This delicious Mandarin orange salad is a mix of oranges, apples, goat cheese, nuts and dried fruit tossed together in a homemade citrus dressing.

pouring Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing on a Mandarin Orange Salad

This fresh mandarin orange salad will have you craving sunshine, patios, and blooming flowers! It is easily modified to be your full meal or just a delicious and fresh addition to your outdoor BBQ.

We even make our own citrus dressing that brings all of the flavors together.

Just like our winter salad, broccoli salad, and strawberry spinach salad, you’ll find the combination of fruit, fresh greens and a slightly sweet dressing makes the perfect dinner or side salad.

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ingredients for Mandarin Orange Salad

Ingredients You’ll Need

Salad:

  • Spring salad mix – This usually includes spinach, arugula, and other healthy and delicious greens.
  • Mandarin oranges – Small, sweet, and perfect for a salad. These are the star of the dish!
  • Almond Slices – Adds a great texture and a bit of protein to your salad.
  • Dried cranberries – You can sub this out with pomegranate arils when they are in season.
  • Goat cheese – This cheese compliments the fruits and enhances the flavor of your salad. You can substitute with feta cheese or any other crumbled cheese you prefer.
  • Apple – This adds not only crispness, but also a sweet and tangy taste.

Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • Mandarin orange juice – This adds a sweet citrus flavor.
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice – This adds a zesty citrus tanginess.
  • Apple cider vinegar – This balances out the sweetness without being too sharp. It perfectly compliments the lemon and honey.
  • Honey – Use raw or unfiltered honey to enhance the health benefits of this salad.
  • Salt – We use kosher salt for this recipe but you could also use table salt or sea salt. 
  • Olive oil – The oil is essential for making the dressing emulsify (stick together). You could substitute with another light oil such as avocado or canola.
  • Poppy seeds – Adds flavor, crunch, and many health benefits to your dressing.

What are Mandarin Oranges?

Mandarin oranges are small, citrus fruits which are usually much sweeter than a regular orange. Because of their stronger flavor, they are often found in fruit salads. In this recipe, you can use fresh mandarin oranges, but you will want to remove as much of the pith (the white pieces on the orange) as possible.

Because this can be time consuming, we like to use a jar of light syrup mandarin oranges instead. This is also helpful because you can also use the juice drained from them in the dressing!

pouring dressing on a Mandarin Orange Salad

How to Make the Citrus Vinaigrette

Step 1 – Combine the liquids. Add the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt into a bowl. Use an immersion blender or whisk to blend together. 

Step 2 – Add the oil. Add the olive oil to the juices and blend on high (or whisk quickly) until the mixture is emulsified (thoroughly blended together so it doesn’t separate). 

Step 3 Add poppy seeds. Add the poppy seeds to the dressing and stir.

sliced apples on top of Mandarin Orange Salad

Assembling the Salad

Step 1 – Make the salad. Assemble your salad ingredients, salad greens, mandarin oranges, almonds, pomegranate arils, apple, and feta cheese, in a large bowl. 

Step 2 – Add the dressing. Drizzle with half of the salad dressing over the greens and toss until the salad is evenly coated. 

Step 3 – Serve. Serve salad with remaining dressing on the side.

What to Serve with Mandarin Orange Salad

This is a light, healthy salad that can pair as a side with any meal. You can also add tuna or grilled or baked chicken to make this your main dish. If you need to save some time, use canned chicken or rotisserie chicken. Try this salad as a side with these dishes:

How to Store It

If you are meal prepping or making it ahead of time for a party, you don’t want to fully assemble the salad until right before you are ready to serve.

Once the dressing is added the greens begin to wilt, so you will want to store your ingredients separately and add the dressing right before you serve.

You can wash and dry greens and prep all the nuts, cheese, and fruit (except the apples) by measuring them out and storing them in prep containers. Do NOT cut the apples until you are ready to assemble the salad as the apples will begin to turn brown.

You can also save time by making the dressing up to a week ahead of time. Just remember to shake it well before using.

fanned out apple slices on top of Mandarin Orange Salad

Looking for More Salad Recipes?

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Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 20 mins

Mandarin Orange Salad

This delicious Mandarin orange salad is a mix of oranges, apples, cheese, nuts and dried fruit tossed together in a homemade citrus dressing.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 4 cups Spring salad mix
  • 10 ounces Mandarin oranges in lite syrup
  • ½ cup Almond Slices
  • ½ cup Dried cranberries
  • ½ cup Goat cheese
  • 1 Apple, cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup Citrus Dressing

Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing:

Instructions

  • Add the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and salt into a bowl. Use an immersion blender or whisk to blend together.
  • Add the olive oil to the juices and blend on high (or whisk quickly) until the mixture is emulsified (thoroughly blended together so it doesn’t separate).
  • Add the poppy seeds to the dressing and stir.
  • Assemble your salad ingredients, salad greens, mandarin oranges, almonds, dried cranberries, apple, and goat cheese, in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until the salad is evenly coated.
  • Serve salad with remaining dressing on the side.

Notes

  1. The citrus dressing recipe makes approximately 1 3/4 cups. You will only use 1/2 cup for your salad. Store the remaining in a mason jar in your refrigerator until you are ready to use. 
  2. The nutritional value is calculated for 4 side salad servings of the salad. 

Nutrition

Calories: 388kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 181mg, Potassium: 329mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 1703IU, Vitamin C: 37mg, Calcium: 101mg, Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mandarin chicken salad, mandarin orange salad, mandarin salad, salad with mandarin oranges