Fresh juicy mandarins make this Spinach Mandarin Salad a perfect way to brighten your day! Toasted almonds, cranberries, a fresh honey balsamic dressing and more will make this the perfect go to salad for any dinner!
Haven't really craved much along the lines of a salad much this winter.
But who can blame me? When there is so much soup and chili to sip, how could a salad be on the brain?
The last salad recipe I even published on the blog was back in late August, this Blackberry Quinoa + Spinach Salad, and it was a good one. But since then my salad game has been pretty darn boring. Until now.
Somehow I ended up with a massive amount of spinach and needed to use it up fast. Hmmmm, spinach isn't quite the all you can eat kind of ingredient, but I certainly ate a whole lot of it. Popeye would be so proud.
I had a smoothie or two--my favorite blueberry smoothie, in fact, and then tossed some into dinner recipes but still I found myself in a pile of spinach. What's a girl to do??! Well, it's winter, but it's also citrus season. So a good old spinach salad with something bright and orange was the only answer I could think of!
And thus, we have this Spinach Mandarin Salad!
Fresh mandarins, cranberries, toasted almonds and a fresh balsamic dressing with a hint of honey make this salad a fresh way to get out of your salad rut. And boy oh boy, do I get into my fair share of ruts. The thing I love about this salad is that I can have it as a side or I can toss on some chicken or salmon, maybe some goat cheese and then I have a meal!
It's a great base and the dressing for this spinach mandarin salad is another part of this recipe that can be a favorite go to. Simple and full of flavor. I won't lie, I do a lot of store bought dressings, but when I make my own, I do think, gosh, I should make my own dressing way more often. I mean, it literally takes less than a minute or two to whip up.
How convenient is that?!
Yes, I know, it only takes about 10 seconds to grab a bottle from the fridge--I know, I do it all the time. Sometimes though, freshly made is just too good to pass up. It's worth the extra effort--even if the effort is so minimal!
Some things to note about this Spinach Mandarin Salad:
- No spinach? Can't stand spinach? No worries, just sub in your favorite green! I promise the salad will still be super tasty with Romaine or a good spring mix.
- As I noted earlier--add in some cheese, some grilled chicken or fish and boom, dinner is served. Or lunch for that matter. This salad is a great base to turn into a full meal. And the possibilities are endless. I love to hear how you spice it up, so let me know!
- To toast or not to toast?? Toast! I mean, that's what I prefer. You could easily just toss in some store bought roasted almonds, another way to shake it up. I love toasting up almonds just before I toss them in a salad.
That's it, now you are set! Enjoy!
Try these other salad recipes you will love:
- Chickpea Avocado Salad
- Cucumber Feta Quinoa Salad
- Black Bean + Cauliflower Rice Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Spinach Mandarin Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
- 10 oz spinach
- 4 mandarins, peeled and in sections
- 1/4 c red onion thinly sliced (optional)
- 2/3 c almonds
- 1/2 c dried cranberries
- 1/2 c olive oil
- 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 T honey
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 7-9 minutes. Chop or pound almonds into small pieces. (Place in a plastic bag and use a wood spoon to pound.)
- Combine all salad ingredients in a medium bowl. Place ingredients for dressing into a high powered blender and blend on high until smooth. If dressing is too thick, add a small amount of water to thin out.
- Add desired amount of dressing to salad and toss just before serving. Enjoy!