Home > Salads > Mandarin Orange Salad Mandarin Orange Salad May 10, 2020 | 56 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This Mandarin Orange Salad bursts with juicy oranges, crisp apples, sweetened dried cranberries, tangy feta cheese, and easy stovetop candied almonds. Add a simple citrus vinaigrette to finish this delicious salad on a sweet and tangy note. This salad is a holiday classic that pairs perfectly with other side dishes such as Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Brussels Sprouts, and/or a Sweet Potato Casserole! Mandarin Orange Salad This salad is a complete hit whenever I serve it. It’s one of my go-to recipes for entertaining, especially during the holiday season when oranges and apples are in season. We love ripe clementines, but we also make it with canned mandarin oranges; in fact, that’s probably my kid’s favorite way to enjoy it! They inhale mandarin oranges! The citrus vinaigrette is such a refreshing dressing with both fresh orange juice and fresh lemon juice. The zest of the orange and lemon further intensifies the ctirus-y flavors. It’s also a great all-purpose dressing that goes well on pretty much any fruit-filled salad. We’ll usually make a double batch to enjoy throughout the week. Candied almonds Candied almonds add a delicious crunch and a bit of extra sweetness to the salad. They’re also so quick and easy to make! There are only two ingredients and one skillet — no oven necessary! Because the candied almonds are made in a skillet, they do require constant supervision. If you’re not careful, the almonds can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. My biggest tip here is to stir them constantly and watch carefully. As soon as the sugar begins to get sticky and wet, remove them from the burner and continue to stir in the skillet until the sugar is completely absorbed into the nuts and everything smells fragrant. QUICK TIP The recipe makes more almonds than you’ll need/want for the mandarin orange salad, but sugaring the almonds works best with this volume. Store leftover almonds in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months or in the pantry for 2-3 weeks. Use leftover almonds as a snack, yogurt bowl topping, açaí bowl topping, or topping on a different salad. Citrus Vinaigrette This dressing only takes a few minutes to whip together, and is quite easy to make–totally worth the effort. You will need a food processor or miniature blender jar to pulse the dressing; this helps break down the citrus zest so it infuses the dressing with brilliant flavor without being overpowering in the salad. I recommend pulsing everything without the olive oil to avoid overblending it. Sometimes when oil is blended it can take on a metallic flavor, so I like to avoid that by adding the oil after everything is smooth. You’ll want to make sure the olive oil emulsifies with the other ingredients; this can be done easily by shaking everything briskly in a sealed covered jar. Poppy seeds add a nice vibrant color and crunch to the salad, but they can be left out if you prefer. I recommend zesting the citrus with a microplane. A microplane makes the process quick and easy! Add dressing to personal preference — you may not want to use all the dressing on the salad — store any leftovers in the fridge for up to a week and use on other salads or top leftover fruit with it. Mandarin Orange Salad tips The citrus dressing can easily be adjusted to personal preference. Give it a quick taste test and adapt as needed. You may want to add a bit more honey if you like dressings on the sweeter side or perhaps more Dijon mustard if you want more tang. When serving Mandarin Orange Salad for a party, event, or holiday meal I recommend making the candied almonds and dressing a day or two in advance. This makes the final assembly a breeze! It’s also a good idea to make both in advance–so the almonds will have plenty of time to harden and the dressing has a chance to thoroughly chill and for the flavors to intensify. If you do make the dressing in advance, don’t be alarmed if it clumps and separates in the fridge. To fix this, simply shake the dressing together again until smooth. (If it’s still clumpy, let it stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes and then shake again; the clumps are the fats separating and solidifying.) Variations For an additional creamy element (beyond the cheese), add a diced or thinly sliced avocado. Swap out dried tart cherries for the dried cranberries. Use goat cheese instead of feta cheese. Swap out candied pecans for the candied almonds Add in some additional fruit (blueberries or blackberries would be delicious in this salad!) Go vegan with plant-based cheese in place of the feta. Main dishes that pair well with Mandarin Orange Salad Crock Pot Roast reader favorite! Shepherd’s Pie with the best mashed potato topping Sloppy Joes on toasted brioche buns Short Ribs made in the slow cooker Chicken Stroganoff served over noodles FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Mandarin Orange Salad 5 from 23 votes - Review this recipe This Mandarin Orange Salad has juicy oranges, crisp apples, sweetened dried cranberries, tangy feta cheese, and easy stovetop candied almonds. A simple citrus vinaigrette that is sweet, tangy, and completely refreshing tops everything off. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Mandarin Orange Salad 5 from 23 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This Mandarin Orange Salad has juicy oranges, crisp apples, sweetened dried cranberries, tangy feta cheese, and easy stovetop candied almonds. A simple citrus vinaigrette that is sweet, tangy, and completely refreshing tops everything off. Course Salad Cuisine American Keyword Mandarin Orange Salad Prep Time 25 minutes Total Time 25 minutes Servings 4 - 6 as a side Calories 1179kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $5.68 IngredientsSalad▢ 1 cup (95g) sliced almonds▢ 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75g) white granulated sugar▢ 8 cups (5 oz; 145g) mixed green lettuce or fresh spinach▢ 1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges (or 3 clementines, peeled and segmented)▢ 2 large apples, thinly sliced (we like Fuji best in this salad)▢ 1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional▢ 3/4 cup (94g) dried sweetened cranberries▢ 3/4 cup (90g) crumbled fetaDressing (Note 1)▢ 1/2 cup (98g) olive oil▢ 1 large orange (2 teaspoons zest and 4 tablespoons juice (58g))▢ 1 large lemon (1/2 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)▢ 2 and 1/2 tablespoons honey▢ 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard▢ 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt▢ 2 teaspoons poppy seeds InstructionsCANDIED ALMONDS: Place the sliced almonds and white sugar in a large skillet and heat to medium, stirring nearly constantly. The sugar will begin to melt and become a sticky liquid and then stick to the almonds. This takes about 3-4 minutes -- watch carefully and stir constantly to avoid burning the nuts. As soon as the sugar turns to liquid, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring until the nuts are completely coated in the sugar. Spread the candied almonds onto a sheet of parchment paper and let harden. Break apart.SALAD: Add the lettuce to a large bowl or salad platter. Peel and segment oranges (or drain a can of mandarin oranges) and add to the salad. Thinly slice the apples and, if desired, toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add to the salad along with the dried cranberries and feta cheese.DRESSING: Combine all of the ingredients together in a blender except for the oil and poppy seeds. Blend until all ingredients are well incorporated and zest has broken down. Transfer dressing to a jar with a lid and add in the olive oil and poppy seeds. Place the cover on the jar and shake until well combined.ENJOY: Right before serving, add the dressing to the salad (add to taste -- you may not need it all) and candied almonds (add as many as you'd like; we typically add about 1/3 cup (See Note 2). Toss and enjoy immediately.STORAGE: This salad doesn't sit well with the dressing, so only dress what will be enjoyed the same day. Store any leftover salad and dressing separately. Almonds and cheese should also be stored separately. Apples will brown if cut in advance. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Dressing: This dressing makes more than you'll likely use for the salad. If you want to make a half recipe (I do this often so nothing goes bad) here it is: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 large orange (1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice), 1 large lemon (1/4 teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoons juice), 1 and 1/4 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, heaping 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon poppy seeds Note 2: Candied almonds: There will be more almonds than you'll need/want for the salad, but sugaring the almonds works best with this volume. Store leftover almonds in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months or in the pantry for 2-3 weeks. Use leftover almonds as a snack, yogurt bowl topping, acai bowl topping, or salad topping. Nutrition FactsServing: 6as a side | Calories: 1179kcal | Carbohydrates: 122g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 43g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 1204mg | Potassium: 3365mg | Fiber: 25g | Sugar: 84g | Vitamin A: 44720IU | Vitamin C: 177mg | Calcium: 906mg | Iron: 16mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.