Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Salad
Boy oh boy is this a good salad. And I'm picky when it comes to my salads.
I've never been a huge salad fan. When I was younger, I wouldn't go near salads that didn't have a mayo dressing. Salads with a vinaigrette or a simple olive oil-lemon juice dressing just didn't do it for me. And honestly, they still don't.
But I actually love salads nowadays. The salads just need to be very special. They need to have lots of yummy things in them.
Like roasted veggies. Roasted vegetables always make a salad better. And avocado. GAWD - avocado. I challenge you to find me one savory food item that doesn't go well with avocado. Go ahead, I'll wait. Rack your brain. Oh, you can't think of anything? Yeah, that's what I thought.
And toppings. Love me some toppings. Crackers, chips, nuts, seeds - all good.
Well, this roasted asparagus and mushroom salad is special.
Because firstly, it has roasted vegetables in it. An interesting mix of roasted vegetables: asparagus and mushrooms. How often do you have roasted asparagus in your salads, eh?
And about the mushrooms. I love mushrooms. Cooked or roasted or grilled or sautéed mushrooms. But raw mushrooms? Ech.
But the mushrooms for this salad are roasted. AND marinated. Yes, marinated. They sit in the salad dressing overnight, making them super juicy and flavorful and taste like they've been sautéed. When they totally weren't.
And then there's the sun-dreid tomatoes!!
I've mentioned in a couple previous recipes that I hate raw tomatoes but love anything with cooked tomatoes. Well, sun-dried tomatoes make the cut. Even though they're not actually cooked. Just dried. But as long as they're not raw, I'm good.
There's also chopped basil leaves hiding between the spinach leaves. Mmmmm... basil. Challenge numero 2: find me someone that doesn't like basil.
And since every salad needs a crunchy topping for me to be able to judge it favorably, I threw in a genreous handful of slivered almonds. Nutty goodness.
There's also scallions sprinkled into the salad for a nice, sharp contrast. Cuz onions are just too much sometimes.
Now, the dressing.
It's super flavorful. I don't like my dressings too sweet, but sometimes you need a sweetener in your dressing to break up the strong, bitter, or acidic oils and vinegars. And this dressing needed that.
So, there's olive oil. DUH. And balsamic vinegar. And then just enough honey to balance out those two intense flavors. And a drop of soy sauce. For extra flavor. And then salt and pepper. Because salt. And pepper.
I developed this recipe off of a salad that I had at my sister-in-law's house.
The mushroom and asparagus and spinach and basil concoction I stole from her. And then I swapped cherry tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes. And added the other ingredients.
And I changed up the dressing quite a bit, because she likes her dressings sweeeeeeeeeeeeet and I really donnnnnnnnnnn't.
The only annoying part about this salad is that you can't decide to make it spontaneously. Because you have to roast the vegetables the night before and then marinate the mushrooms overnight.
But it's worth it. Indubitably.
roasted asparagus and mushroom salad
Yield: large serving bowl
Large bag spinach
1 bunch asparagus
1 large container mushrooms
Handful of basil leaves, chopped
Few stalks scallions, sliced
Handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped if desired
Handful of slivered almonds
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Night before: Preheat oven to 375 F. Place whole mushrooms (remove stem) and asparagus onto a lined baking sheet. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for about 25 minutes, or until vegetables are desired consistency. Slice the mushrooms into thin slices and cut the asparagus into thirds.
Whisk dressing ingredients together and place into a plastic bag or container together with the mushrooms. Place asparagus into a separate bag (without any dressing). Leave vegetables in fridge overnight, allowing mushrooms to marinate.
Day of: Arrange the spinach, asparagus, basil, scallions, and sun-dried tomatoes together in a large serving bowl. Top with marinated mushrooms and drizzle remaining dressing from the mushrooms over the whole salad. Sprinkle slivered almonds over and serve.