Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post
This comfort-food salad’s bold dressing has big umami flavor and meaty texture, thanks to mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, plus a heady smokiness from Spanish smoked paprika. Together they match the taste experience that bacon typically provides, but in a much more healthful way.
One key to the dressing is to use sun-dried tomatoes that are dry rather than oil-packed. Rehydrate them in hot water; you use not only the tomatoes, but also the flavorful soaking liquid.
4 medium sundried tomatoes, not oil-packed
8 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 8 cups lightly packed)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Place the sun-dried tomatoes into a small bowl, pour ½ cup boiling water over them, or more to cover, then allow them to soak and re-plump for 15 minutes. Reserve the soaking liquid, and thinly slice the tomatoes. Toss the spinach and onion together in a large bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until their liquid is released has evaporated and the mushrooms are well browned, 8 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and smoked paprika and cook for 1 minute more. Reduce the heat to low then stir in ½ cup of the reserved tomato soaking liquid, the vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt and pepper.
Pour the warm mushroom mixture over the spinach and onion in the bowl and toss well until the spinach is well coated and wilted slightly. Season with additional salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 Servings
Serving size: 2 ½ cups
Per serving: 140 calories, 4 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber