Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad is a delicious hearty salad with wonderful contrasts of sweet-tang, soft-crunch and pastel-bold. A feast for the palate and eyes.
I recently attended a dinner and fund raiser at the Mosaic Institute that paid tribute to an outstanding Canadian, the Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair who was recognized for promoting peace and reconciliation. The evening was truly inspiring.
The food was catered by Oliver and Bonacini. I loved the multi-layered salad and decided to create my own version. The salad has a lot going on with its many colors, textures and tastes. The goat cheese adds a creamy, tangy taste. The nuts add a crunch. And the cranberries and dressing add tang and sweetness 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.
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.
Tailor To Your Taste
- I used Quinoa, but any grain will do.
- Yams can be substituted for sweet potatoes.
- You can use toasted walnuts, pecans or pumpkins seeds (pepitas) or any other nuts you have on hand.
- 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.
Make Ahead Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad
- The recipe can be made ahead and assembled. Just drizzle on the dressing right before serving.
Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad
- 2 sweet potatoes or yams
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
- 1 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Maple syrup
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 tbsp 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.
- 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.
Other salads you might like: