Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

I know, I’m a hypocrite. My motto is “salads are boring” yet here I am posting a recipe for what else but a salad. But let’s get one thing straight: this is no mere pile of leaves with the occasional tomato or chewy carrot strip thrown in. This sweet potato quinoa salad is more like a fiesta of superfoods that decided to party in your stomach and make you feel great all day. Contrary to common belief, salads can actually leave you feeling full and satisfied when they are paired with healthy-calorie rich add ons…and by that I don’t mean bacon or creamy dressings. 

Obviously the base of a salad is made up of some type of green. For this creation I used baby kale, one of my favorite earth-grown treats. Eating kale is like giving your body a hug: just one cup of this stuff packs 3 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber, not to mention vitamins A, C, and K. Eating kale leads to better skin, healthier bones, and just one cup of cooked kale yields 1000% more vitamin C than its infamous cousin spinach. Spinach or your favorite lettuce (or both) could be used as the base for this salad, it’s really up to personal preference.
On top of the base goes THE SWEET POTATO. Sweet potatoes are probably the only thing on this earth that looks good wearing that shade of orange, but their fabulous skin tone isn’t all they have going for them. Sweet potatoes have a high content of vitamin D and iron, both of which strengthen our immune systems. They regulate heart beats, provide natural sugar causing without blood sugar spikes, and prevent wrinkles in the skin…what’s not to love? Cut a sweet potato in half and microwave it for about 5 minutes. Then, slicing the half vertically, cut the sweet potato within into cubes and allow them to cool before placing them on your salad.
Out next and final ingredient to this super simple yet super yummy creation is the quinoa. I recently discovered this nutritious grain and to put it lightly: I’m addicted. Quinoa is one of the only plant-based foods considered a complete protein and was even used by NASA for long distance space flights! It is not only gluten free but contains a higher amount of antioxidants than almost any other grain. Prepare the quinoa of your choice according to the directions on the box and allow it to cool before adding about 1/3 of a cup to your salad.

So there you go! A nutritious, filling lunch that will keep you feeling full until dinner…who said salad had to be all green anyway?! I usually pair this combo with a balsamic vinagrette  dressing, the quinoa does a great job of absorbing the flavor. Enjoy!

2 cups of greens of your choice (I use kale)
Half of a sweet potato
1/3 cup of quinoa
Dressing of your choice (I love balsamic vinagrette on this!)
1. Prepare greens and microwave sweet potato half for about 2 minutes or until soft.
2. Cut sweet potato into cubes and allow to cool before putting on salad
3. Follow directions on box for cooking quinoa and put 1/3 of a cup on the salad, allowing to cool first
4. Bring to school/work for a healthy and filling lunch!

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