Roasted Shiitake and Asian Pear Salad with Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette

Roasted Shiitake and Asian Pear Salad with Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette

This is the second salad recipe (in a row, I might add) that has contained fruit! Who am I? Seriously though, this is new territory for me. In the past, I’ve always declared, with gusto, that I hate fruit in salad.

Hate! In other words, I’m a stubborn 5-year-old at heart.

But within the last few years, I’ve become a closeted fruit-in-my-salad person. Does that make any sense? I’m definitely more of a savory than sweet gal, despite the plethora of dessert recipes on the blog, but I am more and more drawn to the idea.

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I think it was a bad experience with a horrible raspberry vinaigrette that scarred me for life. The idea of combining fruit with anything savory was not appealing to me at all.

Either that or it was my grandmother’s Mexican Chicken, which she likes to top with sliced (wayyyyy too ripe) bananas. She calls it Mexican Chicken, but there is no way that dish is Mexican. She’s very old-school British and pronounces quesadillas, “case-a-dill-ahs.” Enough said.

And don’t worry, she has sworn off the internet for life, so there is no chance she will be reading this. Or, at least, I hope not.

I should probably stop talking now and just tell you about this salad…

Roasted Shiitake and Asian Pear Salad with Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette

So, obviously fruit is involved! I already told you that part.

But my favorite, favorite thing about this salad is the miso-sesame vinaigrette. I only started experimenting with miso paste a few years ago, but I just love it. It is salty, slightly sweet, yet distinctive, and definitely has that whole umami thing going on.

There are many different types of miso, but this salad uses the white miso paste. Miso paste is fermented grain (usually rice) that is mixed with cooked soybeans. Basically, the darker in color the miso, the stronger the flavor. White miso is perfect for more delicate dishes like salads and vinaigrettes because it adds a lot of flavor, but isn’t so strong that it completely overpowers the dish.

Roasted Shiitake and Asian Pear Salad with Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette

I combined the white miso paste with toasted sesame oil (I could put that stuff on everything!), rice vinegar, and some freshly grated ginger to make the vinaigrette. Heaven. I kept dipping my finger into the bowl.

It is definitely good enough on its own to have as an everyday vinaigrette, even with basic greens, but even better if you pair it with warm, roasted shiitake mushrooms, toasted sesame seeds, and some crisp, crunchy, and slightly sweet Asian pear slices.

Roasted Shiitake and Asian Pear Salad with Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette

Without sounding like a Trader Joe’s advertisement, I also highly recommend trying this salad with their ‘Power of the Greens’ mix, which is made up of slightly sturdier baby greens like kale and chard!

Love, love, love.

Roasted Shiitake and Asian Pear Salad with Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 5-6 ounces spring mix greens (I used Trader Joe’s ‘Power to the Greens’ mix!)
  • 1/2 Asian pear, cored and thinly sliced with a mandolin

Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed, safflower, or canola oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated ginger root
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the stemmed and quartered shiitake mushrooms on a large baking sheet and toss with two tablespoons of sesame oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 12-15 minutes,  stirring every 5 minutes or so with a wooden spoon, until they are lightly caramelized. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring them frequently, until they are lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from the heat immediately and place into a bowl.
  3. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a separate bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Place the greens in a large salad bowl, add the still warm roasted shiitake mushrooms, and toasted sesame seeds. Add the salad dressing (you will most likely use all of it) and toss. Serve and top each salad with several thin slices of Asian pear.

White miso paste can be found in specialty Asian supermarkets, Whole Foods, and other grocery stores in the refrigerated section (I used this brand.) The vinaigrette can be prepared up to a week in advance and stored in a covered container in the fridge. Shake well before using.

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