I just love lettuce/spinach salads with fruit and nuts. I don’t know what it is about the combination of those things that draws me in, but I have been known to fill my plate with one of these salads even when the main dish is one of my favorites. Mandarin Orange & Almond Salad is one of those amazing combinations. The sweetness of the oranges, the crunch of the almonds, and the tang of the vinaigrette are absolutely irresistible. I could make a meal of this salad on its own.
Bring together all of your ingredients:
To make the candied almonds, pour the sugar in a dry saucepan. We like lots of candied almonds, so I use closer to 1/2 cup each of sugar and almonds. About 1/4 cup of each is probably sufficient, though! Heat the sugar over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes, stirring often. This will take a few minutes for the sugar to start to turn, but once it does, it melts fairly quickly.
Starting to melt…
Here we are…
Add the almonds and stir to coat. If you want more of a toasted flavor, you can turn the heat down to low and cook and stir the candied almonds for a minute or two. Spread out the candied almonds onto a silicone baking mat or waxed paper to harden and cool.
Place the lettuce in a large bowl, and set aside. I have used plain Romaine, bagged “spring mix”, and other various blends of light & crunchy lettuce. It all depends on your preference.
In a blender, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, parsley, salt, and pepper. Turn the blender on low and stream in the olive oil slowly. When it’s all combined, toss the lettuce with dressing.
Top with candied almonds and mandarin oranges, and enjoy!
To make candied almonds, pour 1/2 cup sugar in a dry saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar caramelizes, stirring often. Add almonds and stir to coat. Spread candied almonds onto a silicone baking mat or waxed paper to harden.
Place lettuce in a large bowl, and set aside. In a blender, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, parsley, salt, and pepper. Turn blender on low and stream in olive oil slowly. When all combined, toss lettuce with dressing. Top with candied almonds and mandarin oranges, and serve.