Cranberry And Mandarin Orange Salad


Impress your guests with Cranberry And Mandarin Orange Salad. It’s a mouthwatering, delightful combination of flavors, textures and colors that is sure to leave everyone in awe. A fruit cocktail of cranberries and mandarin oranges makes for a light, healthy and refreshing addition to your holiday menu. This salad has many flavors and textures with sweet, savory and tart undertones.

Mandarin Orange Salad

mandarin orange salad

When it comes to dinner-worthy salads, this one takes the cake. The mandarin oranges give it a burst of freshness while the Parmesan gives it a bite of sharpness and nuttiness. Its homemade poppy seed vinaigrette (super-simple!) is unbelievably addicting and takes this salad to the next level. Keep the extra vinaigrette in the fridge and use it on everything! Add some simple grilled chicken to turn this salad into a meal.






  • 3 c. baby spinach
  • 3 c. arugula 
  • 1 (11-oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 c. toasted walnuts
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. shaved Parmesan
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt


  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, arugula, mandarins, walnuts, and cranberries. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, orange juice, honey, poppy seeds, and mustard. Slowly pour in oil while whisking until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Top with Parmesan and a pinch of sea salt.

Fresh cranberry mandarin nut salad

fresh cranberry mandarin nut salad

Holidays just got more delicious with this cranberry mandarin nut salad. Full of healthy ingredients and certain to be popular on your table!

Thanksgiving Salad Recipes

Some dishes just bring back vivid and warm childhood memories. Food has a way of being that for me. A memory maker. That’s the magic of Thanksgiving salad recipes.

Christmas Salad Recipes

But, wait, this recipe will be one of your favorite Christmas salad recipes, too! 

Of course, I was always in the kitchen with Mom, watching, helping and learning more than I ever imagined. Holidays were always festive in our postage stamped size little West Virginia holler home. Thanksgiving meant Mom got up at the crack of dawn and started cooking. The aromas that would waft through the five little rooms were intoxicating!

Fresh Cranberry Salads

One thing that Mom always made during the holidays, both Thanksgiving and Christmas, were fresh cranberry salads. 

Recipes for Cranberry Salad

I can’t remember her recipes for the cranberry salad precisely, but I do know that there were lots of walnuts, celery and cranberries in it. While we didn’t have a food processor, Mom did have a meat grinder that attached to the side of the dining room table. And, this is where she’d put those little cranberry marbles in and grind away.

Cranberry Salad with Pecans

Cranberry salad with pecans seems to be the norm. But, I love walnuts, so that’s what’s in this recipe. And, Mom always used walnuts, too. 

Healthy Cranberry Salad

Why’s this healthy cranberry salad? Well, other than the sugar, all of the ingredients are pretty darn healthy. If I didn’t have to use sugar, I wouldn’t. But, if you’ve ever tasted cranberries without some sugar, well, then get ready to pucker up. They’re pretty tart! 

Salad with Mandarin Oranges

I know Mom didn’t use these mandarin oranges, but I know she’d totally approve. They had a juicy sweetness to the salad that’s just even more happy.

You can use canned or frozen.  You could also try using fresh ‘Cuties’ separating the sections. Be sure to remove all the skins and strings. Next time I’m going to use Dole Sunshine’s frozen mandarin orange sections for even more freshness! 

Cranberry Walnut Mandarin Orange Salad

This cranberry walnut mandarin orange salad has lots of redeeming values. You can make a day or two ahead of time. If you’re doing this, omit the celery until you’re ready to serve. You want it vibrant and green. 

Mandarin Orange Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Mandarin Orange Salad with Balsamic Glaze is a tasty and beautiful salad that is super easy to make and features just a few basic ingredients.  It’s a great side dish for any main course!

Mandarin Orange Salad

Thanks to the festive and colorful ingredients, this mandarin orange salad makes a perfect choice for pretty much any main dish.  It’s a beautiful salad that will adore any dinner table.  The salad features roasted Brussels sprouts, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, and mandarin oranges.  It is finished with a thick and syrupy balsamic glaze.   Below I provide 3 options for the simple balsamic glaze and its alternatives.  The salad is really easy to make and has just a few ingredients – nothing complicated!

Salad for Fall, Winter, and the Holidays

Mandarin orange salad with balsamic glaze is a perfect Fall and Winter salad, as well as a great side dish for the holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.  This simple salad will add simplicity and bright holiday colors to your festive menu without all the work!  You are already busy during the holidays, and you don’t need to spend too much time on yet another sophisticated side dish or salad for your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu.  This simple mandarin orange salad will add simplicity and bright holiday colors to your festive menu without all the work!

When are mandarin oranges in season?

Mandarin oranges are usually in season from November and into May, which makes them a perfect fruit to use in Fall and Winter salads, as well as in holiday recipes. This colorful citrus will bring brightness and a shine of Summer to your Fall and Winter menus!

mandarin orange salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, roasted Brussels sprouts, and balsamic glaze on a white plate

Salad Ingredients

  • Mandarin oranges
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Walnuts
  • Dried cranberries

Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Olive oil (optional)

How to make Mandarin Orange Salad

  • Mandarin oranges.  I used 3 mandarine oranges, peeled and segmented.  You can also use canned mandarins (1 can or 15 oz).
  • Roast Brussels sprouts (each one sliced in half) in the preheated oven at 375 F in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 20 minutes.
  • Walnuts.  Use whole walnuts, or better yet, candied walnuts.  I used store-bought candied walnuts that were delicious and looked beautiful in this sala.d
  • Assemble the salad by combining together peeled and segmented mandarin oranges, roasted Brussels sprouts, walnuts, and dried cranberries in a large bowl.
  • Prepare the balsamic glaze by cooking down balsamic vinegar together with honey until reduced by about half.  Drizzle over the mandarin orange salad.  Or, look at the alternatives to the balsamic glaze listed below.

How to make balsamic glaze and alternatives

This recipe features a simple balsamic glaze as a salad dressing.  What I prefer to use instead of making the balsamic glaze is a very high-quality aged balsamic vinegar (made in Italy). This type of vinegar is thick and syrupy and already has a consistency of a glaze.  Read on below for more details.  You can make a simple balsamic dressing for this mandarin orange salad in 3 different ways:

  • Homemade Balsamic glaze.    You can make the balsamic glaze as directed in the recipe by cooking down 1 cup of balsamic vinegar together with a ¼ cup of honey or brown sugar until the mixture reduces by about half.  Or, you can use either of the two options below:
  • Use High-Quality Aged Balsamic Vinegar Made in Italy. Aged balsamic vinegar is often sold in special sections of foreign foods at some grocery stores. High-quality Italian-made aged balsamic vinegar is usually somewhat expensive but it does not need cooking down. Just use it as is.  And, you don’t need to use much of it.   This type of balsamic vinegar has a much thicker (almost syrupy texture) and is not as acidic as the regular one.  I use the balsamic vinegar labeled as Aceto Balsamico I.G.P. produced in Italy.  Balsamic vinegar  labeled as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale D.O.P. is also a great choice.
  • Combine Balsamic Vinegar and Olive oil.  If you don’t want to make the balsamic glaze or use the aged balsamic vinegar, here is another simple salad dressing idea.  Combine ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Whisk until emulsified.  Drizzle the mandarin orange salad with this mixture.
mandarin orange salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, roasted Brussels sprouts, and balsamic glaze in a cast-iron pan

Recipe notes

  • Candied walnuts. I used store-bought candied walnuts in this recipe. You can use either regular walnuts or candied ones.
  • Mandarin oranges.  I used 3 mandarine oranges, peeled and segmented.  You can also use canned mandarins (1 can or 15 oz).
  • Dried cranberries. You can briefly soak dried cranberries in hot water to plump them up.
  • Balsamic vinegar. I highly recommend purchasing a high-quality, aged balsamic vinegar made in Italy labeled as Aceto Balsamico I.G.P.  Another good choice is labeled Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale D.O.P. This type of aged balsamic vinegar has a thick, syrupy, glaze-like texture perfect for drizzling over salads. If you purchase this kind of balsamic vinegar, you will never look back, and you would use such vinegar as a salad dressing, without any other ingredients – it’s that good!

Mandarin Orange Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 10 mins

This Cranberry Kale Salad is made with Mandarin oranges and candied pecans. It’s such a delicious appetizer or side dish recipe, even people who hate kale will love this salad!

Mandarin Orange Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans

I guarantee this salad will win over any kale hater and become a staple at your house!

Um… guys. Do you realize that next week it NOVEMBER! When did that happen!?

I’m so confused. I mean I love the weather this time of year but I feel like this year flew by. Time flies when your ….

I guess the good thing is, that means I get to start pumping out holiday recipes and all things for you to put on your dinner table this time of year.

Cuz … um thanksgiving is less than a month away and Christmas is less than 2 months! Eekk! I better get to it on the Christmas shopping front!

This year we’re going to Ecuador over Christmas to spend time with Mike’s brother and sister in law. They are in Cuenca working as missionaries and we couldn’t be more excited to see what they have been up to and just have fun together, we may even go to the jungle! Plus, Cason cannot wait to spend time with his two cousins! They’re going to tear up the town!

Any who, back to the recipe front. This Mandarin Orange Kale Salad is the first of many holiday recipes.

Around the holidays when I was growing up my mom use to make a Spinach Salad with mandarin oranges, cranberries, candied almonds, and this killer dressing that you’d want to drink straight from the bottle. I absolutely adored this salad and actually still make it all the time now.

This Kale Salad is a take on the salad I had growing up. So I KNOW you’re gonna love it!

How to Make This Hearty Salad

Instead of spinach I added kale, which in my opinion helps this salad keep for longer because kale is a lot sturdier than spinach … which wilts on the dressing pressure. Then I added in some radicchio, partly for color … because we eat with our eyes … but also to add a little bitter bite to the salad.

I swapped out the almonds for pecans, and changed up the cooking process so it’s a little faster to make. The dressing … even though I did LOVE it …. I changed (mainly because it was loaded with sugar). But this dressing is still as good in my opinion, possibly even better. It is sweet, tangy, and spicy.

This salad could definitely be made a day ahead, I’d just recommend not adding the pecans till the last minute or they’ll get soggy.

All in all … if you’re not sure about raw kale yet this is definitely a great place to start. I guarantee it will turn even the pickiest of eaters into a lover! There are so many bold bursting flavors going on in this dish that it will be the perfect compliment to any main dish, especially a certain turkey dish that you have on a particular day of the month. Ahem .. ahemm… Gobble gobble.

Give this salad a try and then come back and tell me how much you love it!

Bon Appetit friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.