This roasted sweet potato quinoa salad is filling, fresh and simply delicious. It’s nourishing, sweet, crunchy and tangy combination of fluffy quinoa, tender roasted sweet potatoes, peppery arugula, fresh cilantro, crunchy seeds and deliciously sweet-sour pomegranate tossed in a brightly flavored citrus-honey dressing.
Organic is the best choice for sweet potatoes
Roasting has got to be the easiest way to cook about anything. Sweet potatoes are no exception, they roast beautifully. Now I like to season my sweet potatoes quite aggressively with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, but you can add as much or as little as you want. The one thing I definitely recommend, is to buy organic sweet potatoes. Trust me, you’ll thank me. Whenever possible I try to buy organic, but this is one of the vegetables I ALWAYS buy organic.
A few years ago I did a taste test between some imported high carbon footprint non-organic taters flown in from a far away continent and organic ones grown in nearby Italy. Incomparable. Organic sweet potatoes just taste better. They are less watery and have more depth of flavor. Plus if you purchase organic, you can eat the whole thing since you don’t have to worry about peeling off the skin where pesticides reside. But, for this recipe, I’m going for a velvety texture, so I’ve peeled them.
A roasted sweet potato quinoa salad is packed with goodness
This is a super healthy and perfectly light all-in-one salad that tastes amazing and is packed with pure goodness. Quinoa is one of my go-to grains (which is actually a seed!). I love it. It’s a complete protein making it perfect for vegetarians and it’s delicious slightly nutty flavor goes with absolutely everything. Together with beta-carotene rich and fibre packed sweet potatoes – yes, surprise, they have twice the fibre as regular potatoes – this salad and it’s fantastic array of flavors and textures is filled with loads of essential vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy and feeling energized!
Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with Arugula
For the salad:
- 1 cup quinoa (200 g)
- 2 medium organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (600 g)
- 1 tablespoon or more extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 50 g young arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed
- 2 tablespoons mixed seeds (such as pine nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds), lightly toasted
- seeds from half a pomegranate
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (alternatively use lemon juice)
- 1 teaspoon honey, more if you prefer a sweeter dressing
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Rinse the uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place in a medium saucepan and cook according to package instructions, in double the amount of water for about 20 minutes. Once most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy, remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and let stand for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a large salad bowl to further cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the sweet potato on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, toss to coat, and spread out in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Slide the tray in the preheated oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes (depending on size of pieces), tossing them once halfway through, until everything is soft and a little crisp at the edges.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until well combined.
- Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa, add the arugula and cilantro and toss until well combined. Gently fold in roasted sweet potatoes, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and toasted seeds, serve and enjoy!
- When roasting vegetables they tend to shrink a little, so cut the sweet potatoes into 2 – 2,5 cm pieces.
- Be sure to spread the sweet potatoes out evenly on the pan before putting them in the oven. If they are overlapping or too close together they will steam rather than roast.
- This salad is great served while the sweet potato is warm, but it also tastes great at room temperature. You might even find yourself enjoying it so much that you eat for lunch and dinner!
- Make it vegan: skip the honey and use maple syrup instead.
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