chinese food/dinner/recipes/salad/Vegetarian Recipes/vietnamese food

Shiitake Quinoa Salad Recipe

Posted May 7, 2014 by Stephanie
shiitake quinoa salad -

I LOVE mushrooms. Mushrooms are pure earthy, umami deliciousness. I just don’t get people who don’t love mushrooms. If you’re a mushroom hater it’s probably because you haven’t found your spirit mushroom cooking method. See, even though all mushrooms essentially have the same flavour, they taste texturally different based on how you cook them. Braising them makes them tender, roasting them can make them crisp or tender, and pan frying them, when you do it right, turns them into perfect little salty, crispy bits of goodness. They kind of turn into a mushroom chip and they’re awesome on their own, but even better when paired with quinoa.

Shiitake Quinoa Salad Recipe -

The quinoa in this salad (it was supposed to be a quinoa bowl, but I didn’t have a pretty enough bowl, so it turned into a salad plate) is dressed with shallot oil. If you haven’t had shallot oil before, it’s going to change your life. Shallots are onions’ sweeter, tinier, hotter, better tasting cousins (that sounded wrong but it makes you want to go out and buy some shallots, doesn’t it?). They are incredibly flavourful, especially when heated up. They’re even better when you make them into what amounts to tiny onion rings and then save the oil to make dressing.

Shiitake Quinoa Salad Recipe -

This salad is seriously an umami bomb. Add on some sliced avocado and quickly sautéed spinach and you have a meal that’s super full of flavour and contrasting textures. With salads like this, I could totally be vegetarian. Okay, no, who am I kidding. I couldn’t. But, I could for a meal, and that’s a feat in itself. That being said, if you threw an egg on this…

Shiitake Quinoa Salad Recipe -

 i am hearty, i am meat-free: i am shiitake quinoa!

Shiitake Quinoa Salad Recipe
serves 2-3


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • neutral oil, such as rice bran oil
  • 3-4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • sliced green onions, to garnish


  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons reserved shallot oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Start off by cooking the quinoa. If you have your tried and true method of cooking quinoa that works for you, ignore this next little bit. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and then drain well. Sometimes I cook my quinoa in my rice cooker, but if I’m doing it in a pot, I use a non-stick one. Add the drained quinoa to your non-stick pot and turn the heat to medium to slightly toast the kernels, about 2 minutes. Add the 1 1/4 cups of broth, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes is up, remove the pot from the burner and let the quinoa sit, covered, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes lift the lid and fluff. Let the quinoa cool while you’re preparing the other ingredients.

Heat up a bit of oil in a non-stick skillet or a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the mushroom slices in a single layer and cook undisturbed until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook. By now the mushrooms should be slightly shrivelled and quite golden. Drain on paper towels and repeat until all of the mushroom slices are cooked. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper while still hot.

Add two and a half tablespoons of oil to the same skillet and heat over medium low heat. Add the sliced shallots and gently fry, stirring occasionally until they turn golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Keep a close watch as shallots can deepen in color quite quickly. When golden, turn off the heat, scoop out the shallots and drain on paper towels. Let the shallot oil cool and set aside for the dressing.

In the same skillet, quickly wilt the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss into the quinoa. I used all of the dressing, but start out with half and taste as you go. To plate, scoop a generous amount of quinoa on a plate or in a bowl. Top with the mushrooms, spinach and sliced avocado. Garnish with the crispy shallots and green onions. Enjoy!

Shiitake Quinoa Salad Recipe -


  1. Waaaaaaant!! I love everything about this freaking salad. YUM!

    1. steph says:

      thanks katrina!! :D

  2. I have fresh porcini so i will replace them with shitake wich i don’t have.
    Tnx for the great recipe idea.

  3. Libby says:

    Happen to me, plate of goodness and health!!

  4. Different kinds of mushrooms taste different so when you factor that plus all the different ways you can cook them…it’s impossible to say you dislike all mushrooms ever. Also adding an avocado and/or egg to anything always improves it by at least 50%. :)

    1. steph says:

      only 50%? I think 100!!

  5. Ashley Marti says:

    well isn’t this just the prettiest quinoa salad, ever!

    1. steph says:

      Aww, thanks Ashley! You’re making the salad blush!

  6. Um, HELLO. I most definitely just drooled on my keyboard right now looking at your pics. Will you come make this salad for me? I lovvvve mushrooms!

    1. steph says:

      Um, YES! And then we will go on a food binge at all my fave Portland joints :D

  7. What a beautiful salad, the pictures are pure art. Love this recipe!

    1. steph says:

      Thanks Matt!

  8. Fiona says:

    I adore mushrooms and this looks incredible, will definitely be trying this out soon!

  9. Caitlin says:

    And what about the different types of mushroom soups you can make?? Love.

  10. Sophie says:

    Loving everything about this! I sadly missed out on mushrooms for the first 18-or-so years of my life while thinking I didn’t enjoy them. I love making up for lost time!

    1. steph says:

      I know so many people who didn’t like mushrooms when they were kids…now they are mushroom fiends!

  11. MB says:

    Wow, this is a gorgeous post. Your photography is simply stunning. I grew up with a father who was fairly certain mushrooms would poison us all (when I was little his explanation seemed sensible…), so nary a mushroom in sight at the table growing up. I do love them now… and wow, this salad! Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. steph says:

      in your dad’s defence there are some pretty CRAZY mushrooms out there! but yay for growing up and getting to eat whatever you want whenever you want!

  12. cynthia says:

    Gurl. This looks SOOOO so good. I’ve been meaning to get back into quinoa salads and you just got my attention in a big way — love this so much!

    1. steph says:

      people tell me quinoa is over. :( quinoa will NEVER be passè! quinoa can’t wait to be in your belly again!

  13. molly yeh says:

    pleeeeease help me find my spirit mushroom???? i feel bad that i’m not a mushroom person :(

    1. steph says:

      hmm, i think i just found a candidate for our eating contest..would it be too stacked if it was mushroom eating!? jk. even as a mushroom lover that sounds too crazy.

      molly, don’t worry. i will guide you through the fields of mushrooms until i find you YOUR SPIRIT MUSHROOM!

  14. hell yes this recipe ROCKS! I am all for that reserved shallot oil in the dressing. I’m going to make this for dinner tonight. And Molllyyyyyy!!!! I want to bomb molly with pan crisped chanterelles so bad.

    1. steph says:

      Um, can you bomb me with crisp chanterelles instead? :P

  15. Erika says:

    A VEGETARIAN RECIPE??? AM I DREAMING. So happy! :) I was totally a mushroom hater until last year…when I finally had a vegetarian mushroom entree that I didn’t hate. I wish I knew how it was cooked–so tender and juicy. So I think I found all my spirit mushroom cooking method…in spirit. Because now I will happily eat mushrooms cooked in most forms. Hallelujah for thatd because I feel the mushroom def tie this all together and I WANT IT!! PS. The shallot oil sounds GENIUS! :)

    1. steph says:

      Hahahaha. I eat vegetables, TRUTH! Shallot oil should be over errthang!

  16. sounds so delicious!!

  17. Your photos are stunning. Delicious salad.

  18. lana says:

    Hi Stephanie, I assumed you were American, but then “flavour” threw me off! Your blog looks like you’ve worked for a food magazine? The styling, design and photography is top-notch! My only wish is that you’d have kids so you could help me figure out what to make to feed (my) kids!

  19. lana says:

    Hi Stephanie, I assumed you were American, but then “flavour” threw me off! Your blog looks like you’ve worked for a food magazine? The styling, design and photography is top-notch!

  20. Arya says:

    Are you serious? This mushroom salad is amazing. Thank you so much for this recipe, Steph :)

  21. PN says:

    made this at work for lunch and adapted your recipe so that I didn’t need to use a skillet! microwaving shallots are the way to go!

    Thank you for the amazing recipe :)

  22. Laurie A. Smith says:

    Toasting the quinoa before cooking adds an incredible amount of flavor.

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