Citrus season is such a joy! When all the other produce is lacking in the winter—the apples are going mealy, the strawberries are barely even pink, and the watermelons are just…water—citrus comes riding in on its bright and flavorful horse to save the day!
This Sunshine Mandarin Orange Salad is a celebration of the glory that is winter citrus. This salad brings sunshine into my heart—even when I’m dealing with another cold and gray Midwestern winter day.
What is a mason jar salad?
Mason jar salads have all the components of a fresh salad layered in, you guessed it, a mason jar. Meal prep some salads in a jar, and you’ll have easy access to perfectly fresh veggies for lunch all week long. We have a comprehensive post with all the information you need to build a perfect salad in a jar if you want to know more.
But wait, won’t the salad get limp from being in the jar with the dressing?
Not if you pack it in the right order! The key to keeping this Sunshine Mandarin Orange Salad in a Jar fresh and crisp is to keep the wet ingredients (the dressing and mandarin slices!) separated from the greens. The sprouts, red onions, and pine nuts will form a sort of buffer to keep the lettuce and spinach dry. Just don’t tilt the jar until it is time to eat, and you’ll be all set!
What salad dressing goes well with this Mandarian Orange Salad?
I paired this salad with an off-the-charts delicious Orange Marmalade Vinaigrette. It might sound strange to use Orange Marmalade in a salad dressing, but jams and jellies are a GREAT base for dressing (we do it in our Strawberry Spinach Salad, too). Jam has a great concentrated fruit flavor, plus it adds sweetness and thickening power to the dressing. Nowadays, the jam and jelly aisle is chock-full of natural options—I’d recommend tracking down an orange marmalade that is free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors.
How far in advance can I make this salad?
Thanks to the fruit, you’ll only get about 2-3 days out of this one.
Can I use fresh mandarin, tangerine, or clementine wedges in this salad?
I use canned mandarins here because they are easy, affordable, and tasty! But if you have fresh citrus around, you can definitely use those in your salad. I do recommend you segment those wedges for the best salad-eating experience. Here is a great video showing how to segment (also called “supreming”) citrus—it’s a wonderful kitchen skill to master!
What should I serve it with?
This salad is wonderful topped with grilled chicken to turn it into a main dish. As a side salad, it pairs beautifully with any kind of fish. Enjoy!