I've never been big salad person.
There are a few (very few) exceptions:
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. (I LOVE this salad - especially with this homemade dressing.)
Cran-Raisin Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette. (Absolutely divine. Best salad I've ever had.)
Simple Greek Salad. (This Greek dressing will make you cry for your Momma.)
Panera's Asian Sesame Chicken Salad. (Different. Tangy. Great with soup.)
But, for the most part, I'm just as happy without salad at any meal. And, I'm definitely not one to go out to a restaurant and order a salad as an entree.
So, most nights here at the Short household, we don't eat salad with our dinner. I'm not the biggest fan. My husband's not a fan. And, my kids gag and throw their heads back in grossed out protest if we even mention the word "salad". (They eat vegetables, but salad is out!)
If I bought lettuce, most of it would go to waste.
However, most people like at least one or two salads. And, everyone should know how to make at least one or two good salads. At some point, we're all asked to bring a salad to a dinner party, or a friend's house, or to a potluck. And, if we've got a couple of good salad recipes to pull from, then salad-lover or not, we'll always have something delicious to bring.
Also, it is so worth taking the time to make and bring a salad with homemade dressing! Sure, bottled dressing works great, especially in a pinch. But, take a salad with homemade dressing (easy homemade dressing) to your next party, and watch how people react. They'll know you've brought something really special!
This Mandarin Orange Salad with Glazed Almonds is the only other salad, besides the ones I mentioned above, that I absolutely love. The combination of the sweet, caramelized almonds with Mandarin oranges, red onion, feta cheese, and a tangy dressing - it's fresh and tart and happy and all of the things that make a good salad sing.
This is my mother-in-law's recipe, and I snapped this photo when she made it for us on Easter. If you're wondering where I get my inspiration and love for pretty food, Mom is it.
SO, as I share one of my favorite salads today, I thought I'd ask you: What is your favorite salad?
Hope you all enjoy this one as much as I do!
Mandarin Orange Salad with Glazed Almonds
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges, drained
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Combine Romaine lettuce, spinach, and red onion in a large salad bowl. Set aside.
In a small pan, combine butter, sugar, and sliced almonds. On medium low heat, stir and cook until almonds are toasted and sugar and butter caramelize- about 8-10 minutes. Spread on aluminum foil. Cool. Break into small pieces. (WARNING: DO NOT begin eating this stuff. You won't have any left for the salad!)
To prepare dressing:
In a small bowl or large, glass measuring cup, combine vinegar, pepper, celery seed, dry mustard, and salt. Whisk together. Stir in honey and sugar and whisk to combine. Slowly add oil, whisking while adding.
*To serve as a large salad, add feta, Mandarin oranges, and almonds to salad mixture. Add dressing, 1/2 cup at a time until salad is coated. Toss and serve.
*To serve on individual plates (my preference), add salad mixture to salad plate, and top with a sprinkling of feta, Mandarin oranges, and almonds. Ladle dressing over salad. Serve.
Note: If you don't like feta, you can substitute mozzarella. If you don't like nuts, omit them. Alter this one to your liking!