We created this wild mushroom salad to take advantage of the local avocado season, because our friends Adena and Walter at LNB farms provide us with lots of avocados for our restaurants during the season. The season usually starts in July and can run through January. This salad, with two types of mushrooms and a creamy avocado dressing, is one of my favorites because it utilizes avocados in an unexpected way. Additionally, it’s also a great method to use up an avocado which may be a little bruised or less than perfect.
This mushroom salad is packed with nutrients, makes a great main dish meal, and travels well. Sometimes I like to just make the mushrooms and use them as a topping for a rice bowl, and drizzle the dressing all over.
Use A Variety Of Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms, known as enokitake in Japan, look like they come from another planet. Long and slender, with tiny caps and grown in clusters, they have a light and delicate flavor. They are traditionally used in stir fries, noodle dishes, and soups. You can find them sold in packets at Asian grocery stores. Look for creamy white to light yellow stalks. Avoid any packages that appear to be slimy or moist. Enoki have a long shelf life, and fresh ones should last in your fridge up to two weeks or longer. Make sure you trim about an inch off the bottom, which is the growing medium.
Shiitake mushrooms are also native to East Asia. They have a wonderfully chewy and meaty texture. I love sauteeing them because they hold their shape and don’t get mushy. Depending on the variety of shiitake you get, the stems can be really fibrous and inedible, so if they are hard and woody, remove them before using. This recipe works best when you use a variety of mushrooms so I would suggest using whatever looks good at the store or you happen to have on hand. Any mushroom would work, from humble button mushrooms to exotic ones. Mix it up and be creative.
Creamy Avocado Dressing
This avocado based dressing is so light, fresh, and flavorful. Moreover, avocados provide the dressing with richness, body, and a sweet flavor. I always make extra to pour over fresh greens or use as a yummy dip for fresh veggies. The dressing lasts about a week in the fridge, so you can use up any extra during the week. Although the color in the days following might not be quite as pretty, it still tastes delicious.
Haas versus Florida
Haas avocados, which are available year round mainly from Mexico, are probably the most familiar avocado. I know some people prefer Haas avocados for their denser creaminess but I find that Florida avocados are just right for this recipe. And if you are using one of the much larger Florida varieties, you will need around a quarter of one for a batch of this dressing. While I whip this dressing up in an immersion blender, you could also use a standard blender.
Sautéing the Mushrooms
The cooking portion of this salad takes just a few minutes. We want to give the shiitakes some color, and caramelize them a bit. Cooking the mushrooms will also help them soak up the yummy avocado dressing.
For the salad greens, use any of your favorites. This works well with spring mix, arugula, or baby kale. You’re going to dress the greens first, and then dress the mushrooms, so you can arrange them in a pretty pile in the center of your greens. Top with the beautiful enoki and some red onions for color (sorry, I forgot about the red onions until I was editing the post!) and you will have a striking salad that is as healthy as it is beautiful and delicious.
I think you will love this Wild Mushroom Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing. It’s fast, healthy, creamy with a little tangy zing from the cilantro and rice wine vinegar*, vegan, and loaded with earthy mushrooms. If you make our Wild Mushroom Salad, we want to know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag us in your photos, @funkyasiankitchen. Show us the goods!
Beautiful salad with earthy mushrooms and a creamy dressing.
- Dressing: yields about 1 cup
- ½ Avocado (or ¼ if using large florida avocados)
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup water
- 10 oz mixed greens
- 12 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 package enoki mushrooms
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
Make the Dressing:
- Put all of the ingredients (avocado, garlic, sugar, black pepper, salt, oil, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, and water) into a blender or in a container for an immersion blender.
- Blend for about a minute until it is smooth and creamy.
- Taste the dressing and adjust salt and pepper if needed. The dressing may be made one day ahead but it will start to lose some of its bright green color if held more than a day.
For the salad:
- Wash the greens and spin dry if they are not pre-washed. Put the greens into a covered bowl or zip top plastic bag and into the refrigerator until you finish the other items.
- Put the sliced onions into a bowl of ice water and set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
For the mushrooms:
- Open the packages of shiitake mushrooms and wipe off any loose dirt with a damp paper towel. Cut off the hard stems and cut each cap into thick slices.
- Heat a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and then the mushrooms into the pan.
- Leave the mushrooms undisturbed for a minute to start browning , then give them a quick toss. You want to try and caramelize some of the mushrooms before they give off too much liquid. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms for 3-4 mins. and the set aside to cool.
- Take the enoki mushrooms out of the package and cut the stems off 1 inch above the growing medium. Separate the enoki into small manageable clumps.
- In a large mixing bowl put the salad greens and 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing. Toss the greens gently and then place them into a serving bowl.
- Put the shiitake mushrooms into the mixing bowl and then toss them with 1-2 tablespoons of dressing. Top the greens with shiitake mushrooms and then the enoki mushrooms.
- Drain the red onions and then garnish the salads. Serve with extra dressing on the side.
Keywords: mushrooms, salad, avocado, fusion cuisine