Grilled Sausage Salad with Caramelized Orange Carrots

Let’s talk salads.  Nothing fancy, just humble spring greens, protein, and vegetables.  There is something truly awesome about how such a simple dish can taste so good.  The important thing is the quality of the ingredients…and the preparation.  With this grilled sausage salad there is no such thing as a free meal, meaning there is time involved in the preparation of the ingredients; however once cooked you are looking at multiple delicious meals ready to be thrown together on a whim.  Citrus-y orange zest from the caramelized carrots punctuate the sweet seared sausage while the mushrooms pull everything together in one tantalizing bite.

This could easily be a breakfast salad if you’re looking to boost your veggie intake in the morning.  I personally rather eat my greens than drink them in a smoothie (although I do love my green strawberry banana smoothie).  You might even start craving veggies after tasting this salad!  It’s warm, light, yet filling, making it the perfect transition salad from winter to spring. I recommend doubling the recipe for the sausage, carrots, and mushrooms and freezing some. There is something comforting when you are flat out of food, and remember you have frozen meals that you can throw together in a pinch.  Especially when they are this tasty!  Best part? There is no salad dressing required here because of all the roast veggies and juicy pork.

Give this salad a try.  It will rock your world with tons of veggies and crispy pork sausage. There’s nothing not to love!

Grilled Sausage Salad

yield: 2-3 large servings or 4-5 smaller servings

For the sausage:
1 lb ground free-range pork
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1.  Mix everything together by hand until just incorporated.  Form into one large ball, then divide in half.  Divide each half in half, then repeat one more time so you are left with 8 equal sized balls.
2.  Flatten the balls into patties.  Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add the pork patties 4 at a time.  Cook each side for 3-4 minutes over medium heat with a cover on while cooking.

For the Caramelized Orange Carrots:
2 lbs carrots, diced (if using organic, simply rinse and leave the skin on)
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp dried sage
salt and black pepper, to taste

1.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and then a layer of parchment paper (this makes for super easy clean up :).  Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2.  Add the carrots and diced onion to the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with the orange zest, dry sage, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle the coconut oil over top and toss until everything is evenly coated.
3.  Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the carrots are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Stir the roasting carrots every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning.

1 recipe roasted wild mushrooms
8-10 cups baby greens

To assemble the salad:

Separate desired amount of greens into individual serving bowls or one big bowl.  Add desired amount of sausage to each (you can easily break them apart for smaller pieces) and top with warm caramelized carrots and wild mushrooms.  Serve warm.

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