Mandarin Spinach Salad
Mandarin Spinach Salad is an absolutely delightful spinach salad recipe. It’s made with mandarin orange segments, apples, red bell peppers, celery, homemade cinnamon-sugar almonds, and a zippy dressing that makes the whole thing work. It really doesn’t take much effort to make the salad. Even making the cinnamon-sugar almonds can be done in the toaster oven so that’s relatively painless.
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. One bite and I was hooked. Plus, Colleen made this salad several times so we got to experience it with a few different variations.
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! This recipe is gluten free and can easily be made vegan by replacing one teaspoon butter with avocado oil when making up the homemade cinnamon-sugar almonds.
I first published this recipe in August 2012. I have since updated the pictures (December 2013) so you can get a better idea of what this salad is supposed to look like!
We had several ice storms hit the metroplex in December 2013. We had friends who lost power for days. We had power but our septic system was on the blink. We had friends over for a hot meal but really couldn’t offer them bedrooms since the showers weren’t working all that great. 🙁 When I served it for them that 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!
Mandarin Spinach Salad is absolutely mouthwatering. I use a red Gala apple which certainly makes this salad more eye appealing.
This is also great with sliced strawberries and kiwi.
Mandarin Spinach Salad is a wonderful salad to serve as a meatless main dish or side salad.
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 (or use avocado oil if you want to keep the recipe vegan). 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. You can also add strawberries and kiwi.
Mandarin Spinach Salad is perfect for company or holiday dinners like Easter, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
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.
Here’s the recipe.
MANDARIN SPINACH SALAD
(Recipe adapted from Colleen Parks, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill, TX)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds or pecan pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1/4 head lettuce, torn
- 1/4 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[br]
- 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 1 1/2 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.
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. parsley
- dash pepper & red pepper sauce
- 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. Mandarin Spinach Salad 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 Mandarin Spinach Salad before serving and this made the salad even better!