It’s summer, but sweet potatoes are a dream pairing for a quinoa salad. Harvested after a long, warm growing season, sweet potatoes are associated with fall and Thanksgiving here in the United States. But in the tropics, sweet potatoes are a year-round staple, a cultivated crop as ancient as quinoa.
In this combo, the soft sweetness of sweet potato harmonizes with quinoa’s gentle crunch, and sweet red peppers and parsley (or basil, or mint) add freshness. And for me, everything is better with feta.
This is versatile summer cooking – a grain salad that is satisfying warm or cold, alongside anything off the grill, over a bed of fresh or cooked greens, or simply spooned out of a big bowl. Cook it once, eat it over a few days. And relax, because it’s August.
Before I get to the recipe, the results of my blogiversary giveaway:
- Winner 1: Commenter #24 – Patricia
- Winner 2: Commenter #9 – Gaill
- Winner 3: Commenter #6 – Barbara
I’m sending one trio of St Dalfour preserves to New York, one copy of Mother Daughter Me to the Pacific Northwest, and one pretty bracelet to Florida. I love feeling like Santa Claus! Thanks to all for entering. I treasure each of your comments and have responded to every one.
This recipe by Mark Bittman had everything I wanted in a quinoa salad, though I roasted the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them.
Quinoa cooks up just like rice, easy and fluffy.
Add diced red pepper and the roasted sweet potatoes.
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and some diced onion. I soak the onion in water first to take away some of the bite.
Feta and herbs last. If you are making ahead, you can make the salad first and add cheese and herbs before serving.
I made a double batch for a big family party.
And lived happily ever after on the leftovers.
I like using quinoa these days as a gluten-free option. For those of you new to quinoa (keen-wah), I have some more details on quinoa preparation in this quinoa arugula salad post. And I also have a quinoa with roasted vegetables recipe featuring classic summer vegetables.
Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Red Peppers and Feta
A happy combination of two ancient crops, soft sweet potato and crunchy quinoa, that goes well with anything grilled or makes a substantial vegetarian dish on its own. Adapted from the ever-reliable Mark Bittman.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (about 2 1/2 cups cooked)
- 1 pound sweet potatoes
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2-4 tablespoons minced onion or shallot
- 1/4-1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (or chives, basil, or mint)
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
- Olive oil, salt and pepper for roasting sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch dice. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until fork tender.
- While sweet potatoes cook, rinse quinoa in a mesh colander for a two or three minutes under running water. Place drained quinoa in medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to boil and turn to a very low simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Mince onion and red pepper. Chop herbs. Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add sweet potatoes, red pepper, onion and dressing to quinoa and mix well. Adjust seasonings as needed. Before serving, add feta and herbs and mix gently.
Makes 4-6 servings.
- For a vegan version, omit feta.
- To reduce the raw onion bite: soak chopped onions in cold water first.
- Sweet potato cooking alternative: Bittman boils the diced sweet potatoes (15 minutes, covered, in salted water).
- Bittman’s Southwestern variation: Add 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced, to the mix. For the dressing, use freshly squeezed lime juice in place of the vinegar and add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, chili powder, or hot red pepper flakes. Use cilantro in place of the parsley. Add 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Here’s the link to a printable version.