This mandarin orange salad is mixed greens with juicy orange slices, dried cranberries, feta cheese and candied pecans, all tossed in a homemade dressing. A quick and easy salad that’s a fresh and colorful complement to chicken and seafood dishes.
I love the sweet and savory flavor combination of fruit with salad greens. Some of my favorite options include fresh pear salad, summery strawberry spinach salad and this fabulous mandarin orange salad.
I always have a can of mandarin oranges in my pantry. They’re inexpensive, readily available and my kids love them. This mandarin orange salad pairs citrus flavors with sweet dried cranberries and crunchy pecans, and is always a big hit. I love to serve this salad during the cooler weather months. Typically I alternate between Thanksgiving salad and orange salad to make the most of cold weather produce. You can also enjoy a mandarin orange salad during the warmer weather, along with many other summer salads.
Table of Contents
Mandarin Orange Salad Ingredients
The base of this salad consists of mixed greens, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, candied pecans and feta cheese. Ingredients for the dressing include olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, shallots, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
How Do You Make Mandarin Orange Salad?
Start by placing mixed salad greens, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries and candied pecans in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together a dressing of olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar and seasonings. Pour the dressing over the salad, then gently toss everything together to combine. Add a sprinkle of feta cheese, then serve immediately and enjoy.
Tips For The Perfect Dish
- I use canned mandarin oranges with the liquid drained off. You can also use small fresh oranges or tangerines.
- Be sure to very gently stir the salad as otherwise the oranges can break into smaller pieces.
- Any type of greens will work here. I typically use a mesclun salad blend, but baby spinach or butter lettuce are also great options.
- I really like the flavor that candied pecans add to the salad, but you can use regular toasted pecans if you can’t find the candied version. You can also make your own candied pecans.
The dressing can be made in advance and will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I recommend using freshly squeezed orange juice in the dressing for the best flavor.
Mandarin oranges are both sweet and tart, which means they pair well with a variety of sweet and savory ingredients. In terms of salad pairings, oranges are great with greens, fennel, feta cheese, blue cheese, dried fruit, walnuts, pecans and balsamic.
Mandarin oranges are a separate subset of oranges that are small, easy to peel, and tend to be sweeter than standard oranges. You can find mandarin oranges fresh in the grocery store, or packed in cans.
Mandarin Orange Salad Flavor Variations
While this salad is great as-is, you can add other ingredients that you happen to have on hand.
- Vegetables: This salad is great with avocado, shaved fennel or thinly sliced red onion added to the mix. It’s also great with arugula instead of spring mix greens.
- Cheese: Try adding a little cheese such as crumbled blue cheese, feta or goat cheese. Shaved parmesan is also a great option.
- Nuts: No pecans on hand? Try using sliced almonds, candied walnuts or pistachios for a different flavor and plenty of crunch.
- Fruit: Add other types of fruit to the mix such as apples, pears, peaches, or even raspberries. You can also swap out the dried cranberries for dried apricots or cherries.
- Protein: Make it a main course by adding sliced grilled chicken to the salad. Other great protein choices are cooked crumbled bacon or even canned white beans.
- Grains: Turn this recipe into a pasta salad by doubling the dressing and adding 3 cups of cooked short pasta such as farfalle, penne or fusilli. It’s also great when mixed with quinoa or farro.
This salad recipe is easy to make, perfect for potlucks and is always a huge hit with both kids and adults!
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Mandarin Orange Salad
For the salad
- 6 cups mixed spring greens
- 11 ounce can mandarin oranges drained
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup candied pecans roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
For the dressing
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon shallot minced
- salt and pepper to taste
For the salad
- Place the mixed greens, oranges, dried cranberries and pecans in a large bowl.
For the dressing
- Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then whisk until smooth.
- Drizzle 1/2 cup of the dressing over the salad, then gently toss to coat. You may have dressing left over.
- Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the salad, then serve immediately.
- You can use fresh oranges such as clementines instead of the canned oranges.
- Be sure to toss the salad gently so that the oranges don’t break into smaller pieces.
- This salad is best when served immediately.
Love the sweet bright flavor of the oranges in this salad! The dressing is divine
This salad has all the flavors I love! Bring on the mandarin oranges!
I love the blend of flavors, the mandarin also gives it a vibrant look as well as enhances the taste!
Loving the sweet and savory combination of flavors in this fantastic salad. It makes a perfect side dish or meal.
One of my absolute favorite salads! It’s got everything going for it with the various textures and flavors!