Recipe: Mandarin Orange and Spinach Pasta Salad
Are you looking to spruce up your salad game? This Mandarin Orange & Spinach Pasta Salad adds a nice twist by landing somewhere between a pasta salad and traditional green salad.
Spinach is the star nutrient of this recipe, packed with vitamin K for healthy bones and blood clotting, as well as good amounts of iron and vitamin C. The tricky thing about non-heme iron (iron not found in animal products), is that it is not absorbed as well as heme iron. Certain substances in plants, such as phytic acid, can further impair the absorption of this non-heme iron.
There are some nutrients that INCREASE non-heme absorption though, and vitamin C is one of them. Spinach’s vitamin C can naturally help your body get more of that non-heme iron in, and the mandarin oranges add an extra boost of vitamin C to help you take in even more of spinach’s coveted iron!
Enjoy this sweet and savory dish as either a side-salad or consider topping it with a favorite protein to make it a plate-method entrée. However you try it, enjoy!
Mandarin Orange and Spinach Pasta Salad
- 6 oz bowtie (aka “farfalle”) pasta noodles (about 2 ¼ C dried pasta noodles)
- 6 C fresh spinach leaves
- ½ C dried cranberries
- 1/3 C slivered almonds
- 4 oz can of mandarin oranges, drained
- ¼ C cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
- 1/3 C teriyaki sauce (store bought)
- 1/3 C rice wine vinegar
- ½ tsp garlic power
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ C olive oil
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. (Usually, add pasta to 2-3 cups boiling water in a pot on the stove over high heat. Boil for 8-15 minutes, or until tender.) Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- While pasta is boiling, prepare the dressing. In an empty jar, combine teriyaki sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, sugar, and olive oil. Tighten lid firmly and shake to combine. (Can also whisk together in a small bowl if needed.) Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta, spinach, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, mandarin oranges, and cilantro.
- Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
- Serve in bowls as a side dish (4 servings) or as a main entrée with your favorite protein (2 servings).
- For the pasta: your favorite noodles or extra spinach
- For the spinach leaves: kale, romaine lettuce, spring mix
- For the dried cranberries: raisins, dried apricots (chopped)
- For the slivered almonds: pine nuts, cashews, peanuts
- For the rice wine vinegar: apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, lime juice
Recipe modified from: https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/mandarin-pasta-spinach-salad-with-teriyaki-dressing