Easy Italian-Inspired Salad

A friend and I were recently having a conversation about Italian cooking, or really, a conversation about how I’m terrible at cooking Italian food. Yet I had been craving Italian sausage, and as the conversation proceeded, it occurred to me that although I may not be able to cook authentic Italian, I could most certainly do a spin on it and create a salad that uses ingredients typically found in the cuisine. And boy am I glad I did! (As were my friends who came over for dinner.) This salad hit the spot by satisfying my cravings, and was much healthier than typical Italian food, too. It was also simple, quick and easy to make. You’ll notice two variations below, as one of my guests is a vegetarian, and I would say that—as always—this is a great dish to put your own spin on. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Bon appétit!

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 1/2 bags pre-washed, baby spinach
1 container baby heirloom tomatoes
1 package Trader Joe’s Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage (or sausage of your choice) OR 3 portabella mushroom caps, sliced
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
4-8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large salad or mixing bowl, toss spinach with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Spray a medium-size sauté pan with non-stick spray.
Heat pan and add sausages and tomatoes or mushrooms and tomatoes.
Sauté until cooked thoroughly and tomatoes are softened but not mushy. Chiffonade basil.
Once cooked, top spinach with warm ingredients from the pan.
Top chicken sausage or mushroom mixture with feta. Garnish with basil chiffonade.
Serve and enjoy!

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