Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Candied Walnuts

This salad starts with a bag of spinach and a can of Mandarin oranges. Sounds simple, but once you’ve combined the ingredients they add up to a complex mixture of tastes. This recipe has many variations. Substitute strawberries, raspberries, pears, and apples for the oranges. Add strips of grilled chicken or turkey for a main course salad.

You can make the salad dressing a day or even several days ahead. However, the candied walnuts taste best if you make them an hour before you need them. Hide the walnuts the minute they come out of the oven. I’m serious! Otherwise, you or your family members will eat the nuts before you even open the spinach. The preparation time for this salad is 8-10 minutes.

SPINACH SALAD WITH MANDARIN ORANGES AND CANDIED WALNUTS

1 10-ounce bag of fresh spinach

1 6.1-ounce can of Mandarin oranges, drained

2 thin slices of red onion, separated into rings

raspberry salad dressing (recipe below)

candied walnuts (recipe below)

RASPBERRY SALAD DRESSING

6 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar-free raspberry jam (with seeds or without)

1/4 teaspoon salt (may be omitted)

1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper

1 cup extra light olive oil

Put all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a small bowl. Combine ingredients with a small whisk. Using the same whisk and stirring constantly, slowly add olive oil. Pour into cruet or jelly jar with a lid.
Shake well prior to using.

CANDIED WALNUTS

1/2 cup walnut pieces (or whole nuts)

1 teaspoon extra light olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Put walnuts in a measuring cup. Add the olive oil, honey, and stir well. Line a pie pan or toaster oven pan with non-stick aluminum foil. Pour nuts into pan and spread them out. Toast in a 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes. As soon as the honey starts to bubble watch the nuts carefully or they will burn. Remove from oven and cool.

ASSEMBLING THE SALAD

Pour the spinach leaves into a large salad bowl. Discard any brown leaves and remove any long stems. Scatter the Mandarin oranges over the spinach. Scatter the onion rings over the oranges. Pour salad dressing (you won’t need it all) over the salad and toss. Garnish with candied walnuts. Makes 6-8 servings.

 

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