Mandarin Pomegranate Spinach Salad is a festive colorful fruit-filled salad that’s perfect for holidays and parties! Spinach is layered with oranges, pomegranate arils, and avocado, and topped with a creamy poppy seed dressing. Take this as your Thanksgiving side salad and don’t be surprised if it outshines the turkey!
Mandarin Pomegranate Spinach Salad
Those pretty fall/winter colors though! I love salads like this that are beautifully colorful and taste amazing. This vibrant dish will stand out on your Thanksgiving menu or Christmas dinner buffet.
This Mandarin Pomegranate and Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is a great way to take advantage of the produce in season right now and it’s just bursting with so much juicy freshness in every bite.
It is a perfect side dish to your favorite autumn meals and it would definitely be the hit of any get-together (it’s like my Strawberry Spinach Salad that’s always the first to go, but with seasonal produce).
This recipe is scaled for a single-family side salad, so if you’re going to make it for a Thanksgiving dinner salad I would recommend doubling the recipe.
I spotted the first good pomegranates of the season a few weeks ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. Even though I already miss all of the fresh summer berries, I’m so glad there are still apples, pears, pomegranates, and oranges to look forward to this time of year. And they make such a delicious salad!
Preparing a Pomegranate for a Salad
It wasn’t until later in life that I tried pomegranates for the first time and at first, I thought they were such a pain to seed.
My brother has a pomegranate tree in his backyard, and he showed me the most efficient way to get all those juicy little arils out by slicing, scoring, and tapping them out—but it still seemed somewhat complicated. So I still just do it the old-fashioned way by cutting in half, then kind of tearing the halves to sort of expose them more so I can pick them out in clumps.
Whatever works best for you right? I’ll have to have my brother show me again though because his way was faster than mine. I’ve also heard people like this water method for seeding pomegranate.
Even if it took 30 minutes to get those arils out (don’t worry—it doesn’t!) it would be worth it for this salad. This is definitely a delicious and healthy salad I’ll make again and again, especially as we near the holidays.
I love the pairing of mandarin oranges, pomegranates, and the two types of nuts in this salad. The balance of the creamy poppy seed dressing and avocados pulls the sweet and tangy together.
Mandarin Pomegranate Spinach Salad Variations
This salad is best in the fall and winter when this produce is in season, but I guarantee you can enjoy it year-round. Here are some variations you could try:
- Add chicken or shredded turkey for additional protein
- Add goat cheese or feta if you love a crumbly cheese with your salads
- Try craisins or dried cherries if you can’t get your hands on fresh pomegranates
- Use candied walnuts or make your own to add more sweetness
More Salad Recipes You’ll Love!
- Greek Salad
- Grilled Chicken Chopped Salad with Italian Dressing
- Garden Veggie Pasta Salad
- Autumn Pear Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
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Mandarin Pomegranate Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- For the dressing: In a small mixing bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt until sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Add mayonnaise, honey and poppy seeds and whisk until combined. Mix in milk to thin if desired. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- For the salad: In a salad bowl layer spinach, mandarine oranges, pomegranate arils, avocado, almonds and walnuts.
- Pour desired amount of dressing over top (or alternately just dress each serving). Serve immediately.
- *If you want to make this in the summer it's also good with a small pkg. of fresh raspberries in place of the pomegranate arils.