Thursday, June 16, 2011

A salad that makes the heart smile - Quinoa salad

Quinoa, sweet potato, and feta salad

I make quinoa salad about once a week. Not only is it delicious and nutritious, it's also incredibly easy to make. The best part — because I use whatever veggies and herbs happen to be on hand — is that it's a different salad every time! It's so simple it could even be mixed together with a batch of quinoa (brown rice is great, too!), some chopped carrots and bell peppers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Toss in some lemon, lime, Dijon mustard, or a great big handful of freshly chopped herbs to add some zip to the one-bowl wonder. Here's how I made my salad tonight...

Roasted sweet potato wedges like these cook in no time. After washing and peeling a medium-sized sweet potato, I cut it lengthwise in half — once to make two half circles, and again to make four wedges. I lined up the four wedges and cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices. Next, I mixed the the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, minced garlic (one clove), a pinch of sea salt, and a much bigger pinch of freshly-ground black pepper.

For easy cleanup, I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. I arranged the sweet potatoes in a single layer and baked them at 400° F (200° C) for 15 minutes. The high heat allows the outside of the wedges to beautifully caramelize while keeping the inside al dente. You want the sweet potato wedges to be chewy like cooked pasta, and not so soft that they fall apart in the salad.

Quinoa is wonderful because it's full of fiber (unlike white rice), and it cooks in about 15 minutes (unlike brown rice). After rinsing 1/2 cup of quinoa, I simmered it with 1 cup of water (be sure to follow package directions). After 10 minutes, I turned the heat off and let the quinoa sit for another 5 before fluffing it with a fork.

Quinoa, sweet potato, and feta salad
Serves myself, today and tomorrow

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced

2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup corn
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dried quinoa)
1 sweet potato, roasted
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped spinach
1 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

In large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Add in the remaining ingredients, toss, photograph, upload to twitter, and serve! And if there's any left over, it's great in a wrap the next day.

All photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

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