I picked up my CSA share this week from Meadow Lynn Market Garden and made this Strawberry Mandarin Salad with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette. The freshly picked organic mixed greens pair perfectly with sweet local strawberries, mandarin orange sections and a tangy oniony dressing. Adding sunflower seeds adds that crunchy element that every salad needs.
This is actually based on a recipe of my mom’s. She spent many years travelling with her curling team to bonspiels throughout the region. If you’re not familiar with curling, it’s more about the social part than the sport. The winning team always buys the drinks after the game. And there’s always good food. This was a salad she had while being hosted out of town. She says she can’t remember what else they had for lunch or if they won or not but she always remembered this salad.
Feel free to personalize this recipe to your liking. My mom’s version has bacon and red onion rings. I decided for a change to keep it meatless. Which is unusual for a “meatatarian” like me! You might also like Spinach Salad with Maple Roasted Pecans and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
The dressing is a simple mixture of red wine vinegar, dry mustard or dijon, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper and finely minced onion. And since I hate to waste anything I used the juice from the mandarin oranges to sweeten the dressing and just used a small amount of sugar. Any vinegar will work but I chose red wine vinegar because it has some colour. And you can blend the dressing until smooth or just whisk together and leave the onion chunky. You’ll have plenty of dressing, more than enough for a crowd sized salad.
You can use canned mandarin oranges or these individual cups. If fresh mandarins are available you could use them, just increase the sugar to 1 tablespoon and make sure you peel off all the white stuff, the pith, because it can be bitter.
A small can would work if you’re making a very large salad. In this case I made a smaller serving so I only used part of one fruit cup.
Once you’ve mixed up the dressing and topped the greens with sliced strawberries and halved mandarins, drizzle some dressing over top and finish with a spoonful of sunflower seeds.
Here’s the recipe:
Strawberry Mandarin Salad with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette
- 1 large bowl mixed field greens
- 16 sliced fresh ripe strawberries
- 1 small can mandarin oranges, drained, reserve juice 11 oz can or a few fruit cups
- 2 Tbsp unsalted sunflower seeds
Sweet Onion Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup juice from mandarin oranges
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard or dijon mustard
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 2 Tbsp very finely minced or grated sweet onion
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine dressing ingredients and whisk or shake until well mixed. Or puree until smooth.
- Arrange rinsed and dried lettuce mix in a large bowl or individual serving sized bowls. Top with fresh sliced strawberries and halfed mandarin orange sections.
- Drizzle dressing over top and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
- Dressing recipe makes a large amount, enough for a very large salad. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.