What We're Eating Wednesday: Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Kale Salad

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There's nothing quite like a warm, hearty (and healthy) salad on a crisp fall day. I make different variations of this salad often and it is definitely a crowd-pleaser. You can swap out ingredients for the picky eaters in your family or add your favorite protein to make it a meal.

Here's some of the ingredient swaps I've tried:
  • Don't have/like kale? Substitute spinach or even shaved brussels sprouts.
  • Not a sweet potato fan? Try some squash.
  • Can't find pomegranate arils? Use dried cranberries.
  • You can also cook the red onion if you're not a fan of raw onion.
  • Want to make this a meal? Salmon pairs really well with these flavors, but you can throw in any simply cooked meat or meat substitute.


WARM QUINOA, SWEET POTATO & KALE SALAD

INGREDIENTS
1/2T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium/large sweet potato, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1T pure maple syrup (the good stuff - no Aunt Jemima here!)
3 packed cups kale, stems removed, chopped
3 cups cooked quinoa or 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup fresh pomegranate arils

Dressing
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from about 1-2 oranges)
1T extra virgin olive oil
freshly cracked pepper
sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS
  • If you aren't using pre-rinsed quinoa, place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least 2 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a saucepan and follow directions on package. (This will make a little bit more cooked quinoa than what you will need for the salad).
  • Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add sweet potatoes and paprika. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Stir to cover the sweet potatoes with the spice. Cook on medium heat until brown on the outside and soft on the inside, about 10 minutes. When they are almost ready, stir in maple syrup and finish cooking.
  • Add kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  • Add 3 cups of cooked quinoa, stir and cook until warm.
  • Turn off the heat and add onion and pomegranate.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice and olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Drizzle over warm salad, toss and serve immediately.
NOTES
  • If making this salad ahead, add the dressing at the last minute. 
  • This salad is excellent left over. Make a little extra dressing if you're planning on this as the quinoa will soak up a lot of the moisture in the fridge.

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