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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.
A large bowl of mandarin chicken salad.
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!
Ingredients for mandarin chicken salad on a 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.
Baking chicken in a baking dish then tossing mandarin chicken salad ingredients in a bowl.
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.
Mandarin chicken salad in a bowl.
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!
MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD WITH LEMON VINAIGRETTE
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. INGREDIENTS
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
5 cups spinach 4 mandarins, peeled and separated 1 avocado, ripe and diced 1 cucumber, sliced 2 green onions, chopped 1/4 cup slivered almonds sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds LEMON VINAIGRETTE: 1 recipe lemon vinaigrette INSTRUCTIONS
Mix the vinaigrette ingredients together and pour 3/4 of it into a container, along with the chicken to marinate. Ideally, you should marinate the chicken for a few hours, but 30 minutes is fine as well. Marinating chicken for mandarin chicken salad
Preheat your oven to 425F and add the marinated chicken breasts to a baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Baking chicken for mandarin chicken salad
Shred the chicken using either a fork or a stand mixer. Then in a large mixing bowl, toss all the ingredients together. Drizzle the remaining lemon vinaigrette on top.