Clementine recipes: not just for snacking

Clementines are the small citrus fruits in boxes or mesh bags that appear in the markets during the winter months. This year’s harvest is tasty, juicy, and plentiful (prices are low!).

They are ideal for snacks, dessert or fruit salads. Clementines are also a wonderful addition to almost any green salad, or in hearty salads with whole grains and beans. I’ve included five of Diana’s recipes below to get you started.

In Canada and perhaps elsewhere, clementines can be called mandarins. Technically, clementines are a cross between mandarins (Citrus reticulata) and Seville oranges (Citrus auratium). Recipes can be made with any of the citrus fruits the size of a tangerine or with sections of oranges cut into bite-size chunks.

To prepare clementines for salads, simply peel and section. If they are large or if you want more flavor from the juice in your salad, cut the peeled fruit in half in a cross shape before separating the sections.

Look for small, firm fruit boxes. I find that the smaller clementines often taste the best, although they can be more difficult to peel. If you get a bad tasting box, look for another “brand” (on the box labels) and try again. They come from Spain, Morocco, South America and several other countries; I have not found any reliable way of knowing which one will taste better. If you can find the California ones (usually labeled “California Cuties”, in mesh bags), they seem to be consistently good.

Orange or lemon peels can be grated (“zest”) for flavor, but DO NOT try to use clementine peels in this way, they are very bitter.

Editorial Note: Just a few years ago no one had heard of clementines; now they are everywhere and they sell like hot cakes. I hope food vendors take note that BUYERS WILL BUY healthy food if it is tasty, attractively packaged, and reasonably priced. Vote with your pocket; buy lots and enjoy!

Spinach salad with clementines

6 cups baby spinach leaves

12 clementines, sectioned

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

1 bunch green onions, sliced ​​crosswise (optional)

1/2 cup sliced ​​water chestnuts (optional)

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of two lemons or lemons (about 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional)

Place the salad ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients and toss into the salad.

4-6 servings


Wild rice salad with clementine

12 clementines, peeled and sliced

1 6-ounce can sliced ​​water chestnuts, drained

2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced

2 cups cooked wild rice, chilled

1 cup mint leaves (optional)

1 cup coriander or Italian parsley leaves (optional)

1/4 cup of rice vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise (optional)

3 cups shredded Chinese cabbage, chopped romaine lettuce, or baby spinach leaves (or a combination)

Combine all ingredients except vegetables and mix well. Toss with the vegetables and serve.

6-8 servings

Note: To go ahead, combine everything but the veggies and chill. Mix in the vegetables at the last minute.


Black Bean and Clementine Salad

2 cups cooked barley or other whole grain of your choice, refrigerated

1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

12 clementines, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup honey mustard salad dressing

Butterhead or other lettuce leaves (optional)

Combine all ingredients except lettuce and chill. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves if desired.

4-6 servings


Fennel salad with clementines

1 large or 3 small fennel bulb

10 clementines

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch cayenne, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Trim the fennel bulbs, discarding the base and stems. Quarter bulb lengthwise then cut crosswise into 1/4 “slices.

Peel the clementines, cut them in half crosswise and separate them into slices. Toss all but 1/2 cup of the clementine sections with the fennel in a serving bowl.

Crush the remaining 1/2 cup of the clementine sections with the back of a spoon. Add the lemon juice and seasonings. Combine with the fennel and clementines and chill for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors.

4-6 servings


Quinoa and clementine salad

2 cups cooked quinoa, cold

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

8 black olives, sliced

1 small red onion, minced

1 cup of chopped celery

1 red or green bell pepper, chopped

12 clementines, sectioned

12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

Fat-free honey dijon mustard dressing, to taste (optional)

Combine all ingredients and chill until ready to serve. If the salad seems too dry, moisten it with a little white wine or Italian salad dressing.

6-8 servings

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