A VEGAN TWIST on the CLASSIC SPINACH SALAD made with BACON!
Spinach salad is a "classic" that is served in many restaurants and comes topped with hard boiled eggs, sliced button mushrooms, crumbled bits of bacon and topped with a drizzle of a warmed vinaigrette dressing. Yes, I get it ... that sounds delicious! But if you haven't tried roasted shiitake mushrooms yet in place of bacon - here's your chance! I say this is a no-brainer first step to going down the vegan path. You will not miss the taste of bacon in this salad!
But, first it starts with great ingredients! I can't stress enough about the importance of buying organic, especially spinach which is on the EWG's Dirty Dozen List. Although it is healthy to eat your fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, some you must pay the extra money for the organic when available.
Dirty Dozen List
PRODUCE WITH THE HIGHEST LOADS OF PESTICIDE RESIDUE FOUND ON THEM
Cherries/Grapes/Celery/Tomatoes/Sweet Bell Peppers/Potatoes
Every week during the spring, summer and fall months, I pick up vegetables from my local CSA - Golden Earthworm Organic Farm. When I saw these incredibly large green spinach leaves in my batch, I knew immediately I had to eat them raw in my salad. I wanted to taste every bit of these green beauties in my spinach salad! But, of course, any spinach greens purchased at your local market are great for this salad, even lightly sautéed or wilted greens, if you prefer them cooked.
Is spinach healthier eaten raw or cooked?
Raw spinach contains oxalic acid, an organic substance that can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients like calcium and iron. Oxalic acid binds with calcium and other nutrients, making it unavailable for use by our bodies. But, there is no need to shun raw spinach simply because it contains oxalic acid. It is also rich in many essential nutrients, some of which are more available to our bodies when we consume them raw. These nutrients include folate, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium.
When you eat cooked spinach, you will absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron and important carotenoids also become more absorbable.
Both raw and cooked spinach are excellent sources of iron, containing twice as much as other leafy greens. A 100-gram serving of raw spinach contains 2.71 mg of iron, whereas cooked spinach contains 3.57 mg.
As with most foods you eat, try and vary your ingredients (vegetables, fruits, proteins) and how you prepare them. (E.g., eating raw spinach on a daily basis whether in salads, juices or sandwiches may eventually lead to some health issues down the line.)
Spinach is a superfood!
Spinach is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. Spinach has large quantities of vitamin A and vitamin C which are crucial for the building and maintenance of collagen which provides structure to skin and hair. Leafy green vegetables also contain the highest amounts of vitamin K which are a necessary nutrient to build and maintain healthy bones. Just 1 cup of raw spinach fulfills a daily requirement for both men and women!
Shiitake mushrooms are a staple ingredient in my kitchen. They add so much flavor to almost any type of cuisine, especially in a sauté or sprinkled on top of a salad or soup.
Spinach greens are incredibly versatile for a salad. Spinach salad can be topped with a variety of fresh fruits (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples), nuts (slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios), and cheeses (goat, feta, asiago, pepper jack). Mix & match however you want and get creative!Print
Spinach salad with roasted shiitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, slices of radishes & salad turnips and topped with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
2- 3 cups of spinach leaves
3.5 oz of shiitake mushrooms
4 red radishes
4 Japanese salad turnips
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Place spinach leaves in a salad spinner to clean. Loose (not packaged) spinach leaves can be very dirty so it may take 3 cycles of cleaning in the salad spinner.
- Cut the dirty stems off the shiitake mushrooms & wipe clean with a damp paper towel, if needed. Slice them crosswise as thin as possible.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp or more of sea salt.
- Roast at 375 for approximately 20 min or until crispy.
- While roasting, slice the radishes and turnips into a matchstick cut.
- Clean the tomatoes and slice each in half.
- Plate the spinach and top with radishes, turnips, tomatoes and top with roasted mushrooms.
- Finish off with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil & balsamic vinegar, to taste.
Optional add on ingredients: onions (red onions or shallots), cheese (goat or asiago).
Note: Japanese salad turnips aren't always available so you can use more radishes or try kohlrabi for a little crunch!
Keywords: vegan spinach salad