The New Year brings new ideas. And while I'm not much for resolutions, my holiday season of "I so totally deserve that" indulgence has found me turning to more healthy options as I avoid some of those carb-loaded baked treats. While the thought of our recent Peanut Butter Cookies smothered with that decadent Peanut Butter Ganache makes my heart race, it's heart-healthy quinoa that my heart actually craves. As luck would have it, my Inspired Plate Food Photography and Styling Challenge for January is.... Healthy. And, Quinoa = Healthy.
Glancing at a December email from Whole Foods, their recipe for Quinoa with Roasted Mushrooms leaped off the page. Overflowing with many of my favorite ingredients, quinoa, mushrooms, pears and balsamic, I amped up the flavor even more with a touch of rocket... or arugula, giving this salad a nice peppery spice when contrasted with a crumble of cheese sprinkled over the top.
Photographing said salad, however, brought a bit more difficulty. Trying to zest up the photo as much as I did the salad, I opted for a bowl I had picked up months ago and not yet used. They only had one left on the clearance shelf at Pier 1, I knew one day I would find the right dish to photograph it with. While I'm not sure this salad matches the prop perfectly, it did bring a sense of the spring season that I'm so longing for, and when combined with morning light the photo also brought a sense of brightness to my winter table.
Hearty, sweet yet savory, and oh, so healthy... This Roasted Mushroom Salad most certainly fits the bill. Ready for more healthy food photography? Join me as we whisk off to Michigan where my fellow Inspired Plate member, Jennifer Grant (an Editorial Food Photographer and Stylist) brings beauty to the healthy photo.
Meaty roasted mushrooms combine with quinoa and a host of ingredients to bring this fabulous side salad or light main dish to the table.
adapted from Whole Foods
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs good quality olive oil
1 ripe pear, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, halved
2 lbs portobello or crimini mushrooms, or a combination of both
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup quinoa
1 -2 ripe pears, chopped
1-2 cups arugula**
slivered almonds or pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
Place the vinegar, mustard, pear and garlic in a blender with 3 Tbs of water and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Clean the portobello mushrooms of stems and gills, then cut into chunks. Cut Crimini mushrooms into halves or quarters, and add the chopped onion to the bowl. Pour about 3 Tbs of the dressing over the mushrooms and onions and stir to coat. Layer the mushroom mixture in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven until nicely roasted... about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
While the mushrooms are roasting, prepare your quinoa according to the package directions. When done, fluff with a fork and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the prepared quinoa with the roasted mushrooms and onions. Add the chopped pear and arugula, and then add the remaining vinaigrette. Stir gently to combine. Salt and pepper to taste
Plate salad, then top with slivered almonds or pine nuts and feta cheese. Enjoy!
**Liv Life Note: As an alternative to mixing the arugula into the salad, oil your arugula lightly, then serve the quinoa/mushroom mixture over the top.
Liv Life Note 2: Sometimes we swap Blue Cheese for the feta!
For more quinoa recipes see our Quinoa Round-Up