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This is one square meal loaded with healthy fall flavors.  Rich, maple roasted sweet potatoes tossed with protein packed, fluffy quinoa and colorful green Swiss chard…. I could go on and on here, but I’ll stop.  You get the point that it’s delicious. The apple chicken sausage and juicy chopped pear kick this dish up a few extra notches. It’s like no other salad you’ve tasted.

Feel free to use regular, lean chicken or turkey sausage and a chopped apple for the pear.  The maple, apple cider vinegar dressing brings the whole plate together.  For the most flavor let salad refrigerate for a few hours or entire day before eating.  Try topping with toasted, chopped pecans or walnuts for crunch.

Just looking at it makes me swoon!  Enjoy with gluten-free options below. Don’t forget the new handy, printer friendly recipe link at the end.

MAPLE ROASTED SWEET POTATO QUINOA SALAD with APPLE CHICKEN SAUSAGE

serves 6-8 (as a main dish)

Quinoa:

  • 1 cup QUINOA, rinsed
  • 2 cup CHICKEN BROTH, LOWER SODIUM*

Salad:

  • 1 large SWEET POTATO, peeled & chopped, (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 2 tsp MAPLE SYRUP, 100% PURE
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 1/2 medium RED ONION, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups SWISS CHARD, chopped (kale, baby arugula or spinach)
  • 4 LEAN CHICKEN & APPLE SAUSAGE LINKS, sliced, fully cooked*
  • 1 large PEAR, BARTLETT or BOSC, peeled & chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup APPLE CIDER VINEGAR*
  • 2 tsp MUSTARD, DIJON*
  • 2 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 3 cloves GARLIC, minced
  • 2 tbsp MAPLE SYRUP, 100% PURE (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tsp THYME, DRIED

Gluten-free options: Make sure the * ingredients you use are gluten-free.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss chopped sweet potato with 1 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp maple syrup, sea salt and pepper on the prepared baking pan. Roast in the oven for 15-17 minutes (flip half way through) or until tender and caramelized.

2. Cook 1 cup rinsed quinoa in 2 cups chicken broth according to package directions.

3. While potatoes and quinoa cook, make the dressing. In a large glass bowl whisk together 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 T. pure maple syrup, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 T. olive oil, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 t. dried thyme, sea salt and pepper to taste.

4. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork. Add warm quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, 5-6 cups chopped Swiss chard (or your choice green), red onion to the dressing. Toss to coat well (may stop here or continue on to steps 5 & 6).remember to cut out the fibrous, red middle stem before chopping.

5. Sauté sliced chicken sausage links in a large skillet sprayed liberally with cooking spray, for 5-6 minutes until start to brown. Add to quinoa. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

6. Add chopped pear before serving. Serve warm or chilled. Serves 6-8. About 1 1/2 cup main dish serving size for 6.

VARIATIONS: Add chopped apple for the pear or top with toasted chopped pecans or walnuts for crunch.  Top with some crumbled feta cheese for an added tangy, creamy taste.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (as 6 main dish servings): 350 calories, 15g fat, 3.5g sat fat, 65mg cholesterol, 43g carb, 5g fiber, 14g sugar, 14g protein

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