Mandarin Avocado and Pecan Salad
I have had this recipe for Mandarin Avocado and Pecan Salad forever…almost. I tend to forget about it and I don’t have it for years; then, I make it again and am reminded why I like it so much. Not only is it delectable, but also light, refreshing, unassuming, and easy to put together. Along with many other recipes, I keep it in a little black cardboard box that once housed an expensive bottle of champagne. You might have a box just like it. It is crammed full of recipes jotted down on random scraps of paper, ripped from waiting room magazines, or copied on the company Xerox machine. Some of them were hand written for me from loved ones long since departed. They are stained, faded, torn, and shoved in the box in random order, the original filing system long since abandoned. Hardly the way to treat old friends is it? I misplaced the box after my last move and stayed awake many nights worrying that I had finally lost it. Fortunately for me, we were reunited after I found it in a box of other valuables I had put it in for safe keeping. If I continue blogging long enough, I will eventually transcribe them all and post them online (making it easier to find rather than sorting through my little black box).
I got this recipe from my friend Clydine about a gazillion years ago where it made its first appearance at a work potluck party. I don’t know where Clydine got it, but a recent Google search turned up numerous versions and variations, so it is safe to say it has been around for a long time. This salad reminds me of a recipe you might find on the back of a can, or in a magazine ad. Although it is hardly haute cuisine, it is delicious and always seems to hit the spot. It is easy to make ahead and assemble at the last minute. This recipe is so simple that it is almost a ‘non-recipe’. One glance and you can probably make it without looking at the recipe again, but you may want to jot it down anyway and keep it in your own little black box.
This recipe calls for canned mandarins. I know some of my more elite foodie friends would gasp at the mere thought of that. If you feel the need to dress it up a bit before taking it out, you could substitute some fresh blood oranges or other trendy fresh citrus. You can also substitute any nut, variety of lettuce, or other fresh greens (spinach?). If you long for a shortcut, you could also buy glazed walnuts or pecans, and grab a bottle of vinaigrette off the shelf. However, this salad tastes SO much better when you make it all yourself.
- 4 hearts of romaine, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 - 11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup chopped celery (3-4 stalks)
- 5-6 green onions, chopped
- 1 large avocado, cubed
- 4 oz chopped pecans
- ½ cup sugar
- Dash of Tabasco (optional)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- ½-teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Heat the ½ cup of sugar in a dry pan over medium high heat until it melts completely, stirring constantly being careful not to burn it. When it is completely melted, stir in the chopped pecans to coat. Remove from heat and pour out onto a sheet of parchment paper. When cool, break up or chop into small bite size pieces. Set aside.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Add all the salad ingredients together except the pecans and avocado. The salad can be prepared ahead of time to this point.
- When ready to serve, add the avocado and pecans and toss with the dressing to coat (you may not need all the dressing).