Monday, December 16, 2013

Meatless Monday: A New Take on Salad (Sweet Potato, Apple and Greens Quinoa Salad)

Do you want to incorporate more veggies and greens into your diet but are bored with the typical salad?  If so, I have a wonderful recipe to share with you!

I made this for our family a few nights ago and we devoured it!  This would function as a meal by itself, even without meat (which is why I titled this a "Meatless Monday" recipe.) But, we had just bought a rotisserie chicken the previous day and I needed to use it up.  So, we tossed some of that in as well.  If you are worried about this meal having enough protein, don't be too concerned about that.   Quinoa alone is a great source of protein:  one cup of it, cooked, has 8.14 grams of protein.  Here are some other nutrients in one cup of cooked quinoa:

  • 39.41 mg carbohydrates
  • 31 mg calcium
  • 2.76 mg iron
  • 318 mg potassium
  • 13 mg sodium
  • 2.02 mg zinc

Part of the reason this meal was SO DELICIOUS can be attributed to the dressing.  I love a good maple balsamic dressing, and this recipe I am sharing below is just perfect.  Why buy a bottle of salad dressing that likely has a ton of ingredients, many that you would never keep in a normal kitchen when you can easily make a tastier dressing?  I can't think of a good reason.

  • 2/3-1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 large sweet potatoes cut into small cubes or slices
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 large apples – i prefer honeycrisp in my salad! sweet and mixes well with the other flavors
  • 7-8 cups of greens – I used the a “power greens” salad mix from central market organics since we had some, but you could use any variety of greens: kale, spinach, romaine, arugula, etc.
  • (optional) rotisserie chicken, cut into bite-sized pizza
Maple Balsamic Dressing:
Place the following ingredients in your salad dressing container and shake or mix well.
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Begin cooking the quinoa. I usually put one cup of rinsed, uncooked quinoa with 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once it begins boiling, I reduce the heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, place the cubed or sliced sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top and sea salt to season—stir well.
3. Bake in one of the top racks of the oven for 22-23 minutes until crispy
4. Mix the quinoa, potatoes, apples, greens, and the dressing in a large mixing bowl. I used a container with a lid, and simply shook the container to mix the ingredients and thoroughly coat them in the yummy dressing.

I admit, perhaps it doesn't look as appetizing as it tastes.  But believe me--you have to try this if you have a sweet tooth like I do!  SO tasty!

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