12 March 2010

Another Dreamy 'Dreaming of Spring' Salad ...

Funny thing happens when the Spring weather comes our way! We crave greens and look for new ways to wake up our tastebuds to what's coming soon from our gardens and the area Farmer's Markets! I don't know about you, but I am just 'champing at the bit' to buy fresh asparagus that has come from an area farmer's asparagus bed for a light and tasty Spring salad, go out to our garden and break off baby greens for a fresh walnut and feta salad, look for local watercress for a creamy soup ... come on, Spring!

Today, I have some beautiful little mandarin oranges that I found at the market when the produce manager balked at breaking up a box of clementines for smaller orders... shame on him! Oh well... I remembered this light salad that I found years ago and have made whenever I have a citrus salad urge... this recipe came out of Betty Crocker's Cookbook. Funny... When you look back at older cookbooks, you see just how silly we were as consumers way back in the day... this recipe calls for canned mandarin oranges ... horrors! Yuck, yuck, triple yuck! Those little white-spotted, limp, pieces of citrus can't hold a candle to a small bowl or fresh, juicy, mandarins. So... I have altered Betty's recipe to make it fresher and to do a fast-forward for today's (meaning mine) palates. I took out the iceberg lettuce and substituted baby spinach greens ... dark greens are tastier and better for you! I like raspberry vinegar  and walnut oil in dressings, so they're in there. I love almonds, so I doubled the amount. I've decreased the salt by half because, hey, we have WAY too much salt in our diets these days.You may want to take the salt out altogether and add it to taste after shaking up the salad dressing ingredients.

I have a little roaster chicken that I'm going to stuff with a stabbed lemon, rub with some herbs and bring to a golden brown crispy goodness in the oven. I also have a beautiful bottle of Brancott's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc getting cold, cold, cold in the fridge. I'm thinking dinner will be light, simple and delicious.

So... make salad! Dream on Spring!

Sweetly Dressed Greens with Mandarin Oranges and Almonds- printer friendly

Sweetly Dressed Greens with Mandarin Oranges and Almonds

adapted from a recipe in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1978)


½ c. slivered almonds
2 tbsp. sugar
5 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves, washed, long stems trimmed, spun out
4 c. fresh romaine lettuce, washed, chopped into bite-sized pieces, spun out
3 medium stalks perfect celery, washed and sliced thinly on the diagonal
½ medium sweet white onion, thinly sliced into wedges
4 to 5 mandarin oranges, peeled, all pith removed, sectioned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
sweet and sour dressing (recipe follows)

Making the Salad:

In a non-stick fry pan, combine the almonds and sugar and toss over medium high heat until the sugar melts and coats the nuts. Remove immediately and place on a cool plate. Cool the nuts and then break them up and set them aside for topping the salad.

Place the cleaned and spun out greens, onions, and celery into a large zip-lock bag or deep bowl.

Toss the sweet and sour dressing a bit at a time until the salad is well-coated and tastes right … don’t drown the salad.

Place the salad in an attractive salad bowl or plate the greens on individual salad plates. Top with the oranges, and almonds.

Drizzle a tiny bit of dressing over the top for show… serve.

Sweet and Sour Dressing

Shake all the ingredients together in a tightly covered jar and refrigerate.


¼ c. walnut oil
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
¼ tsp. salt
dash pepper
dash Asian hot chili sauce


  1. This sounds wonderful. I'm so ready for some fresh local produce. I'm so tired of the sad winter stuff from the grocery!

  2. Susan @ Beth12/3/10 10:32 PM

    Amen, sister! Just think in another month and a half there will be all SORTS of wonderful stuff popping up out of the ground! I am telling everyone I know to advocate for mache at their greengrocer's counter... it's such a wonderful green!

  3. YESSSS! Roast chicken and citrus salad. My favorite meal. We're waiting for the asparagus here too. In nearby Germany, it's called "spargel", and spargel season is a big deal. It's almost here. I can't wait.

  4. Susan @ Kate14/3/10 12:23 PM

    Yes! Spargel! My husband and I lived outside of Heidelberg in the Odenwald region of Baden-Wurttenberg a while back and I remember well the covered asparagus beds. Folks thought I was crazy because I bought green asparagus. I didn't know at first that the white spargel is considered the 'top shelf' stuff! Oops!


Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back. Use your Google account ID to comment.