Perhaps paradoxically for those of us that live in Maine, winter is citrus season for the warmer parts of the world, as oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits in sunny groves reach their peak ripeness. Even though we don’t have citrus growing locally, there is plenty of inexpensive citrus in the grocery store that can give you some much-needed vitamins, nutrients and a splash of bright flavor into your meals.
Here are 13 recipes featuring citrus that will add a little sunshine to your diet this winter.
Sauteed Brussel sprouts with lemon vinaigrette
This recipe is the perfect marriage of cool-season cole crops that grows well in chilly Maine with the citrus shipped from more tropical locales. The recipe is simple, combining thinly sliced Brussels sprouts sauteed to a golden perfection with a warm lemon and garlic vinaigrette. The brightness of the lemon perfectly complements the tender Brussels sprouts. Check out this recipe for sauteed Brussel sprouts with lemon vinaigrette to see for yourself.
Orange ricotta pancakes with cranberry orange syrup
If you’re looking for a decadent breakfast, featuring a splash of citrus, you have to make these pancakes. They are light and fluffy with bright hints of orange. A bitter-tart cranberry orange syrup that has hints of smooth bourbon takes it to the next level. Here’s a recipe for orange ricotta pancakes with cranberry orange syrup, both from the blog Sugar and Soul.
This is a fantastic and surprising way to use cranberries, which are also plentiful at the grocery store this time of year. The tart berry is tempered with citrusy lime, sweet sugar and spicy jalapenos. The combination of flavors is sure to punch up your family’s Taco Tuesday. Try this recipe for cranberry salsa from the blog Clearly Delicious and have your tortilla chips ready for when you do.
Spicy cilantro lime aioli
This Spicy Cilantro Lime Aioli is the perfect pairing for chicken empanadas, tortilla chips or even as a spread on your favorite sandwiches. A blend of cilantro, jalapeños, lime, garlic and spices can also make for an addictive dip. Check out this simple recipe for spicy cilantro lime aioli from the blog Sugar and Soul.
Ginger-lime sticky wings
Bring this fun bar snack home with a spicy variation. Barbecue wings are delicious, sure, but these spicy, citrusy (and, as the name suggests, sticky) chicken wings bring a whole new dimension to the flavor palette of your favorite finger food. Here’s a delicious recipe for ginger-lime sticky wings from the blog Girl Carnivore.
Mussels are a classic Maine staple, but it is nice to mix up the classic garlic and butter with some spicy, tangy flavor. This seafood dish is elevated with the juice of two limes — but you might want to pick up four, in case you want to double this delicious recipe. Check out this recipe for Asian-style mussels that will help utilize those limes you have lying around.
Orange braised carrots
A punch of zesty orange adds an unexpected brightness to the classic carrot side dish. Plus, as yet another cold-weather crop, carrots are another way to add local food into your citrusy menu. Check out this recipe for orange braised carrots from the blog Sugar and Soul.
Lemon crumb muffins
Waking up to a delicious citrusy muffin for breakfast is one of the best ways to start a winter day. These lemon crumb muffins have a subtle lemoniness, and the rich crumb topping delivers a pleasant sweetness and texture that is also not overpowering. Check out this scrumptious recipe for lemon crumb muffins.
Grapefruit olive oil cake
You may not traditionally associate grapefruit with dessert, but this simple cake really shows how the tart citrus fruit can shine as a sweet treat. Olive oil cakes are light and fluffy with a crispy crust, almost like a cross between angel food cake and meringue. Top it with sugared grapefruit wedges for extra panache. Here’s a recipe for grapefruit olive oil cake from the blog Sugar and Soul.
Lemon blueberry cupcakes
If you are looking for something a little bit sweeter than a muffin, a cupcake might be the way to go. It’s not blueberry season anymore, but you can easily get delicious, nutrient-dense frozen Maine blueberries that will work just as well for this recipe once they are defrosted. As an added benefit, you can make this recipe using a single bowl. Here’s how to make lemon blueberry cupcakes.
Lemon oregano pasta salad
Pasta salad might seem like a dish better suited for summer cookouts, but this pasta salad takes advantage of all of the things that you might have in your pantry or refrigerator during the winter: onions, broccoli (frozen or otherwise), garlic, honey and dried oregano, all joined with the lemon to make a tangy vinaigrette. Here is a recipe for lemon oregano pasta salad.
Cranberry orange bread
Like oranges, cranberries are another food that is prevalent throughout the grocery store this time of year. This cranberry orange bread takes advantage of both for a sweet treat with unexpected pops of flavor. This bread is easy to make and pairs well with orange marmalade for breakfast or a sweet glaze for dessert. Check out this recipe for cranberry orange bread from blogger Cast Iron Recipes.
Homemade electrolyte drinks
Ok, it’s not a “recipe” per se, but who among us has ever run out of Gatorade that was badly needed after a long, hard workout? If you have citrus, you can easily make your own electrolyte drink for your fitness regime. Here is how to make your own electrolyte-boosting drink with natural citrus ingredients.