Orange almond salad is one of my favorite salads to have during the cooler months – you can find it on our menus a couple times each month from November through May. This salad with it’s yummy orange balsamic vinaigrette, along my other favorite winter salad – lettuce (or spinach) topped with dried cranberry and feta – are our staple salads during the winter months (along with cabbage slaws like Spicy Asian Slaw, Shaved Cabbage & Feta Salad or Spicy Cumin Lime Slaw, which are other great seasonal options).
During the summer there are so many good, seasonal, vegetables coming from the garden that I find I don’t make these salads as much, although of course you can make them any time of the year!
This is also the only time I use *gasp* canned fruit for anything. In fact, until a friend brought this salad to our house for a pizza night years ago, I’d never bought a can of mandarin oranges before. But since it’s just a topping for fresh vegetables and adds such a nice contrast, I make an exception for this quick and refreshing salad – plus, it’s just really tasty. There’s something about the flavor combination of sweet onions, oranges and crunchy almonds topping lettuce or spinach that was so good the first time I tried it, I knew I would be making it again and again.
When I have fresh mandarin oranges – or even regular oranges – I will sometimes use them for this salad and they’re equally as good. But it does take more preparation, plus I like to save the oranges for lunches and snacks, so I only use fresh oranges occasionally.
With just 4 simple ingredients and an easy-to-mix-up dressing, I’m pretty sure this salad will be staring in some of your menus, too! You simply start with a base of greens like the romain pictured – spinach and chopped, massaged kale is good, too – you can also add shredded cabbage. Then top the greens with part of a sweet onion you’ve sliced and then cut in half to make smaller, julienne-like pieces and add the oranges and roughly chopped roasted almonds.
To make the orange-balsamic vinaigrette, pour about 2-3 TB of the juice from the canned mandarin oranges into a 1/2-pint sized mason jar for the dressing before draining the rest (if using fresh oranges, cut the segments out leaving the membranes, and squeeze the juice from membranes into the jar or squeeze another orange for the juice). Then add the remaining dressing ingredients, cap the jar, and shake well (and ask yourself why you are buying bottled dressing…).
I like to use (affiliate links coming up…) these ReCap lids for storing our homemade dressings in mason jars. I LOVE them since I found them a few years ago when I used them for this ranch dressing gift. They make it so easy to shake, pour, and store your dressings in easy mason jars, as well as other things like homemade peanut sauce. They’re not terribly expensive, but not cheap either – they are $7.99 each, but the best deal is 4 for $28 – and totally worth it, in my opinion (after years of reusing glass dressing bottles with cheap plastic lids that get coated with gunk and break…).
There you go – dinner salad served.
- For Salad:
- 4 cups (approximately) of chopped greens like lettuce, spinach, and cabbage
- 1 can of mandarin oranges OR 1-2 fresh oranges, cut into segments
- ¼ of a sweet onion, sliced and slices cut in half
- about ⅓ c. of chopped almonds
- For Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 2-3 TB. juice from canned mandarin oranges or squeezed from fresh oranges
- 1 Tb. Dijon mustard
- 1-2 Tb. balsamic vinegar
- about ⅓ c. extra virgin olive oil
- Make salad by layering greens, onions, orange segments and chopped almonds.
- Make vinaigrette by combining juice, mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a jar with a lid and shake well until combined (or use a bowl and whisk well).
- Pour dressing over salad and serve.
NOTE: This salad recipe has been a favorite of ours for years and was originally published in the first year of AOC – 2009. It has been updated with all new photos, a pinnable image, and printable recipe and is being republished with the hopes that you can add it to your salad rotations – if you haven’t already!
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you – thanks so much! Plus you can trust I’ll only share what I love. (You can always read our entire disclosure page here.)