Mandarin Orange and Almond Salad

Can we talk about salad for a minute?  I do love a good chat about salad.

Americans eat way more salad than the English.  Americans seem to eat salad with everything.  I am a big fan of that approach.  I lived in a household where my father grew loads of interesting things in the garden, not all of them edible.  In the edible department he brought forth mainly vegetables.  On the weekends in spring and summer he was always to be found busying himself in the greenhouse, or digging in a patch of earth.  I grew up eating cucumbers like apples because he produced so many.  Ben was an outstanding cucumber grower.  I still eat cucumbers like apples today – much to the amusement of people in my office.  It’s definitely a smirk conversation starter.  Apart from cucumbers, we regularly had a plated salad as a main meal, with fresh beetroots (beets), tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers from the garden, and hard-boiled eggs or cheese or cold meat alongside.  I loved those meals.  They always seemed to happen on a Sunday, although I don’t know why that was.  I loved cutting up all the veggies and arranging them carefully on plates.  Salads always seem so fresh and pretty to me.

Outside of this big-plated-salad-on-a-Sunday, we didn’t eat salad.  Not as a side, not as an appetizer and not as a main course.  We just didn’t eat much salad.  When we ate out there was no salad either.  I think that has changed somewhat over the last few years, but still, England is lagging way behind the States on the salad front.

In England, when people refer to salad, they mean “a whole assortment of vegetable-y things all together on one plate”.  In America, salad generally means “lettuce”.  When I first arrived on this side of the pond I was regularly disappointed when a salad showed up with only lettuce to be found.  The most exciting thing was when there was more than one type of lettuce.  On the same plate!  Exciting lettuce!!  Hoorah!!!

Once I figured out that salad really meant “lettuce” and *blank* salad meant “lettuce plus other stuff”, where *blank* could be a protein or other veggies or fruit or any combination and all manner of dizzyingly delicious foodstuffs, my life was once again the right way up.  Because I love *blank* salads.  It seems that I don’t think about cooking a meal for friends that doesn’t involve salad, at least on the side.

Mandarin Orange and Almond Salad

When I devised my fiendish plan to cook for friends every Friday night so that they could taste-test recipes before I threw caution to the wind and gratuitously shared them with you, this salad immediately came to mind.  It is great as a side, it is great as a main course – just adorn with strips of grilled chicken and you’re there.  On this particular night I served it up with my Bacon and Leek Bake (recipe for that up next!).  It was a huge hit.  Adding almonds and oranges to the salad makes this a super SANE* meal.

I love the natural sweetness of the oranges and the crunch of the gently toasted almonds.  If you’ve never toasted almonds, it’s easy.  You can either spread them in a thin layer on a baking sheet & pop them under the broiler (grill), or you can put them in a frying pan (no oil) and toast them on the stove top.   It takes just a few minutes.  You do have to keep an eye on them – they can catch in a heartbeat – and no-one likes burnt nuts.

Mandarin Orange and Almond Salad

Talking of burnt nuts, I have to tell you I am getting wildly excited about the prospect of knocking down the bathroom and pantry walls in my kitchen.  If only you knew how many times I’ve almost set the kitchen on fire while I’ve been tapping away on the keyboard upstairs.  I’ve been daydreaming for oh, something like 9 months now, about having a beautiful office area in the extra 100 sq.ft that will be created in my kitchen with those walls out of the way.  No more running up and down the stairs to what I affectionately call the “West Wing” while I am cooking and shooting and blogging all at the same time.  And really, how many bathrooms does one girl need?  And a pantry?  Pah.  I don’t need a separate room for that.  I’ve a garage, and kitchen walls lined with cupboards.  Down with the pantry, I say!

The only downside I can see is no more visits from the local Fire Department.  Getting a truckload of hot firefighters show up on your doorstep can be a {very} beautiful thing for a single girl.  Not if the house burnt down though.  That would not be beautiful.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Mandarin Orange and Almond Salad
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Half a large English cucumber, sliced crosswise at ¼" intervals and then quartered
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced into ¼" pieces
  • 15 oz can of unsweetened mandarin orange segments, drained
  • Small bunch of scallions / spring (green) onions, chopped or cut with scissors
  • Large Romaine lettuce, sliced crosswise at ¼" intervals
  • ½ cup of blanched almonds, chopped and toasted
Instructions
  1. In a bowl place the cucumber, green pepper, drained oranges and scallions & toss together.
  2. Place the lettuce in a serving bowl and mix in the orange mixture thoroughly.
  3. Just before serving, mix in the almonds.
  4. Slice a few more scallions over the top to garnish.

 

Bacon and Leek Bake with Mandarin Orange and Almond Salad

 

Serves 4 as a side salad to a main dish.

Serves 2 as a main dish salad with a lean protein such as grilled chicken breast.

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Justin "The BIG Guy" - This salad was delicious. If you are a fan of salads. Then this one is for you.

Becky - You did it again, Carrie! Fruits and veggies in the same bowl?! Oh yes, I LOVED this salad, that’s right :) The toasted almonds add such a great crunch to this salad.

Bacon and Leek Bake » Carrie Brown | Marmalade and Mileposts - [...] my last recipe post I promised that the Bacon and Leek Bake would be up next, and that was totally my intention.  How [...]

Almond Parmesan Squash » Carrie Brown | Marmalade and Mileposts - [...] know I said in my last recipe post that the next one would be the Bacon and Leek Bake (which, so you can start to get all worked [...]

mary - I so enjoy reading your little stories that introduce your recipes. I’ll be chuckling over your “…and no one likes burnt nuts” for days!

carrie - Hi Mary!!! Love that I make you chuckle. Big wave from Washington!!

Barbie - Did I miss something; is there a dressing on the salad?

carrie - Hi Barbie – I didn’t include a specific dressing with this salad.

brian reilly - lettuce = salad in the states …interesting
recipe looks good
How do i toast almonds ???
I suspect they are too small for my toaster :-)

Louise - I get the ingredients for the salad, but don’t see anything that would make a dressing? Did I miss something?

carrie - Louise – I didn’t use a specific dressing for this. I tend to use the best store-bought dressings I can find. I will be making SANE dressings for you soon.

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