Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is a tiny seed that’s made the big time, and for good reason. It’s gluten-free, loaded with nutrients, and is considered a complete protein. It also makes a great picnic or party salad, like this one with roasted sweet potatoes! (Recipe adapted from Earthly Choice Quinoa.) Quinoa itself is pretty bland, so it really benefits from a seasoned vinaigrette and other flavor-helpers. Double the recipe for a crowd, or for lunches and leftovers.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 1 cup white or tri-color quinoa, rinsed in a sieve
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds or pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the quinoa and 2 cups water into a small saucepan; bring to boil, then simmer covered for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let the quinoa sit covered in the pan.
Place sweet potato cubes onto a baking sheet; drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Bake for about 25 minutes. (You should be able to pierce the cubes easily with a fork.)
Place the slivered almonds or pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat and stir/toss until lightly toasted. Set aside.
To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, remaining salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon.
Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and fluff with a whisk. (Can be the same whisk that you used for the dressing.) Add half of the dressing to the quinoa and mix with the whisk; add more to taste. Add the sweet potatoes, almonds or pine nuts, cranberries and scallions and mix gently with a spoon or spatula. Serve at room temperature. (But also good cold.)
Recipe can be doubled. Covered and refrigerated, will keep for several days.