Eight years in and we finally signed our middle son up for baseball this year. It was something I’d meant to do several years ago, but somehow it’s hard to think baseball when registration is required in the throes of winter.
An avid sports fan, my husband has been looking forward to this from the birth of our first child. And he’s been teaching our boys especially how to root-root-root for the home team even when they often “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” (It’s been decades since they won a World Series.)I have my own fond baseball memories…the Toronto Blue Jays winning the World Series two years in a row (though we’ve moved away, I’ll always quietly root for them too), my years as a pitcher on our high school slow pitch team, and neighborhood boys breaking out the bats and mitts as soon as the air breathed spring.
So with baseball season in full swing, I thought it would be fun to create a salad inspired by “American’s pastime.”Cucumbers and marinated mushrooms (an homage to a ball and mitt) nestle on a field of kale and Brussel sprouts. “Crackerjack” peanuts are a nod to the classic stadium snack but are coated with dates to keep the sugar “outta there.” Topping it off is a bittersweet stadium mustard dressing.A note on the peanuts: If saving money is important to you, it’s cheaper to shell them yourself. Seeing as we had a 5 lb. bag hanging around the house, this is the route I’ve taken lately). However, if time is of the essence, go for the pre-shelled and roasted peanuts. If you splurge on Spanish-roasted peanuts (my favorite choice for this salad), be sure to gently rub them in a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.
field of greens salad
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people
for the Salad
- Brussel sprouts, finely chopped
- Kale, destemmed and chopped
- Cucumber, sliced
for the Marinated Mushrooms
- 4 large Portabella mushroom caps or 16 oz. baby bellas
- 1/3-1/2 cup coconut aminos
- garlic powder
- freshly ground black pepper
for the “Crackerjack” peanuts
- ½ cup shelled peanuts or Spanish peanuts
- 1 T date paste
- 2-3 T water
for the Stadium Mustard dressing
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 T stadium mustard
- 2 T tahini
- 1.5-2 tsp. agave or coconut nectar
- ½ tsp. regular mustard
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- few dashes turmeric for color (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium high heat, combine date paste and water, stirring to combine. Add peanuts and continue to stir over medium high heat until they begin to clump together and the date paste begins to dry out (about 5-7 minutes). You may need to reduce the heat near the end of the cooking time to prevent the date paste from burning.
Transfer peanuts to a baking pan and place in oven for another 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
In a frying pan, add ingredients for the Marinated Mushrooms, bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat and cook until most of the liquid has reduced. Cool.
For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously to combine.
Combine kale and Brussel sprouts, then arrange cucumber slices on top followed by the “Crackerjack” peanuts and marinated mushrooms, drizzle with dressing.*
I like Spanish peanuts best. If using, then gently rub in a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins. Add extra prep time if shelling your own peanuts.
“Crackerjack” peanuts can be stored in an airtight jar for several days and are great for snacking. The date paste coating may soften a little, especially in humid conditions.
The dressing stores well in the fridge for several days. I like adding the turmeric for eye-pleasing color. A few dashes goes a long way as the color intensifies slightly over time.
My favorite way to serve salads is to prepare the base and set out toppings and dressing separately. That way, any leftovers will stay fresh.