the taste space

Grilled Balsamic Mushroom and Quinoa Salad with Walnuts

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on June 29, 2012

Uh, oh. I have become predictable.

Being invited for a BBQ = time for Garlic-Thyme Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms!

Any time of day, grilled portobello mushrooms fit with the theme. Rob and I went to a post-wedding brunch where the new father-in-law was cooking eggs and sausages on the barbecue. I knew this man must be a barbecue connoisseur, so I left my marinaded mushrooms with him. Do not lose the marinade, I told him, because it was going to be my salad dressing, too.

I was shocked when he returned with beautifully plump mushrooms with even more marinade. He turned my barbecue skills upside down. Instead of doing a continuous grilling on a random side of the mushroom, he started grilling gill side down. Next, he flipped them gill side up to finish them off. The juices from the mushrooms pooled in the middle of the mushrooms. Ingenious. No, really, I was so impressed. (Never mind scrambled eggs on the barbecue…)

In any case, portobello mushrooms alone do not make a meal, so instead of a garlic white bean puree, I opted to add quinoa and toasted walnuts for crunch. This way, you do not lose any of the fabulous garlic-thyme-balsamic marinade and you get a filling meal that is also great as leftovers. Because, yes, it is very sad. I do not like to share my mushrooms. They are just too good. ;)

What are your favourite vegan things to make on the barbecue? I think I need a bigger variety of barbecue tricks! Here are our current barbecue tricks:

Grilled Rosemary Garlic Corn
Rob’s Grilled Pineapple with Lime and Chile Flakes
Lemon Asparagus Quinoa Toss
Dragon Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Vegetables and a Miso Gravy
Wheat Berry Salad with Pomegranate-Roasted Vegetables

Here are some other recipes I have bookmarked:

BBQ Tempeh Kabobs from Making Love in the Kitchen
Peruvian Seitan Skewers from Viva Vegan
Coconut and Lime Grilled Kale from Kitchen Operas
Grilled Corn and Tomatoes with Vegan Tonnato Sauce from Food & Wine
Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing from Veganomicon

This is my submission to this week’s Summer Salad Sundays, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Grilled Balsamic Mushroom and Quinoa Salad with Walnuts

6 small Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed (1 per person, adjust recipe accordingly)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbsp fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1.75 cups water or vegetable broth

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Wash mushroom caps well, carefully removing any dirt. Pat dry.

2. Throw all marinade ingredients together in a large plastic bag or plastic container, mixing it around making sure it is well combined. Place mushrooms in the bag, seal it up, roll contents around to coat, and let sit in the fridge for up to 12 hours (minimum 1 hour). If you think of it, take the bag out from time to time and roll it around – this ensures that the mushrooms are well coated with marinade.

3. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa: Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add quinoa. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Keep covered for an additional 5 minutes to steam. Set aside.

4. Prepare the grill by heating it up to medium-high. Remove excess marinade from mushrooms but reserve it in a large mixing bowl or container.

5. Place mushrooms on lightly oiled grill, gill side DOWN, close grill lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or so, until grill marks appear on the underside. Flip, and repeat gill side UP. The mushrooms are cooked when they are warm through and have lost a little of their “plumpness” (but they are also great raw!), so no worries about undercooking them. By cooking gill side up last, any juices will pool inside the mushroom.

6. Once done, collect mushrooms and do not lose their juices. Add it to the reserved marinade. Chop grilled mushrooms and place with marinade. Gently fold in quinoa and walnuts. Sadly, your quinoa will turn an ugly purply-brown but it will still taste great.

Serves 4.

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13 Responses

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  1. sprint2thetable said, on June 29, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I love thyme and walnuts together! Great idea here… and the other you posted. Perfect timing since I have a party to go to Saturday. Have a great weekend!

  2. Eileen said, on June 29, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I love using veg marinades as salad dressings–so glad to see I’m not the only one! We actually don’t do a lot of grilling, but I think my favorite food on the grill is fresh corn. One of my old roommates taught us to make Indian street corn–grilled corn with cayenne, curry powder, paprika, salt & pepper, and lemon slices–and it’s possibly the best thing ever.

  3. Joanne said, on June 29, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    I have ZERO barbecue recipes and even fewer bbq tricks! Probably because bbqs are so few and far between in my life. I love teh sound of these extra juicy mushrooms though!

  4. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on June 30, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    I’m so into walnuts right now! I am throwing them in everything so naturally I love the sound of this!

  5. Flavors of the Sun said, on July 1, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    My husband, who loves both walnuts and quinoa, will welcome this addition to the table! Great salad!

  6. Kahakai Kitchen said, on July 1, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    I don’t barbeque very much but the mushrooms make me want to go out and get a new grill. What a delicious combination of ingredients. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

  7. veghotpot said, on July 2, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    This looks delicious I am really into mushrooms at the moment and have got a big pot of quinoa at home! will be making this for lunch this week nom nom!

  8. [...] there is one thing that is predictable with my meals, it is my breakfast. Steel cut oatmeal with fruit and protein powder. Lately, I’ve been [...]

  9. Kasandra Bracken said, on July 3, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    yum! love the walnut + portobello combo. Definitely going to need to be bringing portobellos around with me all BBQ season this year!

  10. [...] latest kick is adding quinoa to vegetable sides to make it a more sustaining meal, and here I go again with this salad. [...]

  11. [...] Who says vegans can’t have fun at a barbecue? [...]

  12. [...] a small change in herbs or ingredients can change a meal, and a new technique can have great results. But sometimes, it doesn’t make [...]


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