mandarin orange salad with candied almonds

Fresh, crunchy, simple — a real crowd-pleaser.
Tip: Make the candied almonds and dressing ahead of time, and putting the salad together will be even easier.

Mandarin salad

Mandarin Orange Salad with Candied Almonds
 
Fresh, crunchy, simple -- a real crowd-pleaser. Make the candied almonds and dressing ahead of time, and putting the salad together will be even easier.
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 heaping tablespoons vegan granulated sugar (I use Florida Crystals)
  • 14 ounces Romaine hearts (or your favorite crunchy lettuce combination), sliced crosswise into ½-inch strips (roughly 13 loosely packed cups)
  • 1¼ cups diced celery
  • ½ cup diced scallions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 11-ounce can organic mandarin oranges in water (drained, but with mandarin water from can reserved!)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave syrup (or your favorite sweetener)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, but a nice touch)
Instructions
  1. Combine almonds and sugar in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until sugar is melted and almonds brown (do not allow to burn). Remove almonds from heat, spread them onto wax paper in a single layer, and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together Romaine hearts, celery, scallions, fresh parsley, and mandarin oranges. Set salad aside.
  3. In a tightly covered container, combine ¼ cup of the reserved mandarin orange water, olive oil, agave syrup, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Shake vigorously.
  4. Add the candied almonds and dressing to salad and toss. Serve immediately. (See Notes!)
Notes
Be sure to store the candied almonds and the dressing in separate containers, and assemble the salad only when you're ready to serve it (otherwise you'll have soggy lettuce and chewy -- not crunchy -- almonds)! The dressing should be stored in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.