When we think of salads we often completely miss the wonderful things that are warm salads. This post brings them into focus and lists some dos and don’ts for Warm salads. Also includes the recipe for my favourite Warm Mushroom Salad with Arugula & Walnuts.
Warm Mushroom Salad with Arugula & Walnuts is probably one of my favourite warm salads. But before we get to the recipe of that, let’s talk about warm salads and the general lack of awareness around them.
For me, warm salads make a major part of my winter diet. As you all know by now, everyone at my household loves salad. The only way the child eats vegetables is through salads and hence the winter months are quite challenging. Because that is when you don’t want to bite into cold vegetables and fruits at every meal. And warm salads are a wonderful solution to the same.
What is a warm salad
So what exactly is a warm salad you ask me? According to the strict dictionary definition, a warm salad is defined as follows.
a salad containing at least one warm ingredient, as cooked meat
In simple terms, warm salads are cooked salads. And to everyone’s surprise, they may or may not be actually served warm. Sounds so contradictory to its name right? It is said that traditionally the name came about to denote the fact that vegetables or meat is actually not cold and hence warm. Though personally, I love serving them warm my husband actually prefers the warm salad at room temperature. So that is a decision left to your preferences I guess.
Many cultures across the world do some beautiful versions of warm salads. The Mediterranean have their grilled vegetables and meat salad, the Thai have some gorgeous warm salads with pork. And why go so far, right in Mangalore and Goa we seem to have lovely pork and fish salads.
Tips to make good Warm Salads
At the crux of designing or making them, warm salads aren’t very different from the regular ones. So these salad making tips will be equally handy for them too. But a couple of more things to keep in mind would be –
- The addition of greens, since are talking about cooked and warm food you wouldn’t want to add leaves too long before serving. That would result in completely wilted greens. Ideally, the best way to deal with this is either serve it as a structured salad on a plate that people can assemble themselves or layer the greens at the bottom as I have done in this picture.
- When you are cooking or roasting vegetables, don’t overcook them. Remember that we are making a salad and the texture is still important.
- I personally don’t enjoy chilled, fruit based or curd based dressings for warm salads but then this Sweet potato salad with hung curd dressing is an exception to this. But in general, keep the dressing light yet warming.
- An element of freshness and rawness adds a good element to the warm or cooked salad. For example, in this warm mushroom salad, I have used rocket leaves and tomatoes to bring in that freshness.
So don’t be afraid to experiment with warm salads, I do know some people who actually prefer these over cold or completely raw salads. And to kickstart your journey in this, here is a glorious warm mushroom salad with Arugula, cheese & Walnuts. One of the favorites in my house.
Warm Mushroom Salad with Arugula & Walnuts
- 200 gms button mushrooms
- 200 gms shitake mushrooms
- 200 gms shemji mushrooms
- 2 cups rocket leaves
- 1/2 cup walnut
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 disc Kalari cheese
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
For the dressing
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Thoroughly wash and roughly chop all the mushrooms. Drain water completely and then cook in a heavy bottom pan. Add salt, pepper and mixed herbs towards the end. Don't overcook the mushrooms. This should take you around 4-5 minutes.
- On a tawa, grill the discs of karalli cheese (see notes), Sprinkle paprika powder when hot and roughly tear in pieces.
- Shake all the dressing ingredients in a bottle till mixed.
- In your serving bowls, layer rocket and then add the cooked warm mushrooms. Add cherry tomatoes and cheese. Add the walnuts, drizzle with dressing and serve warm.