Mandarin Chicken Salad drizzled with a garlicky maple dressing and topped with candied nuts is a family favorite salad recipe. Fancy enough to serve to company or to hit the dinner spot in the heat of summer when you just don’t feel like eating a heavy meal. The secret to this salad is layering ingredients and textures to give you a burst of flavour with every crunchy mouth full.
I often enlist the help of whoever is in the kitchen at the time to prep this salad, children make great celery choppers and sprout rinsers. While they are busy getting the salad assembled I am free to grill the chicken, I season it with a barbecue rub and either pan fry it or throw it on the BBQ. While the chicken cools I candy the nuts using either pecans or sliced almonds, whichever I happen to have on hand at the time then I let them cool while I mix the dressing. For my dressing I am partial to Owl Ridge Acres Maple Syrup, my brother lovingly crafts this maple syrup from his sugar bush in Bancroft , Ontario.
If I was making this salad for company I would plan ahead to have all the steps done but when we are having it for a family dinner it is fun to get everyone involved and it all comes together nicely. This salad will serve about six people for dinner sized portions or 8-10 as a side salad, we never have left overs.
- 1 pkg ( 300 grams) Spring Mix Salad or Romain lettuce chopped
- 2 cups bean sprouts ( rinsed)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1-2 cans of mandarin orange segments, drained
- 3-4 chicken breasts cooked, cooled and sliced
- Candied Nuts
- 1 cup pecans or sliced/slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Assemble first five ingredients into a large salad bowl layering spring mix or lettuce in bowl then top with bean sprouts, celery,sliced cooked chicken and mandarin orange segments.
- To make candied nuts, heat a nonstick frying pan on medium high and place nuts in the pan and lightly brown for about 3 minutes. Then add sugar to browned nuts and allow sugar to melt and caramelize while stirring often, about 5 minutes.Turn nuts out onto a heat proof surface lined with parchment paper and allow to cool while making dressing. When nuts are cooled break them apart and crumble them on top of salad.
- to make dressing combine ingredients into a 500ml mason jar with lid and shake to emulsify. Pour over salad and toss to coat.
I cannot wait to try this! Love mandarins and love putting them in salads. This recipe sounds amazing!