Quinoa sweet potato salad is a delicious hearty salad with wonderful contrasts of sweet-tang, soft-crunch and pastel-bold. Definitely company-worthy.
Packed with interesting, yummy ingredients and textures, it’s a feast for the palate and eyes.
The idea came from a dish I ate at a recent fund raising event. The food was catered by Oliver and Bonacini. I loved the multi-layered salad and decided to create my own version.
This quinoa and sweet potato salad is hearty enough to be served as a main dish, perhaps for lunch with a crusty bread. Or as a first course or a side.
Ingredient notes – Tailor to your taste
The salad has a lot going on with its many colors, textures and tastes. Feel free to add your own twist with a few variations and substitutions.
- Sweet potatoes: Yams would be fine too.
- Quinoa: This can be substituted with other grains like a nutty, chewy farro.
- Cheese: The goat cheese adds a creamy, tangy taste. Try feta (stronger) or ricotta (milder) if you prefer.
- Nuts: The cashews add a crunch. Other options are toasted walnuts, pecans or pumpkins seeds (pepitas) or anything really.
- Dried fruit: The cranberries add tang and sweetness. Dried apricots or raisins would work well too.
- Dressing: The dressing is one of my all time favorites – rich and complex and easy to make. I used the Maple Balsamic dressing created by Ricardo with just a small tweak. If you have another favorite, go for it.
- Instead of roasting the sweet potatoes, microwave them until fully tender (4-6 minutes depending on size). Peel and cut them into small cubes, then drizzle with 1-2 tsp oil. Sprinkle on sugar (or maple syrup) and salt and toss.
- The recipe can be made ahead and assembled. Just drizzle on the dressing right before serving.
Other hearty salads you might like
- broccoli and cauliflower salad with avocado dressing
- butternut squash salad with warm cinnamon dressing
- party salad with grilled vegetables and quinoa
Salad with Sweet Potato and Quinoa
- 2 sweet potatoes or yams
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
- 1 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoon oil (canola or olive)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cup greens (baby spinach, spring lettuce, Mesclun)
- 2 ounces goat cheese (60 grams or 1/4 cup crumbled)
- roasted or candied nuts or seeds; dried cranberries; and/or roasted beets cut in cubes
- Preheat oven to 425F/218C.
- MAKE THE ROASTED SWEET POTATOES: Pierce sweet potatoes with a knife. Microwave for 3 minutes. Stand up each yam on a cutting board, peel with a knife, then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place on a foil lined pan. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt. Roast, stirring half way through for 15-20 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Set aside. Note 1
- MAKE THE QUINOA: Place the rinsed Quinoa in a medium pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil. Set heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes covered, then fluff with a fork. Cool.
- MAKE THE DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together the first 5 dressing ingredients. Slowly add the oil while whisking until smoothly blended. Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon salt should be about right).
- BUILD THE SALAD: (on individual salad plates or on one larger shallow bowl): Spread about 1/2 cup per person of Quinoa on the bottom. Drizzle a little dressing on the Quinoa. Add a layer of greens. Sprinkle on crumbled goat cheese. Add the garnishes you are using. Drizzle more of the Maple-Balsamic dressing over the salad – you may not need it all.
- Shortcut sweet potatoes: Microwave until soft (4-5 minutes depending on size).Peel, cut into small cubes, drizzle with 1-2 tsp oil, sprinkle on sugar (or maple syrup) and salt. Toss.
- Make Ahead: Make all components. Assemble. Drizzle final dressing just before serving.