapefruit, Pickled Onions and Avocado Dressing 6.000

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Nourish Mar 5, 2020

In this salad, cool, crisp lettuce leaves are tossed with a luxuriously rich (but healthful) avocado, yogurt and herb dressing, then topped with juicy grapefruit segments (you could substitute orange segments, if you prefer), and a crunch of zingy quick-pickled onions. It’s a stunning salad that is not only bursting with fresh flavor but also pairs well with soups, stews, roasts or chilis.

Storage Notes: The pickled onions can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • For the pickled onions
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion (half-moons)
  • For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro or basil leaves
  • 1 scallion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (low-fat or full fat)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • For the salad
  • 2 red grapefruits
  • 8 cups (4 ounces) lightly packed torn gem or romaine lettuce leaves

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Make the pickled onions: In a small bowl, whisk together the hot water with the honey until fully combined; then whisk in the vinegar. Add the onions and let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Make the dressing: In a small bowl of a food processor, pulse the cilantro or basil with the scallion until finely chopped. Add the avocado, vinegar, yogurt, water, salt and pepper and process until smooth.

Make the salad: Cut the top and bottom off each grapefruit, then, resting the fruit on one end, remove the peel and pith by cutting down from top to bottom, following the shape of the fruit with your knife. While holding the fruit over a wide bowl, use a paring knife to remove each section of grapefruit from its membranes (this is called supreming the fruit), collecting the sections in the bowl. Squeeze the juice from what's left of the fruit into the same bowl.

In a large bowl, gently toss the lettuce with the dressing until evenly coated. To serve, place about 1 1/2 cups of the dressed lettuce onto each serving plate. Pluck 3 to 4 segments of grapefruit and place them on top of each salad serving (reserve the juice for another use -- or drink it) and several slices of the pickled onion. Serve, grinding more black pepper, to taste.

Recipe Source

From cookbook author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (without pickled onion): 90

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 5g 8%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 100mg 4%

Total Carbohydrates: 11g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 4g 16%

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 2g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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