mandarin oranges on top of tossed salad with avocado and cucumber

Avocados are in season somewhere.  They are on sale in my grocery store, and they have been for a couple of weeks.  

Quick – it’s time to pull out all the avocado recipes – guacamole, white chicken chili, tacos.  And salads: tuna in avocado boats, vegetable salads with avocado (cucumber, tomato, avocado & flavored vinegar) and two salads with a sweet red wine vinegar dressing.

The sweet red wine vinegar dressing has a hint of orange flavor.  It is a staple salad dressing in our household.  A little sweet, a little tangy and a hint of orange flavor.  It keeps well, but it does separate, so shake well just before pouring.

I have two salads to recommend with this dressing.  Both have avocados and canned mandarin oranges (although feel free to substitute fresh.) I always keep a can of mandarin oranges in the cupboard for this salad.  I make it almost year round – at least when the avocados do not cost me an arm and a leg!

In the first salad, mix the dressing with spinach or romaine, avocados, seeded cucumbers and mandarin oranges.  In the second salad, I use mixed baby greens, avocado, pomegranate seeds, mandarin oranges, and pecans or almonds.

The orange flavor in the dressing is subtle, enhanced by the mandarin oranges.

Darker colored lettuce contains more nutrients, both vitamins and minerals and other antioxidants and phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant chemicals that have biological activity in your body.) [1, 2]

For more information on the nutrients in this salad, listen to the podcast.

The second salad adds pomegranate ariels (the edible seeds of pomegranates) and nuts instead of the cucumber.  

Pomegranates have about three times the antioxidants of green tea or red wine.  “Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which are known to prevent free radicals from damaging your cells. ” (3)

It does take a few minutes to separate the ariels from the encasing peel, but it is well worth your time.

Pecans are high in unsaturated fat and antioxidants, from the brown skin.  If you want to maximize your antioxidants in the almonds, choose ones that are not blanched.  

mandarin oranges on top of tossed salad with avocado and cucumber

Mandarin Avocado Salad with Orange Dressing

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Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 210 kcal


  • 8 cups spinach * or romaine or mixed greens
  • 1 cucumber, thickly sliced cored if desired
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 14 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

Sweet Red Wine Vinegarette

  • 2 tablespoons Pompeian red wine vinegar ** or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest or ¼ teaspoon Boyajian orange oil ***


Sweet Red Wine Vineagar Dressing with Orange Flavoring

  • Rinse the outside of your lemon and cut in half. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice.
  • Measure 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and combine with the lemon juice in a small bowl or salad dressing cruet.
  • Add the sugar and salt to the vinegar and lemon juice. Stir or shake until sugar and salt are dissolved. (I find it easier to stir until dissolved.). You do actually need to do this step!
  • Add oil and orange zest or orange oil and shake to combine. This dressing will seperate easily, so shake just before pouring.

For the Salad

  • Wash and dry salad greens (if necessary).
  • Tear spinach (lettuce) into bite sized pieces.
  • Peel the cucumber, if desired, and cut lenthwise into quarters.
  • Remove the seeds from the cucumber if they are large or if you desire.
  • Cut the cucumber into ½ inch chunks.
  • Open and drain the mandarin oranges.
  • Rinse, cut in half and peel avocado. (If you are just using half, save the half with the pit and do not remove pit or peel. Store air tight in the refrigerator.)
  • Cut avocado into ½ inch cubes just before serving. If you must cut the avocado ahead of time, drizzle with a little dressing and mix. It will help keep the avocado from turning brown.
  • Dress the greens with the dressing. (I usually have some left over.)
  • Add cucumbers.
  • You may wish to let individual diners add their own mandarin oranges and avocado. Or you can mix them in - but beware they tend to settle to the bottom of the bowl.
  • Enjoy!


*I do not measure the amount of greens.  I make however much my family will eat.  It does depend if I am putting a protein with this for a main dish salad or if it is a side salad.
** This dressing tastes different depending on the wine vinegar you use.  Pompeian greatly improves the flavor of this dressing in my opinion. If you cannot use red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar is also delicious in this dressing.
*** I keep Boyajian orange and lemon oil in my refrigerator at all times.  This is NOT orange "flavor."  The only ingredient is "orange oil."  It is made from the oil in the orange peel.  I order mine from King Arthur Baking company.
Note:  I always at least double this dressing to have some for later.  I could not give you those amounts since it would throw off the nutrient analysis for this recipe.  Even with just one recipe, we usually have dressing left which lowers the fat and calories in this recipe.


Calories: 210kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 200mgPotassium: 690mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 5760IUVitamin C: 26mgVitamin E: 4mgVitamin K: 310µgCalcium: 77mgFolate: 170µgIron: 2mgZinc: 1mg
Keyword gluten-free
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