Sweet Tooth Mushrooms in a Savoy Cabbage Salad

sweet tooth mushrooms

It’s time for super seasonal winter salad. Because (depite the sunshine and 80 degree temperatures) it’s winter where I live. I’m choosing Savoy cabbage, celery leaves and sweet tooth mushrooms.

Are you familiar with sweet tooth mushrooms? It’s an odd sounding name. Perhaps you know them as hedgehog mushrooms. Sweet tooth and hedgehog mushrooms are nearly the same ‘shroom. Both are cousins to the belle of the mushroom ball– the chanterelle mushroom. Though sweet tooth mushrooms tend to be smaller than chanterelles, and hedgehogs tend to be larger. All these mushrooms are some of the tastiest fungi around, but the sweet tooth mushrooms are also true to their name. They are indeed sweet. They have a honey-like quality that ends with a peppery bite. Making them very much sought after as edibles.

Where I live sweet tooth mushrooms show up in late fall and stick around through January or February. Making them a perfect addition to a winter salad.

I’ve paired these sweet tooth mushrooms with Savoy cabbage. Savoy cabbage has a mild mustard flavor that works nicely with the ‘sweet’ in sweet tooth mushrooms. Making these two winter veggies dynamic partners. I realize neither one of these veggies are likely to be found in the grocery store. They are decidedly ‘specialty’ items. In Southern California they’re easy to find at the Farmers Market. So look around.

Celery of course is available everywhere. But for this salad I’m going to encourage you to seek out celery from the Farmers Market. Have you ever noticed that grocery stores chop the tops off of celery? They toss all those delicious dark green leaves right into the garbage. Why? I use the leaves in a variety of soups and salads. Many of them with mushrooms. Celery and mushrooms are a simple but surprisingly delicious combination. Add some salty, aged cheese to the mix and I couldn’t be happier.

Speaking of salty cheese. It’s vital to the success of this salad. I chose cotija. Again, it’s not a product that shows up in every market. But keep an eye out for it. Latin groceries will have it for sure.

Cotija cheese is an aged cow’s milk cheese from Mexico. It has a strong, salty flavor. In fact it has twice the salt content of Cheddar. On its own it could politely be called an acquired taste. But don’t let that put you off. Because there’s magic in Cotija cheese when it’s paired with strong flavors or mellowed somewhat with other cheeses. It’s most often used crumbled or grated as a topping for soups, salads, beans, enchiladas and tacos. In fact it’s these qualities that have earned it the nickname, The Parmesan of Mexico. GREG

sweet tooth mushrooms in a salad

Savoy Cabbage Salad with Sweet Tooth Mushrooms and Cotija 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Published
Savoy Cabbage Salad with Sweet Tooth Mushrooms and Cotija


  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 small head Savoy cabbage
  • 1 cup dark green celery leaves (loosely packed)
  • salt and pepper (as needed for seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small shallots (peeled and minced)
  • 8 ounce sweet tooth (hedgehog) mushrooms (may substitute chanterelle or other mild flavored mushroom)
  • cotija cheese (you may substitute ricotta salata, Parmesan or other crumbly, salty cheese)


Make the vinaigrette: Combine the mustard and vinegar in a blender. Blend to combine. Then, with the machine running, drizzle in about ½ cup of the extra-virgin olive oil. Once it emulsifies and becomes very creamy turn off the machine and pour the mixture into a large jar. Add the remaining 1 cup oil and a pinch of salt. Secure the lid and shake to combine. Reshake just before serving. This makes more than you need for this salad, cover and refrigerate the extra vinaigrette.

Make the salad: Remove any extra large or torn leaves from the outside of the cabbage until you get 4 nicely bowl-shaped leaves, about 5 or 6 inches in diameter. Set each leaf onto a individual salad plate. Set aside.

Using a chef’s knife, halve the remaining cabbage and remove the core; cut crosswise into thin shards. Roll the celery leaves cigar-style into small logs, cut them crosswise into thin shards as well; work in batches in necessary. 

Place the cabbage and celery leaves into a large bowl; toss to combine. Dress the mixture lightly with a couple tablespoons of the vinaigrette; set aside. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Prepare the mushrooms: Gently wipe the mushrooms clean with a soft towel to remove any grit and dirt. Use a paring knife to remove any unappetizing or damaged areas. Sweet tooth mushrooms are typically uniformly bite-sized, but other mushrooms may need to be cut into manageable pieces. Use your judgment. 

In a saucepan set over medium heat, warm the olive oil until it begins to shimmer. Add the mushrooms in as close to a single layer as possible and brown them on one side for about 1 minute. Once they begin to brown, toss the pan and cook 1 or 2 minutes (tossing occasionally) until slightly tender; season lightly with salt. Add the shallots and cook, tossing until the mushrooms are tender; about 2 to 3 more minutes, depending on size and water content. Scrape the mushroom mixture into the bowl with the dressed cabbage mixture; toss to combine.

Divide the salad between the 4 cabbage leaf “bowls”. Crumble the cotija cheese over the salads to taste. Season with plenty of black pepper. Serve at room temperature.