Saturday, March 22, 2014

Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with Chile and Lime

2:17 AM

Makes 6-8 servings


1 3/4 pounds sweet potatos (jewel or garnet, about 4 medium)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons mild ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 1/2 cups quinoa

2 3/4 cups water

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons cumin seed

3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced

leaves from a small bunch cilantro

juice of 1-2 limes

2 large (ripe but firm) avocados

4 ounces goat cheese (or feta, cotija, or queso fresco)

1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Scrub the sweet potatoes, trim away the ends, and cut them into 1" chunks. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, salt, chile powder and paprika, and toss to coat. Spread into a single layer, and roast, flipping the potatoes once or twice, until they are soft and golden in places, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a very fine mesh strainer and place the strainer in a bowl. Fill the bowl with enough cool water to cover the quinoa and soak for 5-10 minutes, swishing the quinoa occasionally with you fingers. Drain the quinoa well, and place it in a large saucepan with the water and salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender with a hint of bite, about 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff gently with a fork. Dump into a very large bowl.

Toast the cumin in a small, dry skillet over a medium flame, shaking the pan constantly until the cumin smells toasty, 1 minute. Let cool, then grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

When the sweet potatoes are done, add them to the bowl with the quinoa. Sprinkle the toasted, ground cumin over, drizzle with the olive oil, add the onion and cilantro and toss to combine. Add enough lime juice to give the quinoa some punch, and more salt if you feel it needs it. Serve the salad topped with avocado slices, crumbled goat cheese, and the pumpkin seeds, drizzling more lime juice and olive oil over the top just before serving.

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