Bitter Greens Salad with Miso-Citrus Vinaigrette

close-up of a brick colored bowl filled with arugula, radicchio, and sesame seeds.

Everyone should have a low-stress salad in their back pocket. There are many ways you can go with a salad like this, but this version has become a favorite. I’ve served it at pop-up dinners and also meals with friends.

What works with it is the combination of something bitter (the greens), something sweet (the maple syrup), and something salty (the miso).

The Greens

As mentioned above, one of the delights of this salad comes from using arugula and radicchio. I like the pepperiness of the arugula and the bitterness of the radicchio. However, I don’t always have time to source a head of radicchio.

So, I’m here to say; this salad is terrific with any greens.I’ve found this dressing works well with a head of butter lettuce or even a spinach salad.

Dressing Swaps

There are two things I occasionally do differently with this dressing. For starters, you don’t necessarily have to char the citrus. Warming the citrus gets the juice flowing a bit better, but it’s up to you on whether you want to dirty a pan. Also, I’ve made this dressing with honey in place of the maple syrup. If you can get good, flavorful honey- I’d highly recommend it.


This salad can be straightforward. Most of the time, I serve it as is. However, I’ve also been known to add roasted vegetables: sweet potatoes, squash, or even some charred sweet corn. Grains can also be an excellent addition- think something chewy like einkorn or sorghum.


close-up of a brick colored bowl filled with arugula, radicchio, and sesame seeds.

Bitter Greens Salad with Miso-Citrus Vinaigrette


A simple salad that can be served with a myriad of meals. Made with minimal ingredients and ready in about 20 minutes.




1/2 grapefruit

1/2 orange

½ cup neutral oil

2 tablespoons light miso

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Pinch of salt, as needed


½ head radicchio

3 to 4 handfuls of baby arugula

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  • Heat a cast-iron grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Cut the citrus and place, cut-side down, in the hot skillet. Sear until charred. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. 
  • Take ¼ cup of that juice and place it in a jar with a lid. Add in the oil and maple syrup. Shake vigorously until well combined, and the miso has broken down. If your miso is a thick paste, I’d recommend using a blender instead. Taste and add salt if needed.
  • Remove the core of the radicchio and remove the leaves. Tear any larger leaves in half but leave the smaller leaves intact. Place in a bowl along with the arugula. Drizzle with a bit of the dressing and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Toss until everything is well coated, adding more dressing as needed. 
  • Extra dressing will keep, sealed, in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve the salad immediately as the arugula will begin to wilt. 



For the citrus, you will probably end up with more juice than you need. Use it for something else or multiple the dressing to accommodate the juice (which is what I typically do).

Also, don’t skip toasting the sesame seeds. The flavor is much different and would really be missed.

Keywords: greens salad, bitter greens salad

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