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This Mandarin chicken salad ups the ante of what a chicken salad can be. It’s piled high with sweet mandarins, shredded chicken, avocado, crunchy toppings, and tossed with a zingy lemon vinaigrette.
You’ve probably gathered by now that I have a thing for chicken salads. From my ultimate chicken salad (it’s a reader favorite for a reason) to my southwest chicken salad (Tex Mex flavor on point), there’s nothing more satisfying than taking a bite of fresh greens, crisp veggies, and juicy chicken.
But when it’s mandarin season and you see those bags of Cuties at the market, you must make this mandarin chicken salad! It’s got plenty of protein to fill you up, yet it’s light enough to not weigh you down, and because the ingredient list is super simple you can easily throw it together. My kind of salad.
Plus, you can’t deny how gorgeous this salad looks with its shades of green and orange – it’s a stunner on the dinner table!
WHAT’S IN THIS MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD?
Honestly, it’s just a mix of run-of-the-mill supermarket staples. Nothing fancy. But it’s how they all come together that’s important!
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: I’ll walk you through my baked chicken recipe that guarantees perfectly juicy chicken every time!
Spinach: I’m a spinach lover when it comes to salads, but you could swap in your favorite leafy greens.
Mandarins: They’re easy to peel, and naturally sweet! If you can’t find mandarins you could also dice up some larger oranges.
Avocado: For that creamy texture and healthy fat.
Cucumber: I’m using an English cucumber as it has softer skin, but a regular garden cucumber works as well.
Green Onion: Such a simple way to add a fresh, crisp texture.
Slivered Almonds: I’m using them raw, but you could also lightly toast them.
Lemon Vinaigrette: This tangy, lemony dressing works beautifully with the citrus in the salad.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
HOW TO MAKE A MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD?
Marinate the chicken. Mix the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl. Add the chicken breasts to a large bowl, pour ¾ of the dressing on top, and let it marinate for a few hours or overnight.
Bake the chicken. Preheat your oven to 425F then add the marinated chicken breasts to a baking dish. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Shred the chicken. I love to make shredded chicken using my stand mixer (so fast and easy!), but you can also do it with two forks on a chopping board.
Toss it all together. Now that you have everything prepped, toss all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on top!
Pro Tip #1: To make this salad even easier, you can marinate and bake the chicken the day before. Then, all you need to do is chop up some veggies and toss everything together on the day you’re serving.
WAYS TO MEAL PREP AND STORE
Because of the leafy spinach greens in this salad it’s best eaten fresh, but if you do have leftovers…
For storing leftovers: Store them in a sealed container in the fridge for 1-2 days. After that, the salad will start to get a bit soggy from the vinaigrette.
For meal prepping: You can prep the shredded chicken and sliced cucumbers in their own containers, then pull from these to throw your salad together the day of (with the rest of the ingredients). The chicken will keep for about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Pro Tip #2: You can always double the marinade and bake a few extra chicken breasts while you’re at it, then reserve those for additional meals throughout the week!
MORE EASY, HEARTY SALADS
In the mood for a hefty dinner salad? These options are loaded with tasty and nutritious ingredients! And if you just need some salad inspiration, check out my roundup of the best salad recipes.