I recently had a lunch date with my friend Melissa of Smells Like Brownies. As a long time vegetarian, I wanted her help to learn ways of using quinoa other than just as a substitute for rice. She suggested that we make this Quinoa salad, chock-full of roasted veggies with a balsamic dressing. I couldn't wait to try it! Roasted sweet potatoes and red onion, hearty kale, sweet and tangy apples - all the beautiful flavors of Fall.
Start by tossing sweet potato and red onion with olive, salt, and pepper and roasting in the oven until tender and caramelized.
Toss kale with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and roast until wilted. Roasting helps take the bitterness out of it.
The original recipe called for dried cranberries, but we decided to use Granny Smith apple instead. We decided to roast them for a few minutes with the vegetables to soften them a bit.
We decided to use red quinoa because the colors would be so pretty together.
This salad is delicious warm or cold. It is sweet and savory and incredibly filling. It can be used as a side, but constitutes a complete meal on its own with protein from the quinoa. The perfect dish for the season!
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale, Apple, and Red Onion
adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups torn kale leaves
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa (we used red)
2 cups water
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped (skin on is fine)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle sweet potatoes and red onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together and then place on a large baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
Drizzle kale with 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. When the sweet potatoes and onions have been in the oven for 15 minutes, put the kale in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until kale is wilted and starting to get a little crispy.
Add the apple to the sweet potatoes and onions during the last 5-10 minutes of roasting time.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the quinoa. Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
When the vegetables are done roasting, let them cool to room temperature. Chop up the red onion slices and kale into bite size pieces. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, sweet potatoes, red onion, and kale. Drizzle the salad with remaining three tbsp of balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.