Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving at my house without some sort of cranberry salad like this gorgeous Roasted Cranberry and Mandarin Salad.
When chatting with my Mom about what she’d like me to cook for Thanksgiving dinner, I threw out all kinds of ideas. From sweet potato soufflé to stuffing muffins and how about a prime rib for Thanksgiving dinner instead of turkey? I was greeted with intense silence on the other end of the phone. My Mother is very traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. I was hoping she might entertain the thought of new versions of old favorites. I think it’s a no.
Although, she seemed intrigued by this Roasted Cranberry and Mandarin Salad tossed with toasted coconut and topped with chopped pistachios. All of which she loves. Especially the cranberries. Every year she likes to make my great Aunt’s cranberry salad. Not that my great Aunt’s cranberry salad isn’t tasty, it’s that I’m ready for something new. With a little less marshmallows. After all, my sweet potato soufflé was struck down like a lightening bolt so we’re having the traditional sweet potato casserole; which my Mom reminded me was topped with marshmallows.
What I love about this Roasted Cranberry and Mandarin Salad is you can create your favorite version, or versions your family members prefer.
With or without the toasted coconut, substitute toasted walnuts for the pistachios, and add a few mini marshmallows if you must. If you’re serving for adults, I think a splash of French Brandy is divine and just a little bit decadent.
However you prepare this Cranberry and Mandarin Salad, I know your guest will feel loved and thankful.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!
This salad is best when freshly prepared and served immediately. Mandarins tend to fall apart once tossed with other ingredients. So to keep your salad gorgeous, toss everything together right before serving. I list options and prep below.
- 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of sugar or more (just enough to coat all the cranberries)
- pinch of sea salt
- 3 cups mandarin orange slices (either fresh or canned. If canned, drain before using)
- 1/2 flaked coconut (not sweetened) toasted
- 1/2 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- Splash of extra virgin olive oil (I adore California Olive Ranch Arbosana extra virgin olive oil on this salad)
- Options: omit coconut and add a handful mini marshmallows; substitute toasted walnuts for pistachios; omit balsamic vinegar and add a splash of French brandy instead
Heat the oven to 350F
Line a baking sheet with parchment and then toss the cranberries with the olive oil and the sugar - just enough sugar to coat all the cranberries.
Pour the cranberries onto the lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until all the cranberries are wilted.
Let the cranberries cool. Pour them into a large mixing bowl and toss gently with the mandarin oranges and toasted coconut. Pour them onto a platter or serving bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and top with toasted pistachios. Serve immediately.
ANOTHER OPTION: Spread the roasted cranberries on a platter, then layer with the mandarins, then coconut and then pistachios. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil and season with just a pinch of sea salt.
If you would like to prep the salad a few hours before serving, roast the cranberries and let them cool. Place them in a large bowl and hold until ready to serve the salad. Then gently toss together the remaining ingredients and dress with vinegar and oil just before serving.