By Meg Claire
I ended up with three gigantic leeks. Don’t ask how. But I had to get rid of them – fast. So I drummed up this surprising main-course salad. Basically, it’s your standard baby spinach tossed with a mustard-lemon vinaigrette, but it really gets wild when you add roasted leeks and top the whole mess with a roasted, cracked pepper coated-Portobello mushroom. Ideally, you’d hand-crack black peppercorns for the mushrooms, but freshly ground pepper works too. I’ve got a bored husband and a mortar and pestle, so I can afford to go the extra mile.
Roasting the leeks brings out their sweetness and root vegetable-ness. Tossing the warm leeks with the spinach gives it a gentle wilt, making it the perfect warm winter salad. Adding the meaty Portobello mushroom gives even steak-lovers a vegan salad to cheer for.
Roasted Leek and Portobello Salad
4 Portobello mushroom caps, washed and patted dry
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large leeks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
6 cups baby spinach
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Adjust the oven racks so they’re close to each other. Rub the Portobello caps with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange them top-side up in a casserole dish. Put them in the oven on the lower shelf and roast for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the leeks by washing them very well. Chop off the fibrous green tops and the stump, leaving only white and light green parts. Halve each leek and cut them into 1-inch slices. As you’re going along, toss the chopped leeks right onto a small rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the leeks with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Using your hands, toss the leeks until well mixed. Add this pan to the top shelf in the oven. While you’ve got the oven open, flip the mushrooms so they’re cap-side down and slide them back in. Roast the leeks and flipped mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until both leeks and mushrooms are tender, but not mushy.
Now prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and rest of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the baby spinach and roasted leeks. Toss well until spinach and leeks are coated in the dressing and the spinach has barely begun to wilt. Divide salad on four plates. Top each salad with a Portobello mushroom and serve.