Grilled chicken and steak salads are great, but if you still want a hearty vegetarian main course salad, portabella mushrooms are an excellent choice. Portabellas have a satisfying, meaty texture and earthy flavor and are often used in place of meat by vegans, vegetarians, and those trying to be a little more health conscious. While they aren't going to satisfy a craving for steak, portabellas are much more than a sub-standard meat substitute, and pair well with many of the same ingredients as steak, like creamy and rich goat cheese. Add a bit of crunch from some toasted walnuts and you've got a healthy, tasty, and well-rounded salad sure to fill you up without leaving you lethargic.
Grilled Portabella and Goat Cheese Salad
adapted from Food and Wine
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and stemmed
2 ounces mixed greens
2 ounces baby arugula
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot
1. In a large bowl, whisk the vermouth with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the vermouth marinade, then toss and let stand for 20 minutes, stirring them occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, mix the greens and arugula together and distribute between two plates and top with goat cheese and walnuts. Combine shallots and vinegar in a bowl and allow the shallots to soften.
3. Light a grill or preheat a broiler. Drain the mushrooms; reserve 1 tablespoon of the marinade, add to the shallot and vinegar mixture, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms or broil them over high heat until browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Thickly slice the grilled mushrooms.
4. Toss the warm sliced mushrooms with the marinade mixture. Place the grilled mushrooms on top of the salad and drizzle the marinade on top. Toss everything together and serve.