I had real trouble naming this recipe – there are so many tasty ingredients that I wanted to mention! Crispy roasted sweet potatoes, crunchy roasted green beans, fluffy quinoa, black beans, pine nuts, rocket… but that doesn’t make for a particularly catchy recipe name. So I’ve stuck with ‘sweet potato quinoa salad’ – you’ll have to just remember the rest yourselves.
This is one of my favourite kinds of dish – it’s easy, healthy, and endlessly adaptable. I make this kind of thing quite often, and it never turns out the same way twice.
I always start with some kind of carby base – quinoa, rice, couscous, whatever you fancy. Sometimes I just pile everything on top of a big heap of mashed potatoes.
Then I add whatever veggies I have on hand, and I try to cook all the veg in the same way to cut down on effort and washing up. Here, I roasted the green beans along with the sweet potato. Other times, I’ll sauté everything together in the same pan, or lightly boil everything up together. I have zero inclination to dirty a million pans.
(side note: we just had a dishwasher delivered today! I’ve never had one before – it has genuinely been the highlight of my year so far, and we haven’t even hooked it up yet. I’m guessing the arrival of my first child in June will beat it, but only just)
Next I’ll add some kind of protein – this time I used black beans and pine nuts, but I often go for crumbled feta cheese, various other nuts or seeds, or I’ll even just plonk a fried egg on top.
And fiiiinally, the dressing! Depending on what ingredients you’ve chosen, you might not even need much of a sauce (a runny egg yolk does the job pretty well without any help), but this time I made a super creamy tahini dressing with lemon juice and olive oil. It’s so simple, but makes the quinoa salad feel really luxurious.
So feel free to mix things up a bit if you don’t like the ingredients I’ve chosen! It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a recipe like this – it’s even great served hot or cold (it’s great for lunch boxes!). The only thing I would recommend not skipping is the sweet potato – it does a great job of balancing out the slight bitterness of the tahini. Such an amazing combination.
I am sooo looking forward to leftovers for my tea tonight…
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1 tbsp oil
- 150 g green beans, trimmed and cut in half (~ 5 oz, or ~ 1 cup)
- 150 g uncooked quinoa (~ 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- Black pepper
- 150 g cooked black beans (~ 2/3 cup)
- 1 large handful fresh rocket (arugula)
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
Toss the diced sweet potato in a dash of oil, and spread it out in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 20 minutes, until fairly soft. Add the trimmed green beans to the tray, adding a dash more oil if necessary, and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, boil the quinoa in plenty of water, until the quinoa is soft and the spiral-shaped germ has detached (around 15 minutes). Drain, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add the tahini to a mini food processor, along with the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and water. Season generously with salt and pepper, and blitz to combine.
Add the cooked black beans, rocket (arugula) and pine nuts to the quinoa, along with the roasted vegetables. Mix well, and serve warm or cool, drizzled with the tahini dressing.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/4 of the recipe.