Warm Chanterelle & Kale Quinoa Salad
Hello autumn, it’s been a while.
Actually, it’s been quite a while (5 years?!) since I’ve seen a proper autumn with colorful leaves and crisp air. Fall in Arizona is anything but, as temperatures are still toasty and every tree holds on to their leaves refusing to change their colors or let them drop to the ground. Fall in the Pacific Northwest, however, has me feeling the season like never before. I’m in absolute bliss every chance I get to walk on crunchy yellow leaves and I beam at every pumpkin décor that I see outside of cute Portland shops. I’m even incredibly happy to see the pumpkin spice madness take over the grocery stores and coffee shops again, as it’s just one more sign that my favorite season is here for a few happy weeks.
And of course, my favorite place on earth is looking mighty fall-like as well. Hello farmer’s market, and hellooooo autumn produce! Where tables were just yesterday (I swear!) filled with blackberries and raspberries, they’re now filled with glorious shaped gourds, winter squash, rainbow carrots, kale on kale on kale, and pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors. If you’ve never seen me in Portland before, I’m that blonde girl at the PSU farmer’s market who snaps pictures of every table of winter squash I see – they’re just so photogenic!
Another fantastic fall addition to the market is fungus of all shapes and sizes; that’s right – autumn in the PNW is also mushroom season. I experienced a bit of mushroom magic (not that kind!) in Italy, but as you can imagine, mushrooms are quite absent from Arizona’s culture. Not here in Portland. Mushroom foraging is the norm, and all of the cool kids do it. Some of their treasured mushrooms include matsutake, truffles, oyster, chicken of the woods (yep), and Oregon’s state mushroom: the chanterelle.
You may have heard of this delightful fungus before. Chanterelles grow all over the world and are often found growing under trees, particularly birch, beech, oak, and pine. They’re a bit of culinary superstars and have the price tag to prove it – they’re worth it, I swear! The chanterelle is a meaty mushroom with such a wonderful, delicate taste and a perfect texture that works so well in a variety of dishes. Like most other edible mushrooms, chanterelles contain B Vitamins, along with protein, copper, potassium, zinc, and selenium for your radiant bod. Chanterelles are also thought to contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties along with immune system stimulating powers to prevent cancer and other disease.
This quinoa salad is made up of protein packed quinoa as the base, along with ribbons of fresh lacinato kale for a Vitamin packed party. Hazelnuts are a tasty and crunchy addition and provide healthy fats, manganese, copper, and folate. Fall’s star fruit, the apple adds a perfect amount of sweetness along with heart healthy fiber to the salad, while also adding in another delicious textural element. Of course, the chanterelles are the total stars and have the loveliest flavor along with a delightful, hearty texture. This warm quinoa salad is a dish you’ll want to make all fall long.
Warm quinoa + sweet apple + vibrant kale + crunchy hazelnuts + antioxidant packin’ garlic + fragrant thyme + the most delicious mushroom of fall + maple tahini dressing = one delicious way to celebrate the flavors of Autumn.
Warm Chanterelle & Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as a side
½ cup quinoa, uncooked
⅓ cup hazelnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 pound chanterelle mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
1 large crisp apple, diced (I used a honeycrisp)
3 cups finely chopped lacinato kale, stems removed
½ teaspoon thyme
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Begin by cooking the quinoa. In a small pot bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add in quinoa, stir well, cover with lid, and simmer for 15 minutes.
While quinoa is cooking toast hazelnuts in a dry sauté pan over medium high heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pan back and forth a few times to move around nuts. Remove hazelnuts from pan and set aside.
In the same sauté pan over medium heat, drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add in garlic and allow to lightly sauté for 3 minutes, stirring often. Next add in chopped apples and chanterelles and gently sauté for 4 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add in chopped kale along with thyme and a hearty pinch of sea salt plus a sprinkle of black pepper. Sauté mixture for another 3-5 minutes, or until kale is wilted and shrunken in size.
In a large bowl combine kale and chanterelle mixture with cooked quinoa and stir well to combine. Drizzle with maple tahini dressing, (recipe below) stir to coat, and devour!
Maple Tahini Dressing:
4 tablespoons tahini
1 ½ tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Sea salt & pepper
Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.
-Cook quinoa in 1 cup of vegetable stock for extra deliciousness.
-Never, ever rinse chanterelles (or any other mushroom) under direct water. Instead take a damp paper towel and gently rub dirt off your ‘shrooms.
-Sub lacinato kale with any other variety of kale, or study fall green. Rainbow chard would also work well.