Mandarin Salad

Juicy mandarin oranges add a whole other dimension to your green salad! Toss in some crunchy pecans and a spicy homemade vinaigrette dressing and Mandarin Salad is ready to serve as a side dish. Add your favorite protein to make it a meal!

Mandarin Salad: delicious, crisp salad with sugared pecans, mandarin oranges and homemade dressing!

Family Favorite Salad Recipe

Do you have any “signature” family dishes? Not the fancy ones you make at holidays or the ones that have been passed down from generation to generation, but the ones you make almost weekly without fail. The ones that are such as staple of your family meals that you can’t even remember when they first showed up on your dinner table.

This Mandarin Salad is one of mine. We eat this with our dinner so often that I can make it on autopilot. I love it on its own or as a bed for grilled chicken or salmon.

Every member of my family LOVES this salad–even the ones who aren’t usually veggie lovers! Sometimes we make it with almonds, sometimes we make it with Candied Cinnamon Pecans to mix it up. It’s delicious every which way!

Fresh, healthy and anything but boring, I know you’ll love our family favorite Mandarin Salad recipe too!

Ingredient Notes

  • Mandarin oranges – You need canned mandarins for this salad. Drain the juices well first.
  • Nuts – Plain salted pecans are delicious as are candied pecans and almonds. Substitute cashews for a tasty twist.
  • Tabasco sauce – Cholula or your other favorite hot sauce is a perfect substitute. I love the kick it adds to the zesty vinaigrette dressing.

Easy Instructions

First, whisk together the dressing ingredients and place them in the fridge to chill while you assemble the salad.

If using plain pecans or almonds, toast them on the stove top with a little bit of sugar. Chop up lettuce and add to a bowl with green onions, celery and mandarin oranges. Add the nuts and toss to combine.

I prefer to drizzle the dressing on the mandarin salad just before serving!

Tips & Tricks

  • Make it a meal: This salad makes a great foundation for a light lunch or dinner. Add grilled salmon, chicken or tofu for a nourishing and filling meal.
  • Need less spice? Reduce the amount of tabasco sauce to your liking. My family loves the heat in the dressing but it tastes good with just a couple of drops of hot sauce too.
  • Make the dressing first. The flavors have time to mingle and combine while you get everything else ready for the salad. You can even make it a few hours ahead of time to make meal time easier.
  • Change it up. Hate green onions? Feel free to swap them out for red or white onion. Want to add some cucumber? Go for it. This salad is delicious made with spinach or other leafy greens as well.

Recipe FAQ

Can this salad be made in advance?

For best results, assemble the salad shortly before serving. You can chop the vegetables and toast the nuts ahead of time and store in separate containers to make this in advance. When you’re ready, toss together, add dressing and enjoy!

Is the dressing spicy?

I don’t find this salad dressing overwhelmingly spicy at all. If you’re sensitive to heat, start with two drops of Tabasco and add more to taste.
If you can’t get enough spice, go ahead and add as much hot sauce to the vinaigrette as you like!

Can I use fresh orange slices instead of canned?

I don’t recommend using fresh fruit here. The juices from the canned mandarin oranges add the pop of flavor that makes this salad so delicious.

Why did my pecans burn when I tried to sautee them?

You most likely turned the heat too high. The sugar will burn quickly, so I keep the stove set at medium at the highest. Keep a close eye on the nuts as they cook. You want them toasted but not too brown.

Looking for an exciting salad that’s easy enough to make every day? This family favorite Mandarin Salad recipe might just become a staple for your family too!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Mandarin Salad


For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cranks fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 8 drops Tabasco sauce

For the nuts:

  • ½ cup sliced pecans
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

For the Salad:

  • 3 bunches romaine lettuce (or one pkg of 3 stalks)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 can (15oz) mandarin oranges, drained


  1. In a small bowl, mix ingredients for dressing, refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. For nuts, saute almonds in 2 Tbsp sugar on medium heat, until browned (or use my [cinnamon sugar pecans | https://www.shugarysweets.com/2012/12/candied-cinnamon-pecans])
  3. To assemble salad, chop lettuce and place in large bowl, Add green onions, celery and oranges. Top with sugared nuts. Drizzle with dressing right before serving. ENJOY

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on January 1, 2013

Comments & Reviews

  1. This is my first time writing a review. I made this tonight and LOVED it! It was so light and fresh. My husband said this I was definitely a keeper. I’ll be making this frequently!

  2. your recipe gives directions for almonds, yet the picture shows pecans. Which is your preference?

  3. This salad was absolutely amazing! I topped it with Coconut Shrimp for a summer time dinner! Soooooo good! Doubled the dressing which tasted great with the shrimp!

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