Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holy Shiitake (Walnut, and Dried Cranberry Salad) Batman!

Today I've had quite the craving for Wheatsville's popcorn tofu sandwich.

Popcorn whaaaaa?

I know, sounds weird and/or gross, right? Oh, but it's not. It's delicious. Kind of like chicken nuggets. And they put it on this bun with all kinds of veggies and top it with some cashew-tamari dressing, and...damn. It's good.

Probably not the healthiest, though. So, I decided that, to counteract the bad, I would make something good. Really good. And healthy. And that ended up being Shiitake, Walnut, and Dried Cranberry Salad, from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Shiitake mushrooms are crazy good for the immune system and have also been shown to fight cancer. These bad boys are gooood for you. The recipe calls for sautéeing them along with some garlic—yet another powerful immune booster—in a little bit of olive oil. I found some beautiful, local, organic shiitakes at Wheatsville. You can see their happy little sautéed selves in the picture to the right. A few minutes was all it took to get them nice and soft.

After sautéeing, I set the mushrooms and garlic aside and mixed up some red onion, balsamic vinegar, oil, walnuts, cranberries, and the secret ingredient—orange zest—which really gave the finished product a nice, unexpected, pleasant kick. And, by the way, attempting to grate the orange zest with my tiny little grater while avoiding grating my knuckles into the salad firmed up my resolve to finally buy a zester. I would recommend that you do the same.

The recipe calls for baby greens, but I used spinach instead, since I have about 5 million pounds of it that I bought on sale recently. I mixed the spinach and mushrooms with the other magic ingredients, tossed, and...voilà! A healthy side to my popcorn tofu sandwich (which, incidentally, is still probably better for me than a Quarter Pounder with Cheese).

Just to review, this salad gives you a huge bang for your buck, providing immune-boosting, cardiovascular-enhancing, cancer fighting, and anti-inflammatory properties, a big dose of flavanoids, antioxidants, and fiber...and the list goes on (and on...).

Now go out and get ya some.

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