Looking for a healthy balanced vegetarian dish that only uses three main ingredients, one of which is a Superfood? Well, here you go: quinoa, sweet potato and red onion salad.
The recipe is inspired by Deliciously Ella’s Quinoa, Raisin and Sweet Potato Salad. She uses fennel and as the title suggests, includes raisins. I didn’t feel confident enough to roast a whole fennel bulb, and thought the sweet potatoes are sweet enough without the need for raisins. (I’m sure fennel + raisin is a great combo though.) I also had to leave out the hazelnuts due to a nut allergy.
In stead of using plain quinoa, I chose to use Morrisons Wholefoods “Bulgar Wheat, Cracked Soya and Red Quinoa” mix. Quinoa really is any vegetarian’s best friend. It’s a complete protein (which means it has all nine amino acids the human body needs) with double the amount of protein per serving than white rice. Bulgar wheat is high in fibre and, just like quinoa it’s a wholegrain. The third part of the mix is another complete protein, soya. This Wholefoods mix really is a great combination to add fibre and protein to a vegetarian meal and it only takes 10 minutes to cook.
Hmm… now that I think about it, you can substitute the quinoa in this recipe with any wholegrain. I think it would work especially well with brown rice, freekeh, buckwheat or wholewheat cous cous. (*Note To Self: make this salad with a different wholegrain next time.)
I included four medium size red onions in this salad. That sounds like a lot, but don’t worry – the salad doesn’t taste oniony. That’s because I roast the onions with their skins on so that they become very sweet and almost caramelized. It’s a trick I learned from Gousto recipes. Not only does roasting onions with their skins on taste great, it’s easy and quick. You just chop the onion in quarters lengthwise, drizzle with oil & salt and roast. No peeling necessary! Don’t leave out the salt though – that’s what draws out the moisture from the onion, causing it to go soft in stead of crunchy. When they come out of the oven, you just slice off the bottom of the onion (the part that keeps all the “petals” together), discard the skin, and toss the softened purple onion petals in the salad.
I also included roasted pumpkin seeds in my version. Please don’t leave them out. The salad needs the bit of crunch that those toasted pumpkin seeds provide. They taste totally different when toasted – moreish like peanuts but without the peanut allergy side effects.
For the final flourish sprinkle over a handful of chopped parsley and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
In colour theory, green, orange and purple are secondary colours so having all three of these in one dish is bound to create an appetizing, pleasing dish. Don’t you just love it when nature gives us food this beautiful?!
You can have this salad warm or cold, on its own as a light lunch, as a side dish, or add feta cheese to make it more filling. (*Oooh, another Note To Self: add feta cheese next time!) So many options!
Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onion
Roasted sweet potato and red onions tossed in quinoa with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and pumpkin seeds. The hint of cinnamon adds a lovely deep warmth and brings out the sweetness of the sweet potato.
- 1 large sweet potato
- 80g Bulgar Wheat, Cracked Soy & Red Quinoa mix, or plain quinoa
- 4 medium size red onions
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- pinch of cinnamon
- bunch of fresh parsley
- olive oil
- handful of pumpkin seeds
- balsamic glaze to drizzle
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
- Prepare the vegetables: cut the sweet potato into bite size chunks (do not peel). Slice each red onion into quarters but leave the skin and ends on. Place these on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and salt, taking care to coat all the pieces. Additionally, also sprinkle cinnamon over the sweet potato. Place the tray in the oven for at least 20 minutes or until everything is soft and golden.
- 5 Minutes before taking out the onions and sweet potato, add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the tray and return to the oven.
- While the onions and sweet potato are roasting, prepare the quinoa mix as instructed on the packet, but add a vegetable stock cube to the boiling water.
- Once the quinoa is cooked strain the excess water and place the quinoa in a bowl. Add half of the parsley and mix through.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and let it cool slightly. Chop off the ends of the onion quarters and remove the outer layer of skin. This should leave you with soft and sweet “petals” of red onion.
- Add the roasted vegetables and pumpkin seeds to the quinoa and mix through.
- Serve with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and the rest of the chopped parsley.
Natasja King – food for the body, food for the soul