For the past month, I’ve been studying for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Wines. I’ve geeked out over improving my tasting and pairing skills and now feel even more comfortable (and very excited!) amongst the wine bottles. After five weeks of intense studying, I want to spend way too long and spend way too much in wine stores. Instead, I’ve done my best to put my energy into preparing healthy and energizing plant-based meals to fuel my brain for the exam. Thank you, self restraint, for this roasted sweet potato quinoa salad.
I won’t get results back from my WSET exam for 6-8 weeks because the tests have to go by courier to London for official grading. How fancy, right? While I anxiously twiddle my thumbs in anticipation, I’m already scouring the internet for the next deep dive into wine that I can find. Should I take a French Wine Scholar Class or sign up for the Diploma program for WSET next fall? The possibilities for studying wine are endless. Wine is one of the first subjects where I feel the endless emergence of new things to learn everyday. The more I think I know, the less I actually do, and I love that challenge. My perspective keeps broadening and putting my depth of knowledge in check. Have I mastered grape varietals? What about the genetics? Do I understand this particular region of France? Maybe, but do I know it by individual producer? And then, how each producer’s yearly vintages change? You get my point. Challenge accepted, wine world. But enough about wine, back to the brain-feeding roasted sweet potato quinoa salad.
what are the ingredients in sweet potato quinoa salad?
This recipe is all kinds of healthy. It has roasted sweet potatoes with fiber and vitamins, quinoa for protein, fresh kale with powerful antioxidants, and salty sunflower seeds for texture, essential oils, and protein. You can eat it as a main dish, serve it as a side, or throw it on top of a salad for a green feast.
This meal is an excellent fall or winter side dish. It’s simultaneously hearty and refreshing with a parsley lemon sauce keeping things balanced. So when you’re tired of all of the heavy duty holiday foods, make a batch of this and listen to your body thanking you.
If you’re interested in making other vegan side dishes, check out these balsamic-glazed brussels sprouts, vegan mushroom risotto, or garlic mashed potatoes. If you make this sweet potato quinoa salad, let me know what you think by leaving a comment and rating the recipe or taking a picture and tagging it #plantandvine on Instagram.
sweet potato quinoa salad and wine pairings
This recipe contains up earthy, acidic, and herby flavors and which opens the door to lots of different wine pairing options. Here are some options to get you started:
- Sauvignon Blanc: this wine i can handle the herbaceous profile of the fresh parsley, basil and lemon dressing while serving up its own refreshing acidity to balance the roasted sweet potatoes.
- Suggested Regions: Marlborough, New Zealand
- Riesling: another wine with enough acidity to contrast the weight of the salad and support the zippiness of the dressing. Riesling often has a little residual sugar which is hidden by the acidity but plays seamlessly into your sweet potatoes.
- Suggested Regions: Mosel or Rheingau, Germany
- Picpoul: if you want to go off the beaten path and try some new grapes, go for a Picpoul de Pinet. Picpoul roughly means “lip stinger,” a playful nickname based on its high acidity.
- Suggested Regions: Pinet, Languedoc, France
If you’re interested in learning more about food and wine pairing, check out my wine pairing guide. If you have a bottle of wine ready to go and are curious about decanting it, check out the best wine decanters and how-to guide.
Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad
Roasted sweet potato quinoa salad – delicious as a side dish, main dish, or salad topping.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 5 servings
- Category: American, Vegan, Side, Salad
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American, Vegan, Healthy
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced (about 1/2″ pieces)
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups curly kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, firmly packed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.
- Put chopped sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet and toss them with olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, quickly toss, and bake for additional 10 to 15 minutes, until browning. Set aside to cool.
- While potatoes are cooking, prepare the quinoa. Combine the rinsed quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan. I recommend following the liquid:quinoa ratio as recommended on the quinoa’s packaging. This recipe includes a suggested amount of broth but I would default to the package suggestions. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid, about 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool.
- For the vinaigrette, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired texture is reached. I like my dressing smooth in texture.
- Put chopped kale to a large serving bowl (this is the bowl where you will combine everything so that should help you estimate size). Sprinkle with a generous dash of salt and use your hands to massage the kale. This helps break down the rough fiber of the kale and makes it easier to eat. Gently squeeze kale until the kale is darker in color and it becomes fragrant (about 15 seconds).
- Add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, and sliced basil to the bowl. Drizzle with about 1/3 cup dressing and gently toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated. Taste and mix in more dressing if desired. I ended up using about 2/3 of the dressing.
- When ready to serve, top with sunflower seeds. I like keeping the sunflower seeds separate until serving to help preserve maximum crunchy texture.
- Serve the salad at room temperature or cold.
- Store leftovers in covered container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*Recipe is a guide. Adapt as desired. Adapted from Cookie and Kate.
Keywords: roasted sweet potato quinoa salad, vegan sweet potato quinoa salad, roasted sweet potato