This mandarin orange salad is fresh, sweet and loaded with flavor. It is topped with an amazing homemade orange salad dressing that you can’t live without!
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Favorite Winter Salad
Around this time of year, I crave ALL the salads and this mandarin salad is absolutely one of my top recipes. The fresh ingredients mixed with the sweet orange vinaigrette is such a great combination. We love to top it with grilled chicken to make it a full meal.
This mandarin salad always makes an appearance on Thanksgiving! It comes from my Aunt’s ‘Favorites’ cookbook and everyone loves it! In her original recipe, she also adds in green onions, mushrooms, avocado and tomatoes, however my family prefers it with just mandarins, cranberries and nuts.
This salad is so versatile…you can really add in anything and it would still be just as delicious! Just make sure to keep in the mandarin oranges because that’s what makes the whole salad recipe! It is SO good!
The star of the show is this delicious orange salad dressing. It calls for only a few simple ingredients and is so easy to make. It’s similar to a poppy seed dressing, but with an orange twist. The orange juice and zest add a fresh flavor that is simply irresistible.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
Orange Salad Dressing
- Frozen orange juice concentrate: Do not add any water to this. Just use it as-is.
- Orange zest: This adds even more citrus and a bit of lovely freshness. Naval oranges work well.
- Olive oil: The good fat that brings it all together and helps coat the salad in dressing.
- Vinegar: I used an apple cider vinegar, but distilled or white wine vinegar would work as well.
- Sugar: Not a lot, but just a little to help balance the sweetness.
- Lemon juice: This add the tartness the dressing needs.
- Salt: Just a little to help enhance all of the other flavors.
- Spring mix: You can also opt for spinach, if you prefer.
- Mandarin oranges: I love to use the canned because they are so juicy and add a really nice citrus.
- Dried cranberries: This adds a lovely tartness and sweetness to the salad.
- Sliced almonds: Swap out almonds for walnuts or pecans. You can even use candied pecans if preferred.
- Any type of greens will work. I used spring mix, but arugula, kale or spinach all taste great.
- Add sliced grilled chicken for more protein.
- If limiting sugar, you can easily omit the dried cranberries.
- Feel free to add more toppings like fresh shaved parmesan, pomegranates, green onions or sliced avocado.
How to Make Mandarin Orange Salad
It takes such a little amount of time and effort to create something that may become your new holiday tradition.
- Toss the salad. Add the spring mix, mandarin oranges, cranberries, and almonds to a large bowl and toss.
- Make the Orange Salad Dressing. Add all ingredients in a mason jar and shake until combined.
- Dress the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the spring mix mixture and toss until well coated. Serve.
Absolutely! Just store it in an airtight container in the fridge, then drizzle on top of the salad before serving.
Of course! Just whisk it really well to make sure the oil and vinegar emulsify. Give it a really good whisk before serving.
Aside from this amazing salad, mandarin oranges are a staple in my pantry. I love adding them to desserts (like in this no-bake mandarin orange parfait), adding them to my rainbow honey lime fruit salad, or letting my kids snack on them if they need a fruity treat.
Store any extra dressing in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Want more citrus-centric recipes? Try crispy lemon baked fish, baked lemon chicken, or lemon chicken fettucine.
More Fresh Salads with Fruit
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Mandarin Orange Salad Recipe
- 1 (10-ounce) bag spring mix (or spinach)
- 1 (11-ounce) can can mandarin oranges
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds (can use walnuts or pecans as well)
- ¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate (don't add water)
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- ½ Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon poppyseeds
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- In a large bowl, toss the spring mix, mandarin oranges, cranberries, and almonds until combined.
- In a mason jar, add the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Shake until well combined. Add the poppyseeds and shake just before serving.
- Pour dressing over the salad. Toss until well coated.
- Sliced green onions
- Sliced mushrooms
- Sliced avocado
- Diced tomatoes
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
I just made it for a dinner party & everyone wanted the recipe!!
Everyone at part loved it. I thought dressing was too sweet and orangy so I doubled everything else in the dressing except for juice, sugar and zest. Also added some lemon pepper
Have you ever added blue cheese crumbles? Don’t want to ruin the flavor but it may work?
I’ve never added blue cheese, but I don’t see why you couldn’t! Let me know how it tastes if you give it a shot.
Best orange dressing I have ever tasted! Made in summer with grilled chicken breast to put on top. Very refreshing. Will certainly be a regular here at our house.
So glad you loved it!
My boyfriend and I made this recipe and added pomegranates and avocado, it was absolutely DELICIOUS!
Thank you for sharing it.
Mmm those sound like delicious additions! So happy to hear you both loved it, Virginia :)
This is one of my goto dressing recipes. So easy and soooo delicious. Love it, can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.
So happy to hear you enjoyed it, Deepti! Thanks for leaving your comment and review :)