Updated: Aug 28
This Lion's Mane Mushroom salad takes ingredients that are super foods and require little prep that results in an impressive presentation worth creating! It’s easy enough for a weeknight meal. Add some diced or whole chicken breast if you don't feel like mushrooms are enough for protein, making for a great main dish or leave as it is! Vegan (plant-based) gluten-free and dairy-free salad!
Did you watch my recent video on my visit to the local farmers market?
To watch it go HERE. I'm a big farmers market lover, for sure!
On this particular quick trip to the farmers market, I bought some beautiful produce. Everything is vibrant this time of the year.
You know, I can still remember my first farmers market visit from when I first moved to the Lowcountry. I went with my dear husband, and we slowly walked around, looking for what might appear appealing, There were so few vendors and so few people that it was easy to find a place to park and didn’t take long to visit each vendor. Having just arrived in town, we didn't know anyone and everything was new and strange to me. Today the farmers market has grown in numbers of booths and in the number of people who come each week. Now it's a busy and lively place. There are vendors selling a variety of foods to eat, along with nonfood items to purchase, live entertainment and even meeting up with an old random friend. You can purchase a hot cup of Saturday morning coffee and enjoy all the sites, sounds and smells.
Today, while driving home from the market, I immediately began to imagine what I could create from all the fresh produce I purchased.
I've heard this idea before: what grows together goes together. This is a fundamental concept in Sally Schneider's The Improvisational Cook. She calls it the "first step in understanding flavor". For anyone trying to come up with something new, start by combining ingredients that grow together in the same region and season.
I understand why we perceive traditional flavor combinations as good -- it's the way it's always been -- generations of trial and error. Strawberry and rhubarb, tomato and eggplant, apples and winter squash, etc.
Sometimes I let my "chef" instinct do its job and I trust my taste buds to dictate my creations.
WHAT DO I USE IN THIS LION'S MANE MUSHROOM SALAD?
Kale - Tuscan kale that's what I chose, any kale I think will work beautifully here.
Baby white turnips - sweet, crispy and juicy baby turnips, if you ever come across of it, don't let it pass by. I used whole thing; the top I chopped and added to the kale, and the greens worked as a bed for the salad. The white roots I cut in quarters then marinated them for 15 minutes with balsamic vinegar along with pinch of pink salt.
Baby purple potatoes - also known as new, young potatoes. These potatoes are really purple and if you never tasted them before, do yourself a favor by giving them a try. They taste just like any regular potatoes. The potatoes are purple because they contain anthocyanins, which is the flavonoid pigment that is responsible for producing purple, blue and/or red hues in fruits and vegetables.
Yellow Cauliflower - I'm a big lover of cauliflower and our farmers market has them in different colors, which is a fun thing.
The one I used in this salad was yellow with a little hint of purple on the inside.
Red scallions - they taste just like a regular scallion (green onions) I used the root part in the vinaigrette, which is also how I would use a shallot. The tops of the scallions, I added as a garnish to the salad.
Tomato - it's not the star of the salad but is an eye-catching component for sure. The tomato adds color as well as a little acidity.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom - last but not least is the true prize of the dish. If you ever see them don't pass on this wonderful superfood.
WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT THIS SALAD?
This salad is a complete plant-based meal.
Each ingredient of this salad is a superfood, and each ingredient speaks for itself creating a beautiful harmonious dish.
Can be a side dish as well.
Easy to make and most of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time.
Great on second or even third day.
Last but not least it's DELICIOUS!
WHAT IS LION'S MANE MUSHROOM?
These unique-looking mushrooms are native to Asia, Europe and North America and grow on decaying hardwood trees and logs throughout the northern hemisphere. Lion’s mane mushrooms have a soft, spongy texture and an internal structure similar to cauliflower, with branches extending from a single base.
Their mild, slightly sweet flavor is considered by many to be similar to crab or lobster. When cooked, the “teeth” create a meat-like texture, making them a delectable meat substitute in vegetarian dishes. Lion’s mane mushrooms make excellent vegan crab cakes.
What the real deal of these mushrooms?
For centuries, the lion’s mane mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for strengthening memory. Queensland Brain Institute confirms what herbalists have long said: There are properties of this mushroom that build brain cells. Studies latest confirmed in mice, these properties promoted neuron growth and resulting in better hippocampal memory.
This result is a very good sign that the properties in lion’s mane mushrooms can protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s. Using the isolated components of the mushroom could be a step forward in the treatment of these devastating brain conditions.
Due in part to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, lion’s mane mushroom might improve the function of your stomach and digestive system.
Research suggests that lion’s mane is a source of at least 32 bioactive compounds. Although it’s hard to pinpoint the vitamin and mineral content of lion’s mane, it’s believed to be a rich source of potassium, zinc, iron and selenium.
Remember, food can be medicine! Like many powerfully beneficial foods, lion’s mane mushroom has been known for some time in parts of Asia to be great for various body functions and conditions. Used in Japan for centuries and possibly millennia, the odd-looking fungus is revered by Buddhist monks and understood to be almost a mystical source of nutrition.
Let's make this superfood salad...
Prep time: 25 minutes
Making time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Servings: 4 salads as a meal or 8 salads as a side dish
Ingredients for the salad
1 bunch of Tuscan kale (any kale can be used)
1 lb. Lion Mane mushrooms (or your choice)
1 bunch of white baby turnips with tops (any radishes can be used)
1/2 bunch of purple scallions (tops only)
1 lb. young purple potatoes (any potatoes you can use)
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 large tomato
1-2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons dried onion powder
2 teaspoons sweet smoke paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 garlic clove, grated.
Salt, pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Ingredients for the dressing
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, juice only
1/2 bunch of purple scallions (roots only)
2 Tablespoons raw honey
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 425F.
Start making your salad by first boiling the potatoes. Place them in a pot with water, and cover with a lid. Cook for about 10 minutes. The time will depend on the size of your potatoes.
Meanwhile prep your greens; chop the kale and add a pinch of salt, and give them a little massage.
Then chop the tops of the baby turnips (radishes) and add to another bowl.
In another bowl add chopped tomato, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and set aside.
Cut cauliflower and add to another bowl, generously drizzle with olive oil, add salt, freshly ground black pepper, sweet smoke paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric and toss everything together. Then spread on a baking sheet in one layer and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Chop your mushrooms into 1-2 inches pieces.
Drain potatoes, on medium heat using a cast iron pan add few tablespoons of olive oil, place potatoes on top, then using a potato smasher, smash each one individually, creating a potato pancake shape. While the potatoes are frying season with salt, black pepper, and onion powder and then grate fresh garlic on top of each potato. Flip over and allow the other side to get a nice gold color as well.
In another cast iron pan on medium heat, add olive oil and cook the mushrooms until a nice brown-golden color appears on each side, and season with salt and pepper.
For the dressing, finely chop red (white) part of your scallions. Reserve tops for the garnish. In a bowl add the chopped scallions, mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and begin whisking. As you whisk slowly add the olive oil.
Now, assemble the salad. Mix some but not all of the dressing into a bowl with the kale, turnips tops, marinated chopped turnips, and toss all together with kitchen tongs. Add the tomato (leave out accumulated tomato juice). Next, carefully place the fried potatoes on top of the salad, along with the cauliflower, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with chopped scallions (green part) and drizzle with the additional dressing.
Enjoy right away. This salad can be served in few hours after you make it, or even refrigerate it, then bring to room temperature and enjoy it! Great for lunch or a light dinner, coupled white wine and good company would be a not bad idea either!