Robin’s Healthy Take: Savory Grapefruit

by in Robin's Healthy Take, January 16, 2012
Have you tried grapefruit in savory recipes?

Grapefruit season is awesome. The tangy, vitamin C-rich fruit provides a burst of sunshine when the days are short and cold. At home, we enjoy grapefruit halves for breakfast, but I also love using the juice, sections and grated rind in savory dishes. Behold two amazing dishes showcasing these round wonders. The first is a fresh and wonderful baked chicken dish bursting with tart grapefruit, sweet honey and tangy Dijon mustard. The minced onion and garlic create a fabulous crust while lending their own distinct flavors. The second dish is a shrimp salad, loaded with grapefruit, black beans, green onions and cilantro. The vinaigrette is light and refreshing and reminiscent of the Southwest thanks to chili powder and cumin. For a spicy version, add a few dashes of hot sauce. Both dishes use the grated peel, juice and grapefruit sections. Here’s how to get the sections:

Slice off both ends of grapefruit and stand flat on a cutting board, one cut side up (the grapefruit will be standing on the second cut side). Using a sharp knife, cut from the top to the bottom to remove the skin and white portion (pith), exposing (and leaving intact) the flesh and grapefruit sections. Use a sharp knife to cut the grapefruit flesh from each individual section. When the recipe below calls for juice, squeeze what’s left of the grapefruit’s core (the part that held the sections).

One more thing, I used pink grapefruit in both recipes because I prefer their color and sweetness but you can use any variety you like.

grapefruit-glazed chicken

Grapefruit-Glazed Chicken With Honey and Dijon

Serves 4

Cooking spray

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 5 ounces each)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 pink grapefruit

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup minced white onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper and place in prepared pan. Set aside.

Zest 1 teaspoon of grapefruit peel. Section grapefruit as described above. Squeeze 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice from remaining grapefruit.

In a medium bowl, whisk together grapefruit juice and zest, honey, mustard and thyme. Fold in grapefruit sections, onion and garlic. Spoon mixture over chicken. Bake 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Top chicken with parsley just before serving.

shrimp salad

Southwest Shrimp Salad with Grapefruit and Black Beans

Serves 4

1 pound extra large raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined

2 pink grapefruit

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Steam shrimp in a colander over simmering water until bright pink and cooked through (about 3-5 minutes).

Meanwhile, zest 1 teaspoon of grapefruit peel. Section grapefruit as described above. Squeeze 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice from remaining grapefruit.

In a large bowl, whisk together grapefruit juice and zest, oil, chili powder and cumin. Fold in shrimp, grapefruit sections, black beans, green onions and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

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Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at

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Comments (7)

  1. cjfergie23 says:

    Haven't touched grapefruit in yrs. It the one food that should NOT be eaten if on a cholesterol lowering medication. It affects the potency of other meds as well.

  2. Kat says:

    This is true CJ – i hear it from my MIL all the time. So this chicken dish (that looks really good) will be a "during the week" dish I will try or on a Sunday when she isn't joining us for dinner (which is rare)

  3. Grapefruit Nut says:

    I love the grapefruit rule. As my doc once said, it's not like we go over the speed limit all the time. He simply said to take it easy on the grapefruit dishes, and once in a blue moon, say a month, wouldn't really damage my cholesterol readings.

  4. TRISH says:

    Oh how I miss eating grapefruit! But beware because there are a lot of medications that shouldn't be taken with grapefruit in your diet. If you are on daily medication, call your pharmacist and ask if grapefruit is okay with your meds. And there is an enzyme or something that hangs out in your body for a few days. I asked my pharmacist if I spaced grapefruit 12 hours apart from my meds if that would be okay. He said no, just stay away from grapefruit with my current meds.

  5. The Omnivore says:

    I never like grapefruit as a kid but now, as I prefer tarty flavors, it's definitely grown on me. I occasionally like the pink ones plain for breakfast (I drizzle a little honey or agave syrup over them). I also mix them with oranges and lettuce to make a citrus salad. I love the idea of mixing them with proteins, though. The shrimp salad sounds divine; I could even see "vegetarianizing" it by upping the black beans and dropping out the shrimp!

  6. The Omniovre says:

    For those of you who can't eat grapefruit: this inspired me to make a very similar version of the chicken with lemon and it was fantastic! I also made a vegetarian version with some eggplant slices — yum yum! And if you're off sugar as I am, just substitute a couple of drops of stevia for the honey.

    Here's what I came up with. Thanks for the inspiration, Robin!

  7. Mike Carmo says:

    The Birch of the Shadow…

    I believe there may well be considered a couple of duplicates, but an exceedingly handy checklist! I’ve tweeted this. Quite a few thanks for sharing!…

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