I like salads all year round, and this warm mushroom salad is especially nice in the winter. When it’s cold outside, warm mushrooms atop a green salad seem like a perfect complement to most meals.
I’ve been making warm mushroom salads for decades, and I’ve seldom made it the same way twice. Varying the types of mushrooms, salad greens, and nuts change the taste and texture of this salad. Portabellas, baby bellas, criminis, and buttons are the mushrooms I’ve used most often, sauteed in traditional and flavored olive oils, avocado or canola oil, and vinaigrettes. These tasty morsels have been served over mixed baby greens, romaine, arugula, kale, spinach, and butter lettuce, and I haven’t been disappointed in any of them.
Toasting the pine nuts is optional. I really like the flavor when they are toasted, but sometimes I don’t have time to do that. I’ve also tried other nuts, but pine nuts are my personal favorite for this salad.
Use your favorite mushrooms, a tasty oil or vinaigrette to saute them in, any salad greens, and whatever nuts you have on hand in your unique version of this salad.
Active time: 15 minutes Total time: 15 to 45 minutes
Specialized One-Butt Kitchen Utensils
- You’ll need a skillet to saute the mushrooms. When my old non-stick skillet started sticking, I checked reviews on Cook’s Illustrated. I bought the one they rated the highest out of the 10 they tested, a Non-Stick Skillet with Lid made by OXO Good Grips. The 12-inch skillet works well for this recipe, and it also comes in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes.
- 8 oz baby bella, crimini, or button mushrooms or 2 large portabella mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
- 2 tbsp traditional or flavored olive oil, avocado, or canola oil
- 1/2 cup roasted bell pepper strips (I’ve used Mezzetta and Jeff’s Garden)
- 1/2 small red onion, separated into thinly-sliced rings
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (toasting is optional) or other nuts
- Paprika Vinaigrette, or other vinaigrette
- salad greens (mixed baby greens, romaine, arugula, kale, spinach, or butter lettuce)
- feta or blue cheese crumbles
Slice the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and place them in a skillet. If you want the mushrooms to have the flavor of the vinaigrette you’ll use to dress the salad, consider sauteing the mushrooms in that. Otherwise, use your favorite cooking oil. Saute over medium-high heat until the mushrooms shrink and are lightly browned, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking, add the roasted bell peppers.
Occasionally I throw the onions in the skillet to saute them as well; other times I add them raw to the salad.
Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. When they are golden brown, take them out of the pan.
Toss salad greens with vinaigrette and arrange on each plate. Arrange the warm mushroom slices, roasted peppers, and onion on the greens. Top with pine nuts and feta cheese.