Quinoa Harvest Salad – Spring mix is tossed with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, roasted pepitas, dried cranberries, and quinoa to make this hearty salad. Served with a homemade creamy Dijon vinaigrette.
January is the time I tend to try out new salads. After all the indulgences we had over the holidays, I actually crave something light and healthy this month. As odd as it may seem for a pastry aficionado, it’s true! There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
This new salad is a recreation of one I recently tried on a business trip. I was intrigued by the use of roasted sweet potato. I actually found that it complimented the dried cranberries and goat cheese very well. And the crunch of the pepitas on top was a fun change in texture. And with a little grilled chicken and quinoa on top, you’ve got a full meal!
Here is my Quinoa Harvest Salad!
Making this salad
Salads are a fun way to try new things because they are relatively simple to make. This salad has a few cooked ingredients so it adds a couple extra steps but nothing you can’t handle.
Roasting the sweet potato
Roasting veggies is one of my favorite ways to eat them. You just need to peel and cube the sweet potato, toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then finish in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Cooking the quinoa
Quinoa may seem foreign to many of you but it’s just a grain that gets boiled in water until fluffy, just like rice or couscous. But unlike those grains, quinoa is loaded with fiber and protein so it’s a wonderful addition to any salad.
To cook quinoa, it’s cooked in a pot with simmering water and then fluffed when all the water is absorbed. I also like to add a little salt to the water before adding the quinoa so it’s super flavorful.
Assembling the salad
Once you have the sweet potato and quinoa cooked, you are ready to assemble the salad. First, I like to lay out the greens. Then, I add on the goat cheese, cranberries, and pepitas. Finally, the chicken, roasted sweet potato and quinoa are added on top, with a drizzle of the homemade vinaigrette.
Tips & Tricks
- Cool the ingredients. Warm ingredients can wilt the salad. So make sure the roasted sweet potatoes and cooked quinoa are cooled before adding to the salad.
- Whisk the vinaigrette. To ensure the dressing is smooth and the oil emulsifies, use a whisk to combine the dressing ingredients. This will also smooth out any lumps from the mayonnaise.
Quinoa Harvest Salad
For the salad:
- 1 medium sweet potato
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa (1 cup cooked)
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 cups spring mix salad
- 2 tablespoons roasted and salted pepitas
- ¼ cup goat cheese crumbles
- 4 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 medium chicken breasts cooked and sliced
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel sweet potato and dice into small cubes. Place on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a few sprinkles of salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package instructions and season with a pinch of salt. Let both cool to room temperature before using.
- Split greens into two large bowls or plates. Top each with goat cheese, cranberries, pepitas, and sliced chicken. Finish each salad with about ⅓ cup of toasted sweet potatoes and ⅓ cup of cooked quinoa.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Drizzle dressing over each salad and serve immediately.