This Mandarin Orange Salad with Thai Crunch Salad Dressing may remind you of California Pizza Kitchen. It’s an incredibly delicious quick and easy salad with little to no chopping. It comes together in minutes with sweet oranges, greens, and a zingy dressing you will love.
And a salad you’ll love all year, perfect as a side or even a complete meal when you add protein like chicken or salmon.
Thai Crunch Salad Dressing
Oh my word. Seriously, this may be an all-time favorite dressing… or even dip. It’s so incredible with this simple salad. But it’s also wonderful as a dip or sauce with veggies like carrots and celery, sweet cherry tomatoes, or slices of cucumbers, which is my preferred snack!
But it’s also delicious with chicken tenders, used for a grilled chicken satay, or as a sauce over just about anything that pairs well with peanuts.
Here’s the ingredient list for the dressing: exact measurements are in the recipe card below.
- Creamy peanut butter
- Rice vinegar: if you don’t have rice vinegar on hand, you can substitute apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, red or white wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar.
- Lime juice
- Neutral oil: vegetable oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or even unrefined light olive oil (see more ideas in the recipe card below.
- Soy Sauce
- Garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh cilantro
What goes in Mandarin Orange Salad
Here are the basics of this oh-so-easy salad:
- Fresh greens (spinach, spring greens, arugula, etc.)
- Canned mandarin oranges, drained
- Crushed roasted peanuts
If you don’t mind chopping a bit, I absolutely love to include a small English cucumber, halved, seeds removed with a spoon, and then thinly sliced. But that’s just me, I love to add cucumber to just about everything.
Other ingredient ideas might be shredded carrots, edamame, scallions, shredded cabbage (napa and/or purple cabbage) and additional fresh cilantro.
How to Make Thai Crunch Salad Dressing
Add all of the Thai Crunch Salad dressing ingredients to a blender, except for the fresh cilantro. Process until completely smooth, then add fresh cilantro and blend until it’s chopped and incorporated. If needed, add additional drizzles of cooking oil until it’s as thin as desired.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
How to Make Mandarin Orange Salad
Add the salad ingredients to your bowl. Blend the dressing until smooth. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing, or simply spoon it over the top of the greens. If you’re making the salad ahead, serve the dressing on the side to prevent it from becoming soggy.
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Thai Crunch Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar (*see notes)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (*see notes)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
Mandarin Orange Salad
- 1 (15-oz) can mandarin oranges, juice drained
- 16 oz fresh greens (spinach, baby spring mix, arugula, or your favorite)
- Thai Crunch Salad Dressing: In a blender, add peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, oil, soy sauce, honey, sugar, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Process until very smooth. Add fresh cilantro and blend until the herb is chopped and combined with the dressing. Thin with additional oil if needed to consistency desired. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Mandarin Orange Salad: Combine the salad greens, drained mandarin oranges, and any additional salad vegetables you want to add in a large salad bowl.
- Serving: When ready to serve drizzle or spoon dressing over the top of the salad. Top with crushed roasted peanuts and additional fresh cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.
- Crushed peanuts
- Fresh cilantro
Substitutions for Rice Vinegar
- If you don't have rice vinegar on hand, easy substitutions are apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, red or white wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar.
- Neutral oils are considered oil that has little to no flavor. The most common are vegetable oil, canola, avocado, corn, peanut, refined coconut, and grapeseed oil. Refined light olive oil can work as well.