Warm Spring Spinach and Mushroom Salad

This past weekend has flown by with all the gardening I have been doing.  I’ve spent most of my time covered in mud and elbow deep in soil, but that’s just how I like it!  Today I thought I’d share this warm spring salad with you, for these windy days where a big, warm, salad of veggies is just what the doctor ordered.  Hearty mushrooms sauteed with balsamic vinegar and spinach make up the base of this salad while roasted sweet potatoes and sliced avocado add rich flavors and a hint of sweetness.  The great part about this salad is it can be tailored to suit any dietary need.  Use garbanzo beans for vegetarian friends or grilled chicken for meat-lovers.  There is something for everyone!

Speaking of gardening, check out my new gardening blog Get Dirty.  I am super excited about it and hope I can share my passion for gardening and inspire some of you to start your own garden!  There is nothing more satisfying and delicious than growing your own food 🙂  I am co-writing this blog with the help of my dad, the original source of my gardening obsession.  Together we extended our garden by over forty-five feet and grew over 300 seedlings in our basement.  I decided it was time to document the planting experience, as it goes hand-in-hand with the ingredients used in this blog.  I try to use the highest quality organic produce and free-range meats when I cook, therefore growing my own vegetables is a huge step in the right direction.

Warm Spring Spinach and Mushroom Salad

yield:  2 servings

For the sautéed spinach and mushrooms:
6 portobello mushroom sliders, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 cups baby spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

For the roasted diced sweet potatoes:
1 sweet potato
1-2 tsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash of nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans or diced grilled free-range chicken
1 avocado, sliced
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
orange zest, for sprinkling
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
For the roasted diced sweet potatoes:  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Dice up the sweet potato and toss with coconut oil, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  If you are not using an organic sweet potato, peel the potato first.  I usually leave the skin on when I find organic sweet potatoes because there are so many extra nutrients in the skin!  Bake for 35 minutes, stirring once or twice.

For the sautéed spinach and mushrooms:  Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add minced garlic.  Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender.  Pour the vinegar over the mushrooms, and cook another 30 seconds.  Add the spinach to the pan in small batches and cook until it is all wilted.

To assemble:  Separate the spinach into two plates. Split the mushrooms and add them on top of the spinach. Divide the roasted sweet potato pieces between the two plates and sprinkle with beans or chicken. Artfully place the avocado slices over the top and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and orange zest.  Serve warm.

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