The Best Salad I’ve Ever Made (Or Sweet Potato Walnut Salad with Arugula)

I’m still here! The last couple of weeks have been a test of motivation in the cooking department…we’ve been de-constructing (and hopefully soon, will be re-constructing!) our bathroom, so our house and our routine are in total disarray. At the same time, our oven broke- stopped working completely. Luckily, my husband has since repaired it- yay! But the combination was more than enough to throw me off for a little while. Somehow in the middle of it all I rediscovered this wonderful salad. It’s easy to make, especially considering how satisfying it is. I occasionally make big salads for dinner, and to be perfectly honest, although I don’t mind them, I never get excited about them. This one is an exception. It’s SO filling, and something about the sweet potatoes makes it seem more like a traditional dinner than a salad. Sweet potatoes, arugula, and walnuts are all great sources of vitamins and antioxidants, so this dish is satisfying AND good for you…definitely a salad worth giving a chance!

Salad

Sweet Potato Walnut Salad with Arugula, adapted from Moosewood Restaurant’s Cooking For Health

Serves 4

Total Prep and Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 large sweet potatoes

2 cups trimmed and halved green beans

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

ΒΌ cup minced parsley

8 cups of arugula

2 teaspoons maple syrup or maple sugar

2 cups grain or bean of your choice (for example, chickpeas, couscous, orzo, or this grain blend that I found at Trader Joe’s)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon turmeric

2 teaspoons curry powder

3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries

goat cheese (optional)

balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Toss the sweet potatoes in a baking dish with the coconut oil and maple syrup or sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes or until tender. (Check the sweet potatoes after 8-10 minutes: when they are ready, they should be cooked and tender, but not mushy. You don’t want to over-cook them or they won’t stand up well during salad assembly!)

Drain and rinse the beans or simmer/prepare the grains. Once your beans/grains are finished, toss with the turmeric, curry powder, parsley, and a little coconut oil if desired (the oil sometimes helps distribute the spices more evenly.)

Place a pan over medium heat. Add chopped walnuts and toast, stirring frequently, until the walnuts become golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Place balsamic vinegar in a pan over medium-high heat. Simmer until reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes.

Arrange the salad by dividing the ingredients onto four plates evenly in this order: arugula, then top with the grains, sweet potatoes, green beans, walnuts, raisins or cranberries and goat cheese. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.

*Note: One of the things that I love about this salad is that it can be served warm or cold: all of the components that are cooked pair well with the rest of the uncooked components whether warm or cold.

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