Thursday was a tough day. I broke my toe, babysat 2 kids (in addition to my own 2, one of which is teething hard), cut the heck out of my leg on an exposed nail, and “forgot” to fold the laundry. By 5:00 I was at the end of my rope. Mr. Zoom swooped in to feed and bathe the kids while I retreated to the tub for an hour long soak. And then we ate pizza. When we eat pizza, we go to town. Cheesy bread sticks, large pizza extra cheese; the whole thing. And then we feel gross. This happens weekly.
Inevitably the next day we’re craving vegetables and lean protein and whole grains. Mr. Zoom requested a salad for dinner. It should be noted that he has a serious aversion to ALL “crunchy” vegetables. This means any vegetable we eat must be steamed, boiled, baked, or roasted to oblivion.
Since it’s the season of asparagus and I’m still on my brown rice kick, I decided on a leafy lettuce-less salad for that night. I busted out some almost gone off baby bella mushrooms from the fridge, grated some garlic (does anyone else do this?), caramelized an onion, chopped some dried cranberries, boiled some brown rice and threw it all together. With a squeeze of lemon. Because in my world, roasted asparagus is just naked without a drizzle of lemon.
This recipe was inspired by a Springtime Jasmine Rice Salad by How Sweet Eats. Her recipe calls for the mushrooms to be simmered in white wine. I’m not a big wine drinker (I prefer a local microbrew), so I tossed in some Skinny Girl Sangria (because that’s what I had in my fridge). Bethenny would be proud. I love Bethenny. I digress.
This turned out perfectly. It was just what we needed the day after a major pizza (and beer, and ice cream…I told you it was a rough day) party. It would also be great for a ladies lunch (I’d love to be a lady who lunched), or as a side dish for a shower or brunch. And, it’s toddler approved. WINNING!
Nutty Salad with Roasted Aspargus and Mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
a couple tablespoons of butter
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (or grated)
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup white wine (or Skinnygirl Sangria!)
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 lemon, for squeezing
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss chopped asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and stir to coat. Cook slowly over medium low heat until onion caramelizes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
In a larger pan over medium high heat, saute mushrooms in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil until cooked and liquid releases, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chopped cranberries and white wine and cook for 3-5 minutes until liquid reduces slightly.
Add caramelized onion and roasted asparagus to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Season with the juice of one lemon and salt and pepper if necessary. Fold brown rice into the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Serve alongside crusty french bread.
We added some shredded rotisserie chicken the second night! Yum.