I think it’s safe to say that nobody really craves salad for dinner in the wintertime. Nobody walks home after work thinking, “I can’t wait to get some cold, raw, crunchy vegetables into my mouth.” No. Winter calls for warm, soft, cozy foods. And yet, vegetables have to be eaten during winter more than ever, since our immune systems could really use the deposit of powerful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Enter: my favorite warm arugula salad. The cooked mushrooms and onions coated in balsamic vinegar do a great job of wilting and gently warming the raw greens. What results is a softer, mellower, more winter-appropriate way to enjoy salad; the salty, creamy topping of Parmesan shavings rounds out the satisfaction factor. Add a glass of hearty red wine, and you’ve really got yourself a winner.
Another thing I love about this salad is that it comes together in about 10 minutes, so you can totally make it when you get home from work or are otherwise in a pinch (but it’s also fancy enough to be served to guests). If you’ve had a particularly heavy lunch, the salad makes a satisfactory dinner on its own; if you’re more on the hangry side, this warm arugula salad would be lovely with roast chicken, a breaded pork chop, or my Parmesan baked beans. And, wine. Always wine.
Warm Arugula Salad with Balsamic Mushrooms & Red Onion
(Yield: 4-6 side servings)
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 6-ounce package cremini mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced into half-moons
- Sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 1/2 ounces arugula (half of a standard box package)
- Shaved Parmesan cheese, to garnish
1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until softened and browned, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.
2. Add onion, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and let cook for another minute.
3. Place arugula in a large bowl and add mushroom mixture, along with remaining teaspoon of oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with Parmesan, and serve immediately.
What is your favorite way to enjoy veggies during winter?