This is a delightful spinach salad recipe with mandarin orange segments, homemade cinnamon-sugar almonds, and a zippy dressing that makes the whole thing work. I got the recipe from Colleen Parks, a member of our Sunday school class, who was a vegetarian with many creative ways to fix food. We were at a potluck for our class one Sunday and I think this salad was the only thing healthy enough to eat! It is so delicious. I’m not sure where Colleen got the recipe, but she gets credit for it here.
As you can see from her note at the bottom, you can put pretty much what you want in the salad, but it’s the salad dressing that is special and makes whatever combination you end up with so flavorful. The key ingredient is the hot sauce! I put several drops in it when I made it. You will love this salad. You will love the salad dressing even more!
I first published this recipe in August 2012. I have since updated the pictures so you can get a better idea of what this salad is supposed to look like! When I served it for company last week we actually added sliced kiwis to the salad and that was absolutely wonderful. You can also add sliced strawberries, if you desire. No matter how you many different ways you make this salad it turns out fantastic every time!
This is what it looks like before it is tossed with the salad dressing. I use a red Gala apple which certainly makes this salad more eye appealing.
Mandarin Spinach Salad is a wonderful salad to serve as a meatless main dish or side salad.
This salad has lots of fruit: Gala apples, Mandarin orange segments, and sliced kiwis or strawberries if you like adding them.
Here’s a look at the salad before tossing with the dressing.
Here’s what I did.
Mix iceberg or romaine lettuce with spinach leaves in a bowl. Layer diced celery, diced green onions, and diced red bell pepper on top.
Spread sliced almonds on a microwave-safe plate. Add cinnamon-sugar and butter. Microwave until almonds are slightly toasted.
Here, the almonds are slightly toasted. Toss them on top of the salad.
Add a 14-oz. can drained mandarin orange segments, and one large Gala apple, chopped.
This old picture from the first time I made this recipe is the only one that shows what the dressing looks like. It may not look all that pretty, but it tastes wonderful.
Here you can see I’ve drizzled some of the dressing over top of the salad.
The dressing has a few drops of hot sauce in it which really adds a nice zip to the salad.
Serve with salad dressing. Enjoy!
Here’s the recipe.
MANDARIN SPINACH SALAD
(Recipe adapted from Colleen Parks, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill, TX)
- ¼ cup sliced almonds or pecan pieces
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon sugar
- 1 teaspoon butter
- ¼ head lettuce, torn
- ¼ bunch spinach or romaine, torn
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (14-oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained (add just as ready to serve)
- 1 large gala apple, unpeeled, and diced (cut just before serving)
- 3 sliced kiwis, if desired
- 1 pt. sliced strawberries, if desired
- Sweet and Sour Dressing
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. parsley
- dash pepper & red pepper sauce
- Combine nuts, cinnamon sugar, butter in microwaveable pie plate sprayed with cooking spray; spread evenly onto the bottom of the pie plate.
- Microwave on HIGH 1 to 1½ minutes or until nuts are toasted, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Mix lettuce and spinach and spread into a large serving bowl.
- Layer diced celery, green onions, and red bell pepper on top.
- Add toasted almonds.
- Drain mandarin orange segments and add to salad.
- Top with chopped Gala apples and, if desired, sliced kiwis or strawberries.
- To make Salad Dressing: mix canola oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, parsley, pepper and red pepper sauce in a jar with a tight lid.
- Shake mixture vigorously and refrigerate.
- Add to salad when ready to serve.
Here it is, pretty and ready to eat!
This close up shows you all the veggies and fruit in this tasty salad.
We added sliced kiwis on the salad before serving and this made the salad even better!