Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Kale
I really love finding a recipe that is just as good on day 2 or 3 as it is on day one. Since I've been eating this salad every day this week, I'd say it fits the bill!! This salad is pack with so much fantastic-for-you foods, I don't feel the least bit bad (ok maybe a little lazy!) that it has made up the vast majority of my meals for the past 5 days! :)
I don't know about you, but I find it a little more difficult to eat salads as the weather gets colder. Sure, I'll have a salad for lunch or with dinner, but for some reason as the temperature drops, so does my ability to had a "main course" salad. In the summer I can eat a salad for dinner practically every night, especially those still super hot evenings when you wouldn't dream of turning on your stove or oven. This "winter" salad is great for eating all year long (and I will be!), but it's especially perfect for cool evenings when some lightly dressed greens just won't do.
This salad is definitely a meal in itself, as I have proved nearly every lunch and dinner this week, but also would be a welcome side dish to any fall meal. And, as I said before, you can feel great about giving yourself a big, heaping portion because of all the wonderful, healthy ingredients.
First, you've got sweet potatoes, which you roast up until they are tender. These really add some "meat" to this salad, plus they are a nutritional powerhouse packed with more vitamins than I can count.
Then, you've got chopped apples and red onion. You know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so make it easy on yourself and get your apple outtta the way in your salad!
This salad is extremely easy to throw together, but one very important thing is it slice the onions very very thin. No one wants a giant, spicy chunk of red onion in their perfect salad bite!
Oh and don't forget the kale and quinoa. Oh and the fact that the tangy dressing is made from a simple combination of extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Seriously, I think I might re-name this the "Superfood Salad." I'm fairly certain (as a result of recent research) that one could survive on this salad, red wine, and nothing else. Just sayin...
The trick in making this salad last you through the week - don't even think about halving this recipe, you will be so sorry when it's gone! - is to mix everything BUT the baby kale up and dress only the salad you are going to eat that day. If you have some dressed salad leftover though, keep it! It is still good because everything in the salad is so hearty it can stand up to a night in the fridge. Just toss with some fresh baby kale before you eat it next and it will be just as good as the day you made it.
It's a wonderful salad to take to work too, because it won't be all soggy and limp by noon. AND it'll keep you full all afternoon long. Until you can get home to the red wine, of course. ;)
Note: this salad would also be very delicious topped with a handful of these!
Recipe: Quinoa salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Kale
- 2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into chunks
- 2 granny smith apples, diced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
- 10 cups loosely packed kale
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place diced sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 40-50 minutes ,tossing frequently, until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Remove from heat and let cool.
- *Quinoa and sweet potatoes can be made a day ahead!
- Toss chopped apples in lemon juice and set aside.
- Whisk together the cider vinegar and olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
- In a very large salad bowl layer kale on the bottom. Top with sweet potatoes, apples (with lemon juice), onion, and quinoa. Drizzle on dressing and toss very well. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with roughly chopped cilantro, toss again, and serve.