Pickled or fermented foods provide acid, sharp, tangy elements to a plate while preserving nutrients and helping break the foods down so they are more easily digestible. This spinach salad from Natural Gourmet Institute has a vibrant aesthetic finish with beet-pickled shallots that provide a slightly pungent punch. These beet-pickled shallots will last a few weeks in your refrigerator (getting stronger the longer they sit), so make extra to top on other favorite dishes!
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Baby Spinach Salad with Beet Pickled Shallots and Shiitake “Bacon”
For the Shiitake ‘Bacon’
- ½ pound shiitake mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
For the Beet Pickled Shallots
- 1 small red beet
- 2 lemons
- 2 large shallots
For the Salad
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Destem shiitake mushrooms, and thinly slice shiitake tops.
- Massage sliced shiitakes with olive oil and sea salt and spread into a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once, or until crispy and golden.
- Peel and grate the beet. Juice the lemons and pour juice over beet. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Peel and thinly slice shallots into rings. Strain beet mixture over shallots (reserving grated beets for future use) and allow shallot rings to pickle for 15 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. Strain before serving.
- Toast pine nuts on a baking tray in the oven for 5 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Toss spinach with sherry vinaigrette (see below) and garnish with beet pickled shallots, toasted pine nuts and shiitake ‘bacon’.
Sherry VinaigretteYield: 1/3 cup, or approximately 4 servings
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Mince garlic and add to a medium bowl along with Dijon, sherry vinegar, sea salt and maple syrup.
- Whisk mixture to combine and slowly stream in olive oil while whisking to form vinaigrette.
- Serve with Baby Spinach Salad (see above).
Want to learn how to make more recipes like this? Check out Natural Gourmet Institute’s upcoming classes.