Another unconscious eating trap I’ve seen (and experienced) is forgetting about the visual part of eating. Marketers know that if you have a beautiful table setting and food arrangement, diners will mistake fast food for haute cuisine. And many dieters have reported that when they involve several senses in their meals, they feel full faster and longer! So, it’s worth the few extra moments it takes to think through how to make your meal more visually appealing: thoughtful plating, a sprinkle of fresh parsley, or similar! And just in case you’re interested, the simple recipe for the mushroom salad is below.
Super-Simple Mushroom Pasta Salad (pictured above)
3 cups (or more if you like) of fresh mushrooms – whatever you have on hand – cleaned and chopped if they are large
3 cups (or more if you like) of greens – a mix of bitter winter baby greens is delicious with this
1 cup of cooked pasta (dried or fresh)
Couple of dashes of vinegar (I prefer white wine vinegar)
Two “glugs” of high quality olive oil – one for the pan, one for the salad
Prep the mushrooms and heat a cast iron or similar skillet with a bit of olive oil. When hot, toss in the mushrooms, and cook for about 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring/flipping occasionally, until slightly browned.
Note: do not use a nonstick pan if you can help it. In addition to releasing chemicals, these pans keep the mushrooms from browning properly.
In the meantime, wash the greens, cut if necessary, and dry. First toss in the vinegar, then a pinch of salt, then toss with olive oil. (Order is important – if you start with the olive oil, the vinegar will slide off.)
When the mushrooms are ready, toss in the cooked pasta (great way to use cold leftover pasta) until the pasta is warmed through. Add fresh ground pepper, taste, add salt if needed, and then plate the salad with the mushroom/pasta mix over it.