Whole Foods had quite a few gems for me this past week. This is another of their winning recipes both for flavor and for the healthy prep. Of course I changed it up a bit to suit my needs. Then I served it along-side a very rich cut of meat. Hey, you’ve got to cut your fat and calorie corners where you can right?


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small pear, peeled and cored
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stemmed
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped
  • 4 chives, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Put vinegar, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the pear balsamic dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast mushrooms until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. *I can honestly say that when I pulled the mushrooms from their roasting in the oven they looked and smelled burnt. In fact, Neil asked whether or not I was still going to use them in dinner. I scraped them off of the baking sheet and plopped them into the salad and they were very good. I do believe that Neil was surprised at the beautiful flavor and texture that came from these beastly looking little things (as was I).
  3. While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff.
  4. Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, chives, salt, pepper and remaining pear balsamic dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well.

This salad is packed with fantastic flavor, and does well left-over for lunch the next day, cold.