Last night I returned home from a wonderful (and stormy) trip to Iowa. My first two evenings were spent in my sister’s basement in response to the tornado warnings. How quickly I forgot what real wind and rainstorms are like after living only a year in the placid southern California climate.
A long visit allowed me to see my niece Charlotte turn one, my other new baby niece Evy, along with other missed family. It was a lovely vacation.
I can’t get enough of this salad and made it once for dinner around my sister and brother-in-law’s table. We all enjoyed it ages 1-31 (yes, that’s me on the upper end of the spectrum). My husband Klint and I absolutely love dipping blue corn chips into this nutrient packed salad.
So refreshing, yet satisfying, on a warm sunny day. Great for summer potlucks or keeping in your fridge to nibble on a few days. I like topping mine over some fresh baby greens with a little salsa and roasted red pepper hummus. Please don’t skip the avocados, not only are they deliciously rich and tasty but packed with healthy fat and fiber. One of the most well loved salads I’ve taken to events or made for dinner parties. Add any vegetable you’re fond of.
SOUTHWEST SWEET POTATO QUINOA SALAD
gluten & dairy free
• 1 cup QUINOA, rinsed & drained
• 1 3/4 cup VEGETABLE BROTH, LOW SODIUM (or water)*
• 1 medium SWEET POTATO, peeled & chopped
• 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• 1 medium RED ONION, coarsely chopped
• 2 small ZUCCHINI, chopped
• 1 large GREEN or RED BELL PEPPER, chopped
• 2 cups CORN, FROZEN OR FRESH, cooked & cooled
• 2 AVOCADO, chopped
• 1 MANGO, peeled, cored, chopped
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
• 2 LIMES, juiced
• 2-3 cloves GARLIC, minced (or 3/4 tsp garlic powder)
• 1 tsp CHILI POWDER
• 1 tbsp CUMIN, GROUND
• 1 tbsp PURE HONEY
• 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• 1/2 tsp CRUSHED RED PEPPER (optional or to taste)
• 1/2 cup FRESH CILANTRO, chopped
*Gluten free option: Use GF vegetable broth or water.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer and drain. Mix quinoa with vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, cover and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 additional minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
3. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place chopped zucchini, green pepper, sweet potato and onion on prepare baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 T. olive oil, salt and pepper; bake for 20-25 degrees or until vegetables are cooked through and starting to caramelize (add corn last 5 minutes of cooking time).
4. In a large glass bowl whisk together dressing: 1 T. olive oil, juice from 2 limes, 1 T. honey, 1 T. cumin, 2-3 grated garlic cloves, 1 t. chili powder, red pepper flake if using, salt and pepper. Combine warm cooked quinoa and vegetables with the dressing. Toss gently to coat well. Refrigerate until serving (overnight or all day). Add chopped avocados, mango and fresh cilantro before serving. Serve chilled. Makes about 10 cups, serving size about 1 cup salad.
VARITAIONS: Top with grilled shrimp or chicken. Add mixed baby greens or spinach after chilling.
NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 220 calories, 10g fat, 1g sat fat, 31g carb, 6g fiber, 10g sugar, 5g protein