I love sweet potatoes any time of the year, really. But I find myself always preparing them in the same way, adding even more sweetness to the already sweet potato! So for this sweet potato salad, are you ready to spice things up?
These sweet potatoes are roasted in a spicy Thai vinaigrette and tossed with some baby spinach, toasted coconut quinoa, scallions & cilantro. Dress this salad with a little more Thai vinaigrette and serve it with some tangy lime wedges. You have a unique salad with the perfect amount of heat and sweet!
Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, B & C vitamins and iron. Plus, they just taste really good! Even better when roasted with spice! I feel spinach, on the other hand gets a bad rap. It’s one veggie that I really enjoy. It’s also a great source of vitamins, minerals and iron. And I use it often as the base greens in my salads. Here again, I’m using baby spinach as the star green. And it is just perfect drizzled in spicy dressing and nestled in between these beautiful sweet and spicy potatoes.
Quinoa is a funny little grain to me. It’s very high in fiber and protein, so it’s good for you. But it doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own. When I prepare it, I usually like to add spice to the pot of water, just to jazz it up. But in this potato salad recipe, I toasted the quinoa in a dry pan first and then simmered it in coconut water. It’s so delicious all on it’s own! I have no affiliation with the brands pictured, it’s just what I picked up at the market. The vinaigrette is a simple concoction of vegetable oil,Thai spice and chile paste, brown sugar and lime.
This salad can be a hearty vegetarian meal or a delicious side dish, you decide!
I like to dress the spinach and toss it with the quinoa. That way those tiny little grains have something to cling to. Pile on your sweet potatoes, chopped cilantro and scallions and then hit it with a squeeze of fresh lime! Serve some extra dressing on the side.
This is a great salad to play around with. And here are some ideas on how to MAKE IT YOUR OWN:
- I used sweet potatoes for the contrast of sweet and spicy. Purple potatoes would keep this colorful. But you can also swap out the potatoes for carrots, pumpkin or squash.
- If you want to use regular potatoes, then try using a colorful quinoa like red or black. Black has a slightly sweeter taste.
- I added scallions for the finish to give a fresh, tangy bite. But you can certainly used some diced red onion. Or you can even roast some onions with the potatoes.
- Play with the flavor of the quinoa. Add some spice to the pan when you toast the quinoa (chili powder, curry, Moroccan spices, etc). Those flavors will be absorbed by the quinoa as it cooks.
- You can also add citrus or spice to the water as you cook the quinoa. Or simmer it in other liquids like stocks, vegetable broth or juices.
- I sprinkled this salad with a partially dried cilantro. But fresh cilantro or parsley would work even better!
- I love spinach. But if you don’t, swap it out for your favorite green.
- Of course, the vinaigrette that you use really drives the flavor for this salad. It doesn’t have to be Thai. How about a Southwestern version with pinch of chili powder in the quinoa and toss in some black beans. Or Moroccan spiced quinoa, Harissa vinaigrette and some added chickpeas. Or good old American sweet potatoes with balsamic vinaigrette, apple cider quinoa, pecans and bacon? You get the drift!
- FOR THE SALAD:
- 2 pounds of sweet potato chunks
- 10 ounces of fresh spinach (roughly 4 cups)
- 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups of coconut water
- ¼ cup of sliced scallions
- fresh or partially dried cilantro for garnishing if desired (I used Gourmet Garden)
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 3 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons of fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of Thai spice paste (I used Gourmet Garden)
- ½ teaspoon of chili paste
- pinch of salt to taste
- lime wedges to serve
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the sweet potato chunks evenly on the baking sheet.
- Whisk all of the vinaigrette/dressing ingredients together.
- Spoon 2 Tablespoons of the dressing over the sweet potatoes and toss.
- Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Roast the potatoes for 35-40 minutes until tender and browned, flipping once or twice during the roasting process
- Meanwhile, toss the dry quinoa in a non stick frying pan over high heat and toast, stirring constantly for a minute or two until the quinoa becomes golden and starts to pop.
- Place the toasted quinoa in a pot and add the 2 cups of coconut water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
- Take the quinoa off the heat and cool.
- Lightly dress the spinach with some vinaigrette.
- Toss the spinach with about 1 cup of quinoa and the scallions and cilantro if using.
- Top with sweet potatoes.
- Sprinkle with extra quinoa and serve with extra vinaigrette and lime wedges on the side.
All of my salads and dressings are just a starting place for your imagination. So feel free to add or swap ingredients and do what works for you!