Spring might be just around the corner, but here in New England, winter -- and its dearth of locally grown green vegetables and red tomatoes -- keeps us firmly in its grip. Fortunately, the farm stands and winter farmers' markets still have plenty of storage sweet potatoes and apples, and everything else in this quinoa salad comes straight from the pantry. Substitute at will, as long as you keep color in mind, for it is color that we crave as much as flavor at this time of year. Hang on, New Englanders! Spring is just one week away. Ramps, fiddleheads and garlic scapes will be popping up any day now. Until then, we have tangy apples, sugary sweet potatoes, and a simple cider vinaigrette to keep our taste buds happy.
Vegan quinoa salad with roasted sweet potato, apples, dried cranberries and pine nuts
1 cup quinoa
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced (do not peel)
1 firm red apple, diced (do not peel)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pine nuts
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Rinse and drain the quinoa, and place it in a rice cooker. Fill the cooker to the 1 cup mark, and set to cook. (Or, cook on the stovetop, according to package directions.) When the quinoa is cooked, turn off the cooker and allow the quinoa to steam, with the top closed, for 15 minutes. (Or, on stovetop, remove pot from the heat and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes.) Scrape the quinoa into a large mixing bowl, and let cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Place the diced sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until just tender and starting to brown slightly. Remove from the oven, and set aside.
WHILE THE SWEET POTATO IS COOKING, stir together the red onion with 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small frying pan. Cook over lowest heat for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is very soft and beginning to brown slightly. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, until the dressing emulsifies (thickens). Toss in the quinoa, sweet potato, onion, diced apple and cranberries.
In the same frying pan in which you cooked the onion, toast the pine nuts for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until the nuts begin to brown. Add those to the mixing bowl, and gently toss to bring all of the ingredients together.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette
Chicken and vegetable quinoa stir-fry
Red quinoa, beet and pecan salad with pomegranate-orange vinaigrette
Quinoa, avocado, tomato and black bean salad with chipotle lime dressing
Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Quinoa with roasted Brussels sprouts, leeks and slivered almonds, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Quinoa and shrimp with fresh corn and cherry tomatoes, from Food Blogga
Quinoa with currants, dill and zucchini, from 101 Cookbooks
Southwest sassy sweet potato chowder, from Everyday Southwest
Turkish sweet potato and apricot rolls, from Eating Out Loud
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