I think this might be the first salad I’ve posted on the blog. Believe it or not, I’m not just subsisting strictly on booze and biscuits. I try to work salads into the rotation on a pretty regular basis, mainly so I don’t get scurvy or end up on the next season of My 600-lb Life.
In spite of the general decadence that you’ll find on Taste & Tipple, I am a loyal devotee of some more health-conscious blogs, even a few that are vegetarian or vegan. I collect most of my recipe ideas on Pinterest so that I don’t forget about them and can easily rate and track recipes that I’ve tried.
My top five go-to salads from fellow food blogs are:
- Mason Jar Chickpea, Farro and Greens Salad from Cookie + Kate – This is hands-down, the best salad ever. I’m not even going to front like I could top this. The farro gives it a great toothsome quality, I would drink the dressing straight and the toppings (pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, feta and black olives) make this a salad worth meal-prepping for.
- Blueberry Broccoli Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Ranch from Peas and Crayons – I made this for a book club potluck once and a friend said, “Please tell me this salad comes in a bag at the grocery store so I can eat it all the time.” It does not. But it’s pretty painless to make from scratch and that poppyseed ranch CANNOT be beat.
- Chickpea Shawarma Salad from Minimalist Baker – this vegan-friendly salad will make you rethink your next shawarma platter order from Uber Eats. The dressing will leave you smelling like garlic for the next three days but goddamn is it good. The spiced chickpeas make for great snacking on their own too.
- Kale Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing from the Little Spice Jar – The shaved Brussels sprouts give this salad a great crunchy texture and impart a pleasant bitterness that is well-matched by the ginger miso dressing. This is a great meal salad as it’s topped by shredded cooked chicken or turkey.
- Sweet Potato Quinoa & Cotija from Love & Lemons – Definitely a great inspiration for this here recipe but with a decidedly tex-mex flavour profile. The best part about this filling salad is that you can transition your leftovers into quesadillas the next day by adding black beans, Monterey jack and some more spice.
This selection of salads are so good, they might win out over a Big Mac and they have the added benefit of being full of nutrition and won’t leave you with #regrets.
As discussed, my passion for the culinary arts is not genetic, but my parents definitely have a few tricks up their apron sleeves. When I was an infant, I ate so much sweet potato baby food that my cheeks and palms turned orange. True story. I was a pretty picky eater throughout childhood and for some reason swore off sweet potatoes between my toddler and teen years. I rekindled my love affair with this tuberous root in high school when my mom whipped up a batch of maple, brown sugar roasted sweet potatoes as a Thanksgiving side. I think I ate half the casserole dish.
This recipe is, in part, inspired by this fateful side dish. The maple syrup balances out the acidity in the dressing and adds a welcome touch of sweetness to this salad. I love to use arugula in my salads because I can’t get enough of that peppery flavour and it requires less work than kale that is always needing to be pampered with a massage before eating.
Ready in 30 minutes or less, this is a great weeknight dinner option or meal-prep project that won’t devour your entire Sunday. If you’re planning to divide this salad into lunch portions, keep the dressing on the side until ready to consume.
- 1½ lbs sweet potatoes about 2 large
- ½ cup quinoa
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans toasted
- 2 cups arugula
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ cup crumbled feta
Cook quinoa. Rinse quinoa under cold water. Add to pot with 1 cup cold salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, covered, let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and cool to room temperature.
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a pot and add enough cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer gently until potatoes are just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
Drain well, place in a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Once cool, stir in red onion, pecans and parsley.
Whisk remaining vinegar with oil, maple syrup, salt and cayenne. Toss with potatoes, then sprinkle with cheese and gently toss again.