Recipes.net Recipes.net logo
Social Media

Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans Recipe

A delightful blend of earthy, citrusy, and nutty flavors, this Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans is an easy-to-make salad that's refreshing and satisfying. With an appealing mix of textures and tastes, this salad will be a winner at your next dinner party or a wholesome addition to your everyday meals.

Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans Recipe
3
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

Photos of Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans Recipe

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

This recipe uses Sicilian green olives, which are a type of olives known for their bright green color and buttery taste. They are larger than most olives, have a meaty texture and are less bitter. If you can't find them in your local supermarket, you can substitute with any green olives. Also, the recipe calls for navel or blood oranges, which are sweet and juicy citrus fruits. If these are not available, you can also use mandarin oranges.

Ingredients for Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans

Pecan halves: Pecans add a rich, buttery flavor and a delightful crunch to the salad.

Unsalted butter: Used to toast the pecans, adding a depth of flavor.

Honey: Adds a natural sweetness that balances the tartness from the oranges.

Parmesan cheese: Gives a nutty and salty flavor.

Lemon juice: Brightens up the flavors of the salad.

Shallots: Adds a mild and slightly sweet flavor.

Dijon mustard: Gives a tangy and spicy flavor.

Extra virgin olive oil: Creates a flavorful base for the dressing.

Oranges: Adds fresh and sweet citrus notes.

Baby spinach: Provides a mild and slightly bitter taste.

Sicilian green olives: Adds a briny and buttery flavor.

One reader, Alica Hardesty says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This spinach and orange salad with pecans recipe is a game-changer! The combination of fresh spinach, juicy oranges, and crunchy pecans is simply divine. The dressing adds a zesty kick, and the flavors blend beautifully. It's a refreshing and nutritious dish that's perfect for any occasion. Highly recommended!

Alica Hardesty

Techniques Required for Crafting the Perfect Salad

How to toast pecans: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes, or until fragrant.

How to make honey butter pecans: In a bowl, toss the toasted pecans with melted butter, honey, and parmesan cheese. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 4 minutes, or until golden.

How to make lemon vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallots, and Dijon mustard. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How to prepare oranges: Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Cut the oranges in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices.

How to assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the baby spinach with the lemon vinaigrette. Add the sliced oranges, honey butter pecans, and Sicilian green olives. Toss gently to combine and serve immediately.

How To Make Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans

Toss an easy and refreshing spinach and orange salad that’s made with a tangy dressing and mixed with crunchy roasted pecans for a nutty, citrusy bite.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 2cupspecan halves
  • 2tbspunsalted butter,melted
  • 1tbsphoney
  • 2tbspparmesan cheese,freshly grated
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3tbspfresh lemon juice
  • 2tbspshallots,minced
  • 1tbspdijon mustard
  • 6tbspextra virgin olive oil
  • 4medium oranges,navel or blood
  • 1lbbaby spinach
  • 1cupsicilian green olives,pitted and chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Toast the pecans on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a bowl, toss with the butter, honey, Parmesan, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, then spread on the sheet and bake for 4 minutes, or until golden. Let cool.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the shallots and mustard. Whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper.

  4. With a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Halve the oranges lengthwise, then slice crosswise ¼-inch thick.

  5. In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the dressing, olives, pecans, and oranges and serve at once. Enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Calories: 249.54kcal
  • Fat: 22.74g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.66g
  • Trans Fat: 0.08g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.45g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.58g
  • Carbohydrates: 11.53g
  • Fiber: 4.01g
  • Sugar: 6.64g
  • Protein: 3.83g
  • Cholesterol: 6.14mg
  • Sodium: 296.59mg
  • Calcium: 94.12mg
  • Potassium: 381.33mg
  • Iron: 1.67mg
  • Vitamin A: 204.14µg
  • Vitamin C: 35.66mg

Expert Tip for Enhancing the Flavors in This Salad

When toasting pecans, it's important to keep a close eye on them as they can easily burn due to their high oil content. The moment they become fragrant, they're done. Also, when peeling the oranges, make sure to remove all the white pith as it can add a bitter taste to your salad. For a more intense flavor, you can also try marinating the olives in the dressing for a few hours before adding them to the salad.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Salad Recipe

Prep ahead: Wash and dry the spinach and store it in an airtight container with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. You can also pre-toast the pecans and store them in an airtight container to save time.

Use pre-made dressing: If you're short on time, you can use a store-bought vinaigrette or citrus-based dressing instead of making the dressing from scratch. Just make sure to choose a high-quality dressing for the best flavor.

Segment the oranges: Instead of peeling and slicing the oranges, you can segment them. This not only saves time but also gives the salad a more elegant look.

Multi-task: While the pecans are toasting in the oven, you can prepare the dressing and segment the oranges to make the most of your time in the kitchen.

Buy pre-sliced pecans: To save time, consider purchasing pre-sliced pecans instead of whole pecan halves. This eliminates the need for chopping and speeds up the preparation process.

Prep the olives: If you're using whole olives, consider purchasing pitted olives or pre-sliced olives to save time on preparation.

Substitute Ingredients For Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans Recipe

  • pecan halves - Substitute with walnut halves: Walnuts have a similar rich, nutty flavor and crunchy texture, making them a suitable replacement for pecans in the salad.

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can be used as a healthier alternative to butter, adding a light, fruity flavor to the salad dressing.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with feta cheese: Feta cheese offers a tangy and salty flavor that complements the spinach and oranges in the salad.

  • lemon juice - Substitute with orange juice: Orange juice can provide a citrusy tang similar to lemon juice, enhancing the fruity flavors in the salad.

  • shallots - Substitute with red onion: Red onion can be used as a substitute for shallots, providing a mild onion flavor and a pop of color to the salad.

  • dijon mustard - Substitute with whole grain mustard: Whole grain mustard offers a similar tangy flavor and adds texture to the dressing.

  • navel or blood oranges - Substitute with mandarin oranges: Mandarin oranges can be used as a substitute, providing a sweet and juicy citrus flavor to the salad.

  • baby spinach - Substitute with arugula: Arugula can be used as a peppery alternative to baby spinach, adding a unique flavor to the salad.

  • sicilian green olives - Substitute with kalamata olives: Kalamata olives offer a rich and briny flavor, complementing the other ingredients in the salad.

Presenting Spinach and Orange Salad With Pecans

  1. Elevate the salad with toasted pecans: Toast the pecans with butter, honey, and parmesan to enhance their flavor and add a crunchy texture to the salad.

  2. Create a vibrant citrus arrangement: Arrange the sliced oranges in an artistic and visually appealing manner to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  3. Incorporate a flavorful dressing: Drizzle the lemon juice, shallot, and dijon mustard dressing over the salad to infuse it with a zesty and tangy flavor that complements the sweetness of the oranges and the earthiness of the spinach.

  4. Highlight the freshness of the spinach: Carefully arrange the baby spinach to showcase its vibrant green color and delicate leaves, creating an inviting and appetizing presentation.

  5. Add a touch of elegance with Sicilian green olives: Strategically place the Sicilian green olives to provide a burst of briny flavor and a sophisticated touch to the salad.

  6. Balance the flavors and textures: Ensure that each component, including the pecans, oranges, spinach, and olives, is harmoniously balanced to create a well-rounded and delightful culinary experience.

Essential Tools for Making a Delightful Salad

  • Baking sheet: A flat, metal sheet used for baking and toasting items in the oven.
  • Bowl: A round, deep dish used for mixing and serving ingredients.
  • Knife: A sharp utensil used for cutting and peeling fruits and vegetables.
  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for blending and mixing ingredients together.
  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking and toasting food items.

Interesting Trivia About Spinach and Orange Salads

Spinach and orange salad is a great source of vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system. The combination of spinach and oranges in this salad provides a significant amount of this important vitamin, helping to boost your body's defenses against illnesses and infections.

Is Making This Salad at Home Cost-Effective?

This spinach and orange salad with pecans recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as spinach, oranges, and pecans, are generally affordable and readily available. The addition of olive oil and lemon may slightly increase the cost, but these are versatile ingredients that can be used in various other dishes. The overall verdict rating for this recipe is 8/10. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly and nutritious option.

Is This Salad Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

This spinach and orange salad with pecans recipe is a healthy and nutritious option overall. The salad is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients like spinach, oranges, and pecans, which provide a good source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The dressing made with lemon juice, shallots, Dijon mustard, and extra virgin olive oil is a healthier alternative to creamy, high-calorie dressings. However, there are a few elements that could be adjusted to make the recipe even healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of butter and honey used in the candied pecans to lower the calorie and sugar content
  • Use a smaller amount of Parmesan cheese or opt for a lower-fat variety to decrease the saturated fat content
  • Consider reducing the amount of olive oil in the dressing or using a lighter option like avocado oil to lower the overall calorie count

To further enhance the nutritional value of this salad, you could:

  • Add more colorful vegetables like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, or shredded carrots to increase the fiber and antioxidant content
  • Include a lean protein source such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make the salad more satiating and balanced
  • Experiment with different types of greens, such as arugula or kale, to vary the texture and nutritional profile of the salad
  • Use fresh herbs like basil or mint to add extra flavor without relying on salt or high-calorie ingredients

Editor's Opinion on the Flavors and Textures of This Salad

The combination of fresh spinach, juicy oranges, and crunchy pecans creates a delightful balance of flavors and textures in this salad. The addition of the tangy dressing and salty olives further elevates the dish. However, I would suggest adjusting the amount of honey and parmesan to avoid overpowering the natural sweetness of the oranges and the delicate flavor of the spinach. Overall, this recipe offers a refreshing and satisfying salad that would make a lovely addition to any meal.

Enhance Your Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for balancing the flavors of the spinach and orange salad.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection and topped with a zesty lemon zest, adding a refreshing and vibrant element to the meal.
Balsamic Glazed Carrots: Sweet and tangy carrots glazed with balsamic vinegar, providing a delightful contrast to the flavors of the pecans and oranges in the salad.

Similar Salad Recipes to Try

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This hearty salad is packed with roasted vegetables and protein-rich quinoa, making it a satisfying and nutritious meal.
Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken: A simple and flavorful roast chicken recipe that is perfect for a family dinner or special occasion. The lemon and garlic add a delicious twist to this classic dish.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: A refreshing and tropical dessert that is both healthy and delicious. The combination of sweet mango and creamy coconut makes for a perfect summer treat.
Spicy Black Bean Soup: Warm up with this spicy and flavorful black bean soup. It's a comforting and satisfying dish that is perfect for a chilly day.

Complementary Main Course and Dessert Pairings

Main Courses:
Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce: Impress your guests with a perfectly grilled salmon fillet, topped with a tangy lemon dill sauce. The combination of the smoky flavor from the grill and the bright, fresh taste of the sauce will leave everyone wanting more.
Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil: Indulge in a creamy and flavorful mushroom risotto, drizzled with aromatic truffle oil. The earthy richness of the mushrooms combined with the luxurious truffle oil creates a dish that is both comforting and elegant.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Berry Parfait: Layer fresh berries with creamy yogurt and crunchy granola for a light and refreshing dessert. The combination of sweet, tart, and crunchy creates a delightful treat that is perfect for any occasion.

Why trust this Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, making it a refreshing and nutritious choice. The use of fresh spinach provides essential nutrients, while the addition of orange slices adds a burst of citrusy sweetness. The crunch of pecans and the briny flavor of Sicilian green olives create a satisfying contrast. The dressing, made with zesty lemon juice and rich olive oil, ties everything together harmoniously. Trust in the quality and balance of these ingredients to elevate your dining experience.

Want to share your experience with this Spinach and Orange Salad with Pecans Recipe? Head over to the Recipe Sharing section of our forum and join the discussion!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of nut in this salad?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of nut in this salad. Walnuts or almonds would be great alternatives to pecans.
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the components of the salad ahead of time, such as toasting the pecans and making the dressing. However, it's best to assemble the salad just before serving to keep the spinach fresh and the flavors vibrant.
Can I use a different type of greens instead of baby spinach?
Absolutely! You can use arugula, mixed greens, or even kale as a substitute for the baby spinach in this salad.
Can I omit the olives from the salad?
Of course! If you're not a fan of olives, feel free to leave them out or substitute with another ingredient like cherry tomatoes or thinly sliced red onions for a different flavor profile.
Can I use bottled orange juice instead of fresh oranges?
While fresh oranges are recommended for the best flavor and texture, you can use bottled orange juice if that's what you have on hand. However, the fresh oranges add a lovely brightness to the salad that bottled juice may not fully replicate.

Was this page helpful?

Chat Bubble Icon Share your own special recipe
Submit Your Own Recipe

Have your own special recipe to share? Submit Your Recipe Today!