Cold Weather Salad

With the colder weather still upon us, I find myself still needing to “winterize” my summer salads to make them a bit more filling. My local farmers market has been fully stocked with an abundance of winter squash varieties such as butternut, acorn and delicata and I have been experimenting with adding these and other seasonal vegetables and fruits to my salad rotation. I revised a recent recipe I found that combined sweet potatoes, kale, quinoa, apple and dried cherries by substituting roasted butternut squash for the sweet potato and topping it with some goat cheese and it was the ideal comfort food after a cold and rainy winter day.  I have also varied the type of dried fruit and added some apricots, but other good choices are golden raisins or currants. An added bonus is that it is simple to prepare and can easily be doubled so a great addition if you are entertaining guests!

Sweet Potato, Apple and Kale Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Greenplaterule.com

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed if needed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups peeled and diced sweet potato, about 2 medium sized sweet potatoes (butternut squash or other winter variety)
4 cups chopped kale, discard the ribs
1 large apple, diced with lemon juice squeezed to prevent browning
1/2 cup dried cherries (dried apricots, raisins or currants)
1/2 tsp. salt
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Optional toppings: chopped pecans and goat cheese

  1. Add the quinoa and vegetable broth to a medium pot, and turn on to high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer until cooked, about 12 – 15 minutes.
  2. While quinoa is cooking — add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated add the diced sweet potatoes and salt, then cover. Stir occasionally, and if it starts to brown too much, add a little water or broth. Cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes, then add the kale and continue to stir until it wilts, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Check on the quinoa — should be almost done at this point.
  4. Add the diced apple and cherries to the sweet potatoes.
  5. Once quinoa is cooked and cooled slightly add it to the sweet potatoes.
  6. Spoon in the vinaigrette, a couple tbsp.at a time and top with goat cheese or pecans.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1 shallot, finely diced

  • 1 tsp. honey Dijon mustard

  • 1 tbsp. honey

  • 2 – 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • ¼ tsp. salt