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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Keeping Citrus Simple with Lime, Lemon, and Orange

Picture of a lemon, lime, and orange on white background

Winter is the season for citrus fruits. Today, let's look at citrus that are available almost all year round in grocery stores: limes, lemons, and orange juice. For a long list naming other citrus fruits, along with shopping and storage tips for citrus fruits, check out How Many Citrus Fruits Can You Name?

Since lemon, lime, and orange are familiar flavors to many of us, let's jump right into some tasty recipes! If you want to watch these recipes be made, check out our Citrus Four Way video.

Cilantro Lime Dressing (Serves 8, 2-Tbsp serving)

Dressing being poured over salad

1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves 
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp minced red onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Wash hands.
2. Wash cilantro. Remove leaves and throw out stems. Measure to 1/4 cup.
3. Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in blender until slightly combined.
4. With blender running, slowly add olive oil until it is incorporated into the dressing. 
5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Use within 4 days.

Tip: Top a salad of lettuce greens, corn, black beans, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado, leftover cooked chicken, and cheddar cheese with the dressing.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 160 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 75mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g protein


Honey Glazed Carrots (serves 6)

Baby carrots on white plate

1 lb fresh baby carrots
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp butter (or margarine)
2 Tbsp honey

1. Wash hands.
2. Place carrots in a microwave-safe casserole dish and add water. Cover and microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain any liquid from carrots and set aside.
3. In a separate microwave-safe bowl, stir the orange juice and cornstarch until smooth. Add the butter and honey, cover, and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until the mixture is thick.
4. Stir the honey mixture and the carrots together, cover, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Serve hot.

Nutrition Facts per serving:  120 calories, 6g fat, 180mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 2g protein


Lemon Bars (Serves 16)

Lemon bar triangles with lemon slice on white plate

1/2 cup white or regular whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp lemon zest, divided 
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp powdered sugar (optional)

1. Wash hands.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8x8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
3. Stir flours, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in butter and lemon zest until crumbly. Press the mixture down evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake the crust until it has puffed up slightly, about 15 minutes.
4. While crust is baking, prepare filling. Whisk sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, and flour in a medium bowl until smooth. When crust has finished baking, pour the filling mixture evenly over the hot crust.
5. Return the pan to the oven and bake until set, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least another hour before serving.
6. To serve, cut into squares or triangles with a lightly oiled knife. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 105 calories, 4g total fat (2g saturated fat), 19mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein

Source:  Leia Kedem, Moderation Maven, Nutrition & Wellness Educator, 2014


Post originally published in 2016; content updated in 2020.


Healthy Eats and Repeat
How much difference is there between canned and frozen foods? How should you cook venison? When is the best time to buy avocados? Get answers to these questions as well as other tips, tutorials and recipes for common kitchen foods and items with University of Illinois Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator Caitlin Mellendorf’s blog Healthy Eats and Repeat. Build your best life. Trust Extension to help.

Caitlin Mellendorf is an Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties in Central Illinois. She is a Registered Dietitian and her work focuses on helping community members gain the knowledge, skills and tools to live healthier, more nutritious lifestyles. This includes providing programs and answering questions about heart health, diabetes, food safety, food preservation, grocery shopping and cooking. You can reach Caitlin by email at or call 217.877.6042. Check out her nutrition blog Healthy Eats and Repeats for seasonal recipes and of an exploration of common kitchen foods.