Spinach Mandarin Poppy Seed Salad

CATEGORIES: Kate, Salads

So I’ve blogged a lot about Louisiana food, but I’ve rarely blogged about something that, in my mind, I have pegged as Utah food. I don’t know exactly why that is–maybe Louisiana food is just more new to me or maybe I feel like we have such a strong Utah-based readership that people won’t care about my Utah-in-my-brain recipes. Heck, I don’t even know what constitutes Utah food, but for some reason, in my mind, this salad just has “Beehive State” written all over it.

I haven’t made this salad for a long time–I’ve been distracted with things like Sara’s Asian Wonton Salad and Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad. But remember when Sara talked about taking a bite of Black Bean Soup and being whooshed back to Brazil? That’s exactly how I felt when I took a bite of this salad. I was immediately transported a few years and 2000 miles back to the apartment my husband and I lived in for three years while he finished school, the one where we brought both our kids home from the hospital, the one where my cooking obsession kind of exploded.

This salad is pretty much a guaranteed hit at parties. My insanely picky 5-year-old eats it with minimal coaxing. My 2-year-old closes her eyes and sighs (she does it when she eats sushi, too…it’s pretty darn cute). Plus, it’s quick, easy, and cheap–I mean, check out the ingredients:

Doesn’t get much better than that, right?



  1. I don't see any green Jell-O, or funeral potatoes on that plate so I'm not seeing Utah! 😉 (Born and raised 33 years in Happy Valley) – I'm in TX now and the salad looks yummy! Maybe it's the UT in me 😉

  2. Yummy. If wish I had all the ingredients to make this a breakfast salad since it is only 8:15am here in Portland. Can't wait for my next potluck invite because I will be bringing this salad.

  3. You've put everything I like into a salad…AGAIN! Thanks for this and all the excellent recipes you and Sara post (you've made me look pretty brilliant on more than one occasion!)

  4. Oh, I FOR SURE see Utah in this salad. I lived there for about 5 years and this kind of recipe was a standard piece of yumminess. I would put it down right in between the Frog Eye Salad and the Layered Cool Whip & Chocolate Pudding Dessert on the buffet table!

    Yum! Wouldn't want to live there again, but I'll eat their food any day! 😉

  5. I agree, it is Utah area. Now that we don't live there I forget about that kind of stuff for a bit, but come back to it.
    People here are so amazed that Jello can be used in so many ways and ask for the recipies, lol. Thanks for bringing it home!

  6. This recipe looked so great I ran out & bought the ingredients we didn't have on hand and shuffled our dinner menus to make it last night. It was yummy! We tossed everything but the bacon together and let the carnivores add their own bacon (or eat just bacon, in the case of certain four year olds).

  7. I was SUPER excited when you posted the poppy seed dressing recipe the other day because I love it with that salad and it pretty much made my day today to see this recipe follow the dressing recipe. I can't wait to make this. This salad is the best. Thank you! 🙂

  8. I made this salad for a Mothers Day luncheon at church a couple of days ago. I made two batches and we ran out. I would say if you are making it for a lot of people, my two batches were enough for about 40 women. I didn't get any, didn't even taste it after I made it because I was so busy running around getting set up for the ladies in RS. So, tonight, two days later, I made it for my family so that I could taste it. UNBELIEVABLE salad. I loved the fresh dressing. I saw this same salad with chicken and nuts using basically the same dressing too. You could be versitle with it.

  9. My niece & I tried this salad today for lunch and it was yummy!! We changed it around a bit by adding fresh strawberries, leaving the cheese off & adding sesame seeds to the dressing instead of poppy seeds, but was it ever good. Wewill definitely be having it again!
    Great work, ladies!

  10. I made this for a salad potluck and was so glad! Yes, like most salads, you could subsitute the mandarin oranges for strawberries or craisins or add nuts instead of the bacon, but this combinations of ingredients was really, reeeeeally good. I'm going to be sure to stick with this combo every time. DELISH!

  11. I never try out a recipe for the first time when we have company over. It's just too risky. 🙂 But I've tried a bunch of your recipes and they've all been winners, so I tried out this recipe tonight when we had some friends over. It was a hit. Thank you for being my go-to foodie site. 🙂

  12. I’m a big salad girl but get tired of the classic lettuce/tomato/carrots/cucumber/green pepper salad I usually make. I’m not a huge avacado fan and definitely do not do raw onion but in the interest of being adventurous I gave this salad a try and OH my goodness I loved it! Red onions and all! I made one for dinner last and packed up two in tupperware containers for lunch today and ended up eating the one for dinner and breaking open one of the lunch containers too. So glad I stepped out of my salad comfort zone! 🙂

  13. This was the most amazing salad ever! Made it for a friend’s “girl’s night” without testing it first (as I do trust everything on this site to be fantastic 🙂 and it was a big hit! Everyone was so impressed that the dressing was homemade, but it was quite obvious as the flavour you could never get from store bought. The only downfall was the amount of bacon I ate while I was getting things put together … and I NEVER eat bacon :).

  14. Made this for a baby shower today and EVERYONE was asking for the recipe! Definitely a keeper! That dressing?! OH. MY. YUM. I could drink that stuff! This was the first time I had ever made this salad, but as others have mentioned nothing on your site is bad so I knew it would be delicious!

  15. I made this for a family bbq last weekend and everyone loved it. I sent at least 4 people to your website for the recipe. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for another yummy recipe! I can always trust your recipes to be amazing!

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