Green Salad with Garlic Mushrooms

Vegan
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Guys! Big news. I’ve decided that once a month I’m going to do a “fun things you should add to your salads post.” It’s going to be epic! I know, right now it sounds kind of boring. But trust me, lately I have been KILLING the salad game. My uni schedule this semester means most days I got home at 2.30pm, with half an hour before I go to work. What does that mean? Salad!!

The best lunch ever.

Salad can easily be the worst meal, or the best. It all depends what you put in it and how you make it. For me, the most important thing is the salad base. If you don’t have a strong base, the rest of your salad will never be able to shine like the star it should be.
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Take careful note of the photo above. Today I used two types of lettuce, washed and whizzed completely dry in my lettuce washer. It must be completely dry! Otherwise your salad will be sad. Two big handfuls for each person please. Next I added half a finely chopped shallot, for some zing. You could add finely sliced red onion if that’s your thing for this element.

Select two of your favourite herbs. Today I used basil (heaps of basil!) and coriander. You can add parsley, mint, dill (although I can’t be your friend anymore if you add dill because I HATE dill irrationally), or any other soft herb you like. Use a small palmful of leaves, and finely chop.
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Now it’s time to add your crunchy elements! I like to add a stalk of celery, half a chopped apple, half a chopped capsicum, and/or some cucumber for the crunchy part of the salad. Today I just used apple and capsicum because that’s all we had. Chop everything into 1cm chunks and throw into your salad bowl.

Next, time for some substantial greens. The best by far is broccoli, but today for the first time maybe forever we were out of broccoli, so I added steamed baby peas and zucchini. If you have time, you can roast the greens in the oven, but today this is an under half an hour salad so steaming will have to do! Chop in half an avocado for creaminess too.

And now for the secret: mushrooms!! Get out your pan, crush a garlic clove in there, add a drizzle of olive oil and fry up a huge handful of them. Mushrooms make an ordinary salad an extraordinary salad. Only add them at the last second because the heat might wilt the lettuce.
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For dressing mix 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp seedy mustard, and the juice of half a lime. Toss all the ingredients well. I drizzled over a tbsp of tahini as well for extra protein.

YUUUUM. There you have it. The best 20 minute salad in existence. Enjoy! And get excited for next months salad adventures!

One Year Ago: Coconut and Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Chilli and Basil Mushrooms on Avocado Toast

Vegan and Gluten Free

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 I LOVE MUSHROOMS. 

I love them. I don’t know about any other vegetarians out there, but the only thing I kind of miss from eating meat is eating chewy food. Vegetables can be crunchy and tempeh and tofu can be crumbly, but there isn’t much chewy food in a vegetarian diet. (Unless you count chewy worms and jelly snakes, which I do…) So whenever I feel like all I’ve been eating is soft and mushy food and get scared my teeth are about to fall out,  I crave mushrooms. 

Last week the farmers market had the best mushrooms! We bought four boxes of them! I ate mushrooms in four different meals in a row. By the last one I will admit I was feeling a little over-mushroomed. We made mushroom stir fry, baked mushrooms, mushroom pasta sauce, and my favourite way; chilli basil mushrooms on toast. 

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 The number one crime when making mushrooms on toast is to only use one type of mushrooms. ESPECIALLY if you just use button mushrooms. Button mushrooms are great, but they aren’t very flavoursome by themselves. They need the help of their little mushroom friends enoki and oyster. I went to Bill’s Cafe with some friends recently and got the mushrooms on toast, and I think there must have been four different types used! It was incredible. This recipe is partially inspired by that breakfast because it was amazing!

The number two crime is overcrowding the pan. Don’t do that. Mushrooms release juices when they cook and your pan will fill with liquid and they will broil. You will be sad. They will be sad. Make sure there’s lots of room for them to get brown and crispy and soak up all the flavours you add. (Thank you Julia Child!)

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I’m so excited to keep posting savoury recipes on this blog. This recipe is so easy, even if I haven’t quite mastered the ‘how to take a photo of a hot pan without burning yourself’ skill yet.  But I’m hopeful for the future. I used sour dough bread as the base of choice but the recipe is really about the mushrooms, so you can use gluten free bread or serve it over pasta or rice if you want. 

For the chilli jam I used a homemade jar made by a friend, so you could either make your own or buy a good quality one from a deli or market. I wouldn’t recommend a commercial brand just because they’re so much sweeter and less spicy than homemade, but if that’s all you have I’m sure it will taste fine. If you don’t like spice, you can also leave it out. 

You can put a poached egg on top too if you eat eggs. That’s what my sister did this morning, after I finally let her have the plate when I was finished photographing it. And it did look pretty good! Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Wholemeal Brown Sugar Strawberry Cake

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 Chilli and Basil Mushrooms on Avocado Toast:

For 2 people – 

30 ml (1.5 tbsp) olive oil 

2 small cloves of garlic, chopped 

2 big handfuls chopped field mushrooms

1 handful oyster mushrooms

2 handfuls mixed other mushrooms like enoki, button, flat etc

2 tsp chilli jam

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 handful torn basil leaves, split in half

2-4 pieces of bread (gluten free fine)

1/2 an avocado

Optional: poached egg, grilled tomato, lemon juice to serve

salt and pepper, to serve

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 Fry the garlic in the oil in a large pan on a gentle heat until soft. Increase the heat to medium and add in the mushrooms, chilli, and vinegar and sauté. Fry the mushrooms so that they become crispy and brown. Taste to check the seasoning. Grill your toast and spread with avocado. Squeeze on some lemon juice if you want and spoon over the mushrooms. Top with salt and pepper and extras, if you want. Serve hot!

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