Gone are the days when eating healthy food meant sacrificing on good vibes (aka:ambiance). In addition to a delicious and health-focused menu, the Woodlot has got atmosphere in spades. This Toronto hotspot is the focus of my second Eat Some Good Guide episode. Cozy, quaint and candlelit, the Woodlot has the most amazing gigantic wood-burning oven, which makes everything that comes out of it, magical. They offer a wide range of locally-sourced menu items and even have a completely separate menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes featuring things like toasted chickpea linguine and shitake and smoked potato sourdough ravioli…ermahgerd!
Owner/chef David Haman and I make his signature Hen O’ The Woods Mushroom & beet salad, which has been a staple on the menu since they opened the doors over 4 years ago. It’s a healthy vegan dish that’s loaded with flavour thanks to pickled beetroot, shallots, black walnuts and fire-grilled maitake (aka: “Hen O’ the Woods”) mushrooms. It sounds pretty fancy, but it’s actually simple to make and I guarantee you’ll love it! (Plus, I’ll give you substitutions that might make sourcing some of the ingredients easier for you.)
This dish is brimming with good, healthy ingredients. But, I’ll highlight that this beet salad is a power detox dish for your liver. In fact, beets are one of the best foods you can eat to support your body’s own detox pathways. And mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for their potent medicinal properties. Like other mushrooms, Maitake have powerful immune boosting and anti-cancer properties. And this edible fungi also boasts a decent dose of protein, fibre, B vitamins and potassium!
- 225g cooked wild rice
- 20g shaved fennel
- 30g pickled beet juice
- 35g pickled beets in small dice
- 30g shallot confit in olive oil
(aka:sautéed shallots/onions in olive oil)
- 15g black walnuts (or regular walnuts) chopped fine
- 4g sea salt
- Lemon juice to taste
- 5g walnut oil or olive oil
- 1 tbsp each: chopped parsley, chives and dill (you can puree with a little olive oil if you want. This is the gorgeous green spread you’ll see on the plate in the video.)
- MUSHROOM TOPPING
- 320g maitake mushrooms (or oyster mushrooms) picked into small clusters
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- Mix all the salad base ingredients in a bowl (salt to taste) and let come to room temperature. (Can be done a few hours ahead.)
- Toss the mushrooms in a few drops of olive oil and grill, allow to char slightly.
- Sprinkle chopped parsley, chives and dill on 6-8 plates (or make
intoa paste and spread). Arrange the salad base on top of greens and then top with the grilled mushrooms. (Garnish with a few seasonal leaves.)