What is a winter salad? It’s the dish perfect for when you want the freshness of spring but the chilly temperatures still make you longs for comfort food. This Warm Quinoa Salad will satisfy those longings on a cold day.
As we enter the “spring territory” with the daylight savings, our brains switch to warm, green, fresh. But what happens more often than not is that we are still stuck in the thick of winter with its chilly temperatures and snow. To make a compromise for these conflicting desires, try Warm Quinoa Salad. Warmth of quinoa and sweet potatoes and green freshness of kale are truly the opposites that bring peace and comfort to my salad loving soul on this chilly day.
To make this salad, you will need just 4 ingredients (no counting the spices you want to add or the dressing)
You can prep the ingredients ahead and keep them separately in your fridge until you are ready to assemble and eat your Warm Quinoa Winter Salad.
Warm Quinoa Winter Salad
- 1 cup of Quinoa
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 2-3 branches of curly kale
- A pinch of something crunchy (optional) NOTE: I used raw pumpkin seeds, but you can try roasted sunflower seeds, walnuts, cranberries, pomegranate, etc.
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
1.Preheat oven to 400F. Peal and cube sweet potatoes. Your cubes should be about 1-1,5 inch big. Toss them with a teaspoon of olive oil, or if you are trying to avoid oil, use spray oil to cover the potatoes very lightly. Add a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Toss again. Spread the cubed potatoes evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20-30 minutes (or until fork tender) turning once.
While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare Quinoa.
2. Rinse quinoa really well to make sure to remove the bitter-tasting saponins. Cook according to your package instructions. The rule of thumb is to use water-quinoa proportion 2:1. So for my 1 cup I’ll need 2 cups of water. Some recommend adding broth or bullion cube to quinoa while making it. I prefer to add just salt and maybe a dash of garlic powder. The water should be mostly absorbed by the time quinoa is done, so all you have to do in the end is fluff it with a spoon.
3. Wash and cut your curly kale, removing the ribs. Chop coarsely into small pieces. Set aside.
4. Once quinoa is done, you may place chopped kale into the pot and close the lid. Placing it on top of warm quinoa will help it wilt just a little bit and not be so “chewy” in your salad.
5. While kale is wilting with quinoa, take out your sweet potatoes and let them cool off just a little. You may move them onto a plate to cool more.
Mix your salad
6. Set up a big bowl for your salad to mix. Carefully dump quinoa and kale. Then slowly add sweet potatoes and mix gently.
7. If you desire, you may add cheese crumbles, like feta or goat cheese. Totally optional. For an additional crunch, you may want to add some nuts or seeds. I added some raw pumpkin seeds, and It was a perfect flavor add-on!!
9. My dressing for this warm quinoa salad is quite simple. It’s a squeeze of half a lemon and a very light drizzle of olive oil. And I mean VERY light. I don’t like wet salads. Mix everything well.
10. If you’d like to make a meal out of it, add protein. On the second day, I added cooked leftover chicken breast, and it was a filing and still delicious!
Serve when warm and enjoy. Or serve cold and enjoy maybe even more.
I hope you enjoyed this simple recipe for Warm Quinoa Salad. You can make it under 1 hour and enjoy for a few days. It’s perfect for when you have tons of quinoa leftover and don’t know what to do with it! Make this simple delicious winter salad to solve that problem and then some!