Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mandarin Orange Salad with Glazed Almonds

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!



    Yes, the best salad I've ever had! Thanks for making it for us!!!

    I love mandarin oranges and my kids love salads. I'm betting this will be on my table in ONE MONTH with my kids are here to share Mother's Day with me :-) Oh, and the pretzel dessert will be joining that meal!

  2. We are so much alike girlie, it is not even funny. The only salads I like are Caesar, and sweet ones... love spinach with feta and berries and nuts with a nice sweet vinaigrette dressing.

  3. Totally bookmarking this sucker. Thank you!

  4. I'm not a huge fan of mandarin oranges, but so far none of your recipes have disappointed, so I'll definitely give it a try!
    I LOVE salads, but never make them with dinner because my husband isn't much of a fan. Except for this one...
    strawberries, blue cheese crumbles, cucumbers, sunflowers seeds atop a spring mix with a little blush vinaigrette....delicious!!
    And good luck "leaving the nest". We're getting ready to do the same as we just found out we're expecting #3. I know I'll be just as teary when the time comes. Thank goodness for memories!

  5. Undoubtedly the best salad I have EVER had. Hands down a winner!!! Thank you ever so much..

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