Brenda Stanley
Belles Marinated Mushroom and Spinach Salad

Salad is so much more than lettuce and a few tomatoes. It should be something that stands out and sets the tone for the rest of the meal.

For me, salad often is the meal. I love the fresh flavors of veggies and vinegar, and my Marinated Mushrooms and Spinach salad is one of my favorites.

What makes this salad extra special is the marinated mushrooms. The marinade is the dressing for the whole salad and is made with simple ingredients like vinegar, sugar and oil.

The salad is also full of different ingredients that many might not expect to be used together, but combined, these diverse flavors make this salad a family favorite.

Belle’s Marinated Mushroom and Spinach Salad

1 cup vegetable oil

½ cup sugar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon poppy seed

1 teaspoon onion salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

8 cups fresh spinach (or a combination of spinach and romaine) torn into bite sized pieces

½ red onion, sliced thin

1 cup cottage cheese

1/3 cup bacon bits

½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

Combine the oil, sugar, vinegar, poppy seed, salt and pepper in a large covered bowl. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat well. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. In a large salad bowl combine remaining ingredients and toss well. Strain the mushrooms reserving the marinade, and add them to the salad. Mix well. Add extra marinade to taste.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author, including the recently released "That's a Lot of Crock!" and novelist. Her website is at