This colourful festive spinach salad is perfect for those days when you want to still feel the holiday festivities but need a break from all the treats and rich food the holiday months bring.
Another great time for this salad is as a side dish for your holiday meals. The recipe is for an entree salad but it will do 4 side salads. If you are using it for side salads, make it as one big salad to share family style to save time rather than plating them individually like with the meal salads.
The salad is super easy to make and full of colour and flavour. It is great for a meal after a day of intense gift finding or holiday events. We pair it with our Cranberry, Rosemary, and Orange Vinaigrette Dressing.
The Festive Spinach Salad Ingredients
To make the salad you need only a few ingredients to keep the winter holiday colour palate.
Spinach: Baby spinach is the most tender for a salad.
Pomegranate Seeds and Orange segments: You can either buy them fresh and prep them yourselves or use tinned or frozen orange segments that are rinsed and thawed. Pomegranate seeds are available fresh but loose in containers in the produce aisles of most grocers or frozen as well. These are what makes this
Onion: White or a sweet onion works best in this recipe and slice it paper thin.
Roasted Chickpeas: If you are doing a ton of holiday baking chances are you'll need the aquafaba (bean water). If you don't need it straight away.put it in a covered container in the fridge for up to 72 hours and hang on to it for other recipes or baking. Aquafaba can also be frozen in ice cube trays if it won't be used in time. Our recipe for the crispy protein addition is found here. This top 8 allergen free salad recipe needs the protein provided by the chickpeas. You can find our Roasted Chickpeas recipe here.
Soft vegan cheese: I love the dairy free and top 8 free (except coconut) Boursin brand Dairy Free soft cheese. It adds a great texture and taste depth to the salad.
Substitutions for Boursin and Chickpeas
Plain vegan cream cheese can be substituted for plant based Boursin. Cream cheese could work in a pinch or a cashew cheese if you can do nuts
If a chickpea allergy is an issue for you replace the roasted chickpeas with pumpkin seeds. Lightly toast in a dry skillet under a constant watch, if you like. Toasting isn't needed though if you want a quick swap.
Directions and Tips to Make the Mandarin Spinach Salad
This salad is meant to be made in individual salad plates or bowls. It will make two light meal salads or four side salads. Putting it in a bowl and then serving will clump the plant cheese and it won't be properly distributed.
Leave the spinach in leaves, baby spinach is best for this, rather than chopping or tearing it.Sprinkle the toppings on top to showcase the colours and flavours of winter and the holiday festivities. Drizzle the dressing on the salad.
Adaptations on a Vegan Spinach Salad
To switch the flavours up on the festive spinach salad add avocado, change the pomegranates for dried cranberries to keep it a winter motif and colours.
Try sauteing the onions until caramelised and using blood oranges for a post holidays twist.
Replacing the mandarins with grapefruit and adding a sugary coating to the roasted chickpeas with maple syrup is another great pre-spring salad option.
What Should I Serve This Winter Spinach Salad With?
This salad makes an excellent lunch or light meal. It is a salad we would have before stepping out to the Christmas parties where we may not be able to eat many of the food dishes served, if at all. The festive spinach salad also makes a great side dish for any holiday gathering. We have this salad well in to the winter, not just the holiday season. It is bright and eye-catching which is exactly what we often need in the early parts of the new year. With modern produce as it is and the availabilty of frozen pomegranate pips or ones that have been separated and can be picked up in the produce chillers at the market, we can have this salad any time of year.
Pairing this spinach salad recipe with one of our many soups like The Dairy Free Potato Soup makes a wonderfully colourful and filling winter dinner.
Storing This Spinach Salad Recipe
This top 8 allergen free salad will keep for 24 hours in the fridge without dressing on it when stored in a sealed container. Serve immediately with dressing poured on it. Sadly, this orange and pomegranate spinach salad is not suitable for freezing.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
If you try this recipe please let us know what you think in the comments section. We love to see pictures too.
Spinach Salad - Vegan, GF/DF, Top 8 Free
- 2 Salad bowls
- Cutting board
- Salad Ingredients
- 4 C baby spinach washed and torn
- ¼ of a small onion thinly sliced
- 3 mandarin oranges peeled and segmented
- ¼ C pomegranate seeds
- ¼ C roasted chickpeas
- 4 tbsps Boursin dairy free cheese
- Cranberry rosemary, and orange salad dressing Ingredients
- ⅓ C fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 C water
- 1 5 inch sprig of fresh rosemary
- 3 mandarin oranges
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ C rice vinegar
- ½ C olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place 2 C spinach in each personal sized bowl.
- Top with sliced onions, pomegranate seeds, segmented mandarin orange and roasted chickpeas (recipe found here).
- Divide the Boursin cheese in small dollops over the salad.
- To Make the dressing. In a small pot place the cranberries, water, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and let simmer until the berries have popped and deflated and the liquid has reduced by half. About 10 mins. Mash the berries with a potato masher. Set aside and let cool.
- Cut the mandarins in half. In a bowl with a spout, juice the mandarin oranges.
- Add maple syrup, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Strain the cranberry and rosemary liquid removing the left over berry chunks and herbs. Use ⅛ -¼ C of the strained liquid in the dressing to taste. Reserve the rest of the liquid for our winter cocktail found here.
- Mix dressing well and pour over salads.