An easy salad to throw together, this spinach salad with mandarin oranges, goat cheese, almond slivers, and dates is made even more delicious by a homemade Vidalia onion vinaigrette. You can take a girl out of Georgia but…you know the rest.
We had a mini February vacay this past weekend (which I highly recommend in the hardest month of the year), where we traveled to Palm Beach, then Orlando to do Disney in a night, then up to Savannah for our nephew’s baptism. My favorite place was by far The Breakers, where John had a conference. I could really acclimate quickly to the lifestyle of the rich. It would look good on me (and anyone?!).
Home but not home
When you’re a card-carrying member of the adult world (the kind with kids maybe or a mortgage, or other adulty things), your home is obviously where you live. There’s just no comparable place. However, a little piece of me still clings to the home I came from that allowed me to build such a joyful, loving home here in DC. I miss so much about the South (the manners, slower pace of life, the rich traditions), so I cling to the things up here in DC that remind me of this original home. Even if it is an onion.
Vidalia onions, Georgia’s official state vegetable
Did you even know states had an official state vegetable? News to me! If you Yankees have never had a Vidalia onion, they are sweet onions that can only be grown in the 20 counties surrounding Vidalia, Georgia. The sweetness comes from a serendipitous gathering of the right weather conditions, soil, and water only found in South Georgia. They have such a uniquely sweet flavor, I could almost eat them like an apple…almost.
Vidalia onions are available in most stores around the U.S. now (thank God!) from April to August or September, so if you’re eating any other kind of onion in the spring or summer, you’re just doing it all wrong.
Why I love this salad
The Vidalia onion vinaigrette is so completely delicious and screams home to me. More on Vidalia onions below.
This salad is one of the easiest to throw together. This salad requires very minimal chopping — only needing to chop the dates and the onions for the vinaigrette. Now that’s my kind of salad.
You can easily make this spinach salad with mandarin oranges in advance if you’re making it for company, a party, or just meal prepping.
Ingredients needed for spinach salad with mandarin oranges
Here what you need for the salad:
- mandarin oranges. I use the ones that come from a can. I stay away from the ones that are in sweetened juice though.
- goat cheese
- almond slivers
- dates. I highly encourage you to buy Medjool dates, which are the superior date in my opinion. (These Bacon Wrapped Dates are the tastiest way to use any leftovers, too.)
For the Vidalia onion vinaigrette:
- Vidalia onion
- apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
My Favorite Salads
I looooove a good salad. They’re probably the thing I crave most when I get home from traveling, no matter how good I’ve eaten in my journeys. There’s just something so nourishing about fresh produce all in one bowl. Here are a few of my favorite salads:
- Copycat Chick-fil-A Superfood Kale Salad
- Copycat Cosi Signature Salad with Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette
- Citrus Fennel Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit Vinaigrette
- Tomato and Peach Salad with Whipped Goat Cheese
- Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Radishes, Mint, and Ricotta
- Rosemary Chicken Cobb Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
Here’s to thinking about all the amazing things about home!
Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette
For the salad:
- 6 cups spinach, washed and dried
- 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
- 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup almond slivers
- 1/4 cup dates, seeded and chopped
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 small Vidalia onion chopped
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil potentially more + 1 Tbsp
- In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients.
- In a non-stick sauce pan, heat up one Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until combined and cook for another 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Place contents of pan in blender or food processor and blend on high for two minutes. Continuing on high (just make sure your lid is on tight), slowly add in the olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency.Toss vinaigrette over salad just before serving.