This is probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. There’s multiple components that are already insanely delicious on their own, combined together to make something outstanding. The texture and earthy flavor of the quinoa combined with the soft, balsamic-coated mushrooms and the sweet, buttery caramelized onions, plus the salty, creamy goat cheese on top and the bright, fresh parsley is just ridiculously good.
This could serve as a side dish, or even a main course. You can add in other components if you’d like, or take certain components out; make it your own. What’s great about this dish is that, while it tastes extremely decadent, it is a mostly healthy dish, with a few decadent components. Quinoa is an ancient whole grain with lots of fiber and nutrients, then you have the mushrooms and olive oil and fresh spinach, but also the goat cheese and butter to give it that little extra.
~½ pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
~½ pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
~3 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved, and thinly sliced crosswise
~½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
~kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
~¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
~2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
~¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus whole leaves for garnish
~1 cup quinoa
~4 ounces spinach
~2 teaspoons white truffle oil (optional)
~1 (6-ounce) log fresh goat cheese, sliced
For the Caramelized Onions:
~3 tablespoons unsalted butter
~1 tablespoon olive oil
~8 large shallots, thinly sliced
~½ cup red wine vinegar
~2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put the mushrooms on a roasting pan or baking sheet, toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and season with pepper only (this is already a pretty salty dish!). Roast in the oven, stirring every few minutes, until soft and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ½ cup of the oil, vinegar, thyme, and chopped parsley and season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette in a small bowl.
Add the warm mushrooms to the remaining vinaigrette and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving to marinate.
Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Add the vinegar and cook until the mixture thickens and becomes jamlike, about 15 minutes. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Remove and let cool to room temperature. The marmalade will keep for 2 days in a tightly sealed container in the fridge, Bring to room temperature before using.
Put the quinoa grains in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for 1 minute. Drain well. Transfer the quinoa to a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups cold water, cover the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water has evaporated, about 18 minutes.Turn off the heat and let stand for about 10 minutes before removing the cover. Spoon the cooked quinoa into the marinated mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Put the spinach into a bowl and toss with the reserved balsamic vinaigrette, and season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Divide the greens among 4 plates, and top each serving of the greens with the quinoa-mushroom salad. Drizzle the quinoa with the truffle oil (if using). Spread some of the caramelized shallots over the salad and top it all off with a slice or two of the goat cheese. Sprinkle some more chopped parsley/parsley leaves over top and serve.