Jennifer Farley from Savory Simple turns her favorite winter salad into a gourmet meal with a hearty portabella as the base.
Winter is a time of year when our bodies crave comfort, warmth and fullness to balance the cold weather outside. At the same time, the New Year often means taking care of ourselves after the onslaught of heavy holiday meals. Personally, I like to eat a lot of salads during January and February but I know my husband doesn’t consider them to be very substantial. I have a little trick up sleeve that I use to make my favorite salads more filling – portabella mushrooms!
I love marinating and roasting portabella mushrooms and then stuffing them with assorted salads. It makes the dish more visually intriguing, while adding extra nutrition and bulk to the meal. Even better, it takes no time at all! I usually toss the mushrooms with a marinade in the morning or before going to bed and then I roast them while putting the rest of the salad ingredients together.
This winter salad uses one of my favorite whole grains, farro. I love farro because it’s high protein and has a nutty flavor, but brown rice or any other whole grain may be substituted in its place.
Winter Salad Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
Yields: 4 servings
- 4 medium portabella mushrooms
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 cup butternut squash, diced small
- 1 cup farro, cooked
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup arugula, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Twist off the stem and use a spoon to gently remove the black gills without breaking the mushroom.
- Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour into a large sealable plastic bag and add the smashed garlic cloves and mushroom caps. Seal the bag and allow the marinade to cover the mushrooms. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, turning the bag periodically to redistribute the marinade.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash in a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook until soft but not mushy, 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms from the marinade (do not discard the liquid) and place them cap side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.
- While the mushrooms are roasting, combine the butternut squash, farro, shallot, dried cranberries, pine nuts, arugula, salt and pepper in a bowl with two tablespoons of the marinade.
- After the mushrooms have cooked for 15 minutes, remove them from the oven. Carefully pour off any liquid that has pooled in the mushrooms. Distribute the filling evenly between the mushroom caps (there might be leftover filling depending on the size of the mushrooms). Cook for another 5 minutes and then serve.