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Orange Spinach Salad

March 1, 2011

Photo by Gerik

I’ve been watching the Dr. Oz Show and repeatedly he stresses the need to eat vegetables that are colorful. My mom always talked about the “seven doctors”, meaning vegetables that were important health builders. For me, if they don’t taste good then it’s pretty hard to eat them – much less like them.

My father suffered strokes late in his life and one of my strong memories was of Mom’s green drinks. She used spinach, parsley and a few other green things from her garden whizzed up with either orange or pineapple juice. Dad drank it without complaining. As a teen, I sure didn’t want the green drink for myself but realized to keep my mother happy, I needed to find a way to make fresh spinach taste good. I was suddenly on a mission.

Orange Spinach Salad is one of those taste good recipes for me. I feature it here with Mandarin oranges but I’ve used fresh pineapple and fresh strawberries as well. A fresh orange vinaigrette is wonderful on this salad but today I made it with my favorite creamy orange dressing. Both dressing recipes are included. It can be jazzed up for company by adding candied sliced almonds as a garnish but generally I like to keep it simple.

Now that I’m older, I’ve tried my father’s green drink and have to admit being shocked at how good it is but it’s still not something I would relish having very often. No green drink for me, I’d rather have my spinach in this wonderful salad!

Orange Spinach Salad

1 bag of cleaned and stemmed baby spinach
1 cup drained  whole Mandarin Oranges, use a name brand or other fruits such as strawberries,      raspberries or pineapple
Onions, cut into ring, I like Walla Walla Sweets or Idaho Reds
1 pkg. Morningstar Farms Bacon Strips, baked crispy and broken into pieces, or real bacon
Other optional additions:  Candied sliced almonds or nuts of your choice,  sliced green onions, seasoned croutons,  fresh sliced mushrooms.

Creamy Orange Dressing

Equal parts of mayonnaise and orange juice concentrate mixed well.  Add additional orange juice concentrate to suit your taste.

Orange Vinaigrette
From “Simply Classic, The Junior League of Seattle” Cookbook

2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. orange juice concentrate
1 T. honey
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. white pepper
⅓ cup canola or vegetable oil

2 tsp. orange zest

Mix all the ingredients except the oil well.  Add the oil in a small stream while whisking to make an emulsion.  Add the zest and refrigerate a couple of hours to allow the flavors to mingle before serving.

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