I often get stuck in a salad rut: mixed greens, organic chicken, balsamic dressing. It’s an easy workday lunch and checks off the “something green” and “protein” boxes I try to hit at every meal. This weekend, inspired by my parents massive cookbook collection and all the amazing spring salads popping up on my food blog feed, I turned a salad corner.
This arugula salad with portobello mushrooms and Manchego was our contribution to this year’s Easter lunch. It is super simple and quick to throw together, yet brings something different to the salad world I’m used to. It’s perfect for spring’s finicky weather because its slightly warmed, but still fresh and bright. The portobellos mushrooms give it a heartiness while the arugula gives it a springy peppery kick. This arugula salad and shallot dressing is the perfect base for add ons: we served our with some purple forbidden rice (a latest obsession) and pork, but any chewy grain and/or protein would be amazing. We cooked our portobellos on the stove, but I can’t wait to try grilling them this summer; it would be an easy large salad to pull together for a barbecue.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY// Peppery arugula provides a rich source of essential nutrients. Like other dark leafy greens, arugula is a source of vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, which helps maintain your immune system. Arugula is also a source of vitamin K and folate. Portobello mushrooms are a good source of fiber and contain potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins. This salad is gluten-free and easily made vegan; simply sub out the Manchego by adding another healthy fat, such nuts (I think pine nuts would work particularly well here).//
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 shallots, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 8 large portobello mushrooms
- 10 oz arugula
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz Manchego cheese (sub ¼ cup toasted pine nuts for vegan)
- Make the vinaigrette: mix the chopped shallots, red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive in a small bowl and set aside.
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms, scrape out the gills and trim any ragged edges.
- Slice mushrooms into quarters.
- Cover the bottom of a large saute pan generously with remaining olive oil (using more if needed) and warm over medium-high heat.
- When hot, add the mushrooms to the pan in a single layer and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
- Season mushrooms well with salt and pepper.
- Remove the mushrooms from the pan (arrange on platter or individual plates) and add the vinaigrette: it should sizzle.
- Add the arugula and toss with the warm dressing until just slightly wilted, being careful not to cook.
- Pile the arugula on top of the mushrooms and garnish with shaved slices of Manchego, if using (or toasted pine nuts).