Mandarin Orange Kale Salad

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With bitter greens, sweet bright fruit, pistachios and dates, this mandarin orange salad has chopped kale as its leafy green base and is tossed in a white wine vinaigrette.

Mandarin orange kale salad on a plate

Give me a season, and I will come up with a different version of a fruit salad. But it’s always a fruit and green salad because I love the combination of sweet and savory fresh flavor. During spring it’s berries, stone fruit in a summer salad, and in the fall it’s apples and pears. So obviously, winter is citrus.

For this simple salad, I take a much-needed imaginary trip somewhere warm and pair the mandarins with chopped dates and pistachios. It feels kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern.

What Are Mandarin Oranges?

There are so many different kinds of oranges. And mandarins are a category that includes clementines, satusumas and tangerines. They are sweeter than other more tart orange varieties.

One of the things that make mandarins so special is how easy they are to peel, and they have little to no seeds. Because of this, they are often marketed as snacks for kids. You will see California mandarins branded as Halos or Cuties.

Even though you can pretty much find them at the grocery no matter what time of year, the season starts in November, just before the holidays, and goes all the way through May.

Peeling Mandarins

Unlike other citrus salads, there is no need to pull out a knife to carefully slice off the peel and white pith especially because the fruit segments are smaller and more delicate than navel and larger orange types.

You can just use you fingers. I like to start with my thumb at one end. Once you begin, the peel comes right off. Then you can break the fruit into orange sections.

Ingredients for kale salad including mandarin oranges, dates, pistachios, and scallions


This is what you need:

  • Oranges: Juicy mandarin oranges have different flavors depending on the specific type. A clementine will be slightly sweeter than a tangerine. You can use any of them or a combination.
  • Kale: Curly green kale or lacinato kale will work for the salad. If you’re not a fan of kale, you can swap it out for baby spinach or arugula.
  • Scallions: These green onions are crisp and go well with the salad greens.
  • Dates: Chewy and sweet, I like Medjool dates best because they are big and soft. If you can’t find them pitted, just halve the dates and pull the pits out with your fingers before you chop them.
  • Pistachios keep with the sunny Mediterranean/Middle Eastern flavors. You can substitute them with almonds or walnuts.
  • White wine vinegar adds acidity to the dressing.
  • Olive oil: Since it’s for the vinaigrette, high quality extra virgin olive oil is best.
  • Mustard: Grainy Dijon mustard helps the oil and vinegar blend together, and it’s tangy and sharp.
  • Salt & pepper: Make sure to season the dressing.
Massage the vinaigrette into the kale and stir int he oranges, pistachios and dates in a large bowl

How to Make A Mandarin Orange Salad

  1. Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients until the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper are fully combined.
  2. Place the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle in about half the vinaigrette and massage it into the kale.
  3. Add the mandarin oranges, scallions, mandarin slices, dates and pistachios. Toss to combine.
  4. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette.


Serve the salad as a main dish or a side salad. You can add shredded rotisserie chicken or sliced chicken breast if you want to add a protein. Crumbled goat cheese is also a good addition if you like cheese on your salads.

Mandarin orange salad on a plate


If you are not planning to serve or eat the entire salad at one time, do not dress the portion of the salad you are saving. Store the salad and vinaigrette each in a separate airtight container. A mason jar is always great for dressings. If you refrigerate the vinaigrette and the oil in the vinaigrette becomes solid, just let it sit out at room temperature for it to become liquid again.

More Citrus Salad Recipes

Citrus Salad with Olives & Pomegranate Seeds
Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges & Pears
Beet Orange Kale Salad
Orange Olive Salad

Mandarin Orange Kale Salad

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By Paige Adams
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
With bitter greens, sweet bright fruit, pistachios and dates, this mandarin orange salad has chopped kale as its leafy green base and is tossed in a white wine vinaigrette.


  • For vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • For salad
  • 1 large bunch curly green kale or Lacinato kale stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 2 mandarin oranges peeled and segmented
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios


  • For the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil until fully combined.
  • Place the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle in about half the vinaigrette and massage it into the kale. Add the mandarins, scallions, dates and pistachios, tossing to combine.
  • Serve with the remaining vinaigrette.


If you aren’t planning to eat the entire salad, portion out what you want to save and do not toss it in the dressing. Store it in an airtight container up to 2 days in a container separate from the vinaigrette.


Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 315mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1806IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean / Middle Eastern
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Author photo

Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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