Mushroom Lentil Salad

DSC_0413 Classic me. Lentil salad… SIGH. Whatever, it was still freaking amazing. To keep it short, this salad has greens, fresh cilantro, french lentils, sauteed mushrooms and onions and garlic, green onion, and dried basil. Bam. Simple, and filling and so hearty in flavour. For two meals worth, I fried up two large portabello mushrooms and it was the perfect amount. ALSO, I overheard from a chef that you’re not supposed to sautee mushrooms with salt because it makes them watery (you add the salt at the end). I tried this method and HOLY, it really brought out the flavour of the mushrooms and they didn’t get all watery when I cooked them! It was awesome.

I LOVE MUSHROOMS. They are a vegan’s steak. Am I right? My parents recently sent me a picture of their portabello mushroom burgers. Which were fried mushroom caps in a lettuce “bun” (with various fixings). Mushrooms are not only healthy as… really healthy things… they’re also tasty, versatile, and come in a huge variety. White button and crimini (look like brown button) are by far the most common and accessible. There’s also shiitake, porcini and oyster are also fairly common. Then there are the more “exotic” types such as king, enoki, chanterelle, and morel. Here’s a link to a super basic overview of some of mushroom’s health benefits, and here’s one more for safe measure (this second one is a bit more in depth).

Of course there is a plethora of information out there in books and web pages and humans about the amazing powers of mushrooms (even the magic ones!), but I want to give you my take. Mushrooms are great raw and cooked (sauteed, fried, roasted, grilled… anything). They’re also super simple to fix up, just cut, oil and cook. If I have time, I love to roast them with a bit of balsalmic vinegar. Ahhhhhhh. Yis. AND their meaty, chewy texture is sure to never make me crave meat (except ribs. I’ll admit that sometimes I miss big saucy ribs… maybe slathering a ton of mushrooms with rib sauce…). I’ve always wanted to try making these chickpea crepes stuffed with smoky and herbed mushrooms. Or these mushroom-sunflower seed “meatballs”. MUSHROOM LENTIL SALAD (serves two):

  • 1 cup cooked french lentils (cooked from about 2/3 cup dried)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot (or white onion)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large portabello caps, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups greens (I used a Spring Green Mix, but spinach or kale would rock)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly ripped
  • 1 green onion/scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and peper to taste

Method:

Cook the lentils and set aside to cool. Here is a link to how to cook lentils if you don’t know how (just follow the 1 cup lentil to 2 cups water rule and cook for about 20 mins).

In a thick bottomed fry-pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until the shallots are translucent. Add the chopped portabello caps and cook for an additional 8 minutes until they’ve browned and softened. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and allow to cool for five to ten minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the greens, cilantro, scallions, cooked lentils, mushrooms and mix. Add the dried basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the salad between two plates/bowls and serve while the mushrooms are still slightly warm. Add any extra salt or pepper as needed.

There you go! Simple and rich. Much light and love.

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