This is the perfect salad for anyone that loves sweet. The deep roasted flavors of sweet potatoes and pears are exactly that. Together with quinoa, they make for rich and flavorful salad that is healthy, packed with protein and fiber — and one that offers the distinct seasonal flavor of fall.
For me, sweet potatoes are classic addition to any fall menu and as I was growing up they were an absolute must at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Albeit back then I despised them. And turnips. But I’ll never get over the turnips. I still can’t even walk into the same room as them. Cooked turnips that is. As for sweet potatoes, they are something I’ve had a fleeting love affair with over the years. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I don’t. They fall into that category of ” I need to be in the mood” and sometimes it just ain’t jiving. I think it has to do with their sweetness. At times it’s just too much of a good thing. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yes, this salad is sweet. Naturally sweet. But I guess I was in the mood. ;-)
Here in Germany, sweet potatoes are slowly making their way to mainstream. It didn’t used to be that way. They were hard to find. I used to search relentlessly for them in the “early years”. That was way back when I was making homemade dog food for “the best dog in the world” Chloe. My Rhodesian Ridgeback who also happened to have “the best personality in the world”. My world, of course. She had a sense of humor, and she smiled. I swear!
Here’s a little secret, dogs L O V E sweet potatoes! And yes, it does sound a little crazy that I used to cook for my dog. But…she had allergies. So it made sense. And, surprisingly enough it’s easy, cheaper and healthier. And best part, she and I both enjoyed it. :-)
Roasted Sweet Potato, Pear and Quinoa Salad
1 organic sweet potato, unpeeled and sliced into wedges (feel free to peel if you prefer)
1 large pear, halved, cored, each half cut into 4 wedges
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cups water (500 ml)
1 cup quinoa (200 g)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (50 g)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 handfuls baby arugula leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato and pears with a little olive oil and the thyme, plus a little salt and pepper. Bake in the oven on a baking tray lined with parchment paper for 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring the water to the boil, add the quinoa and cook for 20 minutes. Fluff with fork.
4. While the quinoa is cooking, toast the pumpkin seeds. Do so by dry frying them in small skillet until golden.
5. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl. Stir in the red wine vinegar and olive oil. Add the red onion, parsley, arugula, pears, and sweet potato, season with salt and pepper and garnish with the pumpkin seeds. Serve warm and enjoy!