Quinoa and pan browned sweet potatoes tossed with zesty red onions, fragrant cilantro and lime juice makes for a refreshing salad.
I love having a collection of salads that can also be served as meals, especially during the summertime. We often take family bike trips along the river and because I don’t generally do “sandwiches,” I turn to salads such as this one, that can be made in advance and served in single-serving containers. This is a perfect picnic food, even if that picnic is in your backyard. This salad can be served on its own as a well-balanced meal or add some grilled chicken drumsticks on the side for more protein.
The sweet potatoes are pan roasted with cumin and smoked paprika to perfection and everything is tossed together with fresh cilantro, zesty lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil. This salad would make a perfect food for all the potlucks that are looming ahead. Both the quinoa and sweet potatoes can be prepared days in advance, making it super convenient to pull everything together just as you are heading out the door. This lands somewhere between pasta salad and potato salad, with wild flavors.
Preparation of Quinoa
For maximum nutrition, it’s always best to soak all grains. In a glass or other non-reactive bowl, place rinsed quinoa and pour about 2-3 cups of filtered water and add 2 tablespoons of yogurt, kefir, kombucha or even apple cider vinegar. Soaking quinoa assures you get the maximum benefits without the phytic acid, which can be harsh on the gut. Cover and place in the warmest place in your kitchen for 12-24 hours. You can take it a step further and sprout quinoa according to these directions.
After soaking period, rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve under running water until it runs clear. Be sure to rinse well to wash off the acidic medium, otherwise it will be bitter. Add quinoa and a teaspoon of sea salt to a medium sized pot and pour about 2 cups of water or bone broth. I sneak in nutrients whenever I can so I almost always cook my grains in bone broth but water is fine if you don’t have broth on hand. Bring to a boil, turn down to low, cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Take off heat and allow to completely cool before adding all ingredients.
Quinoa and Pan Browned Sweet Potato Salad
- Prepare quinoa according to package instructions or for more nutrition per instructions above.
- Peel sweet potato and chop into small cubes. Heat avocado oil on medium heat in a cast iron skillet, add cubed potatoes, season with smoked paprika and cumin, and turn to coat thoroughly. Cover pan, turn heat to medium-low and cook until sweet potatoes are tender and browned, about 15 minutes, making sure to stir every few minutes. When done cooking, take off heat and allow to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, combine quinoa, sweet potatoes, cilantro, red onions, salt, lime juice and olive oil. Toss everything well. Enjoy! Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.