I feel like salads get a bad rep.
An image is easily conjured of an overly thin woman pecking at a naked green assortment of leaves in order to drop a few pounds. Most children dislike it without cause and a lot of men label it as ‘chick’ food.
But honestly, salads can be delicious, especially when the showcase fresh, seasonal ingredients. A spring salad is a beautiful thing because it mirrors the fresh, earthy perfection that is reflected in a season of blossoming trees and exploding wild flowers.
This yam spinach and quinoa salad is based on a dish that I am in love with from a small cafe on Estevan in Victoria called The Village. The avocado and goat cheese lend it a creamy indulgence while the kale chips and fresh spinach add crunch and green goodness. My favorite part though, is the yams. Pan roasted with maple syrup, the inherent sweetness of the orange starch is magnified and pairs nicely with the earthiness of the quinoa. It’s a simple but filling meal that is a great idea for a lunch or light dinner on an increasingly warm spring night.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 yams
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup water
- 4 cups spinach, washed
- 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 avocado, diced
- 3 kale bunches
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold water until it runs clear and is no longer frothy to dissolve the bitterness. In a medium sauce pan, cook the quinoa in the broth. Allow to boil uncovered for a minute before turning the heat to medium low and placing the lid on top. Cook until light and fluffy, around 20 minutes.
- Peel and dice the yams into 1'' cubes. In a large pan over medium heat, combine the yams and half of the maple syrup, olive oil and water. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water has dissolved. Add the remaining maple syrup, olive oil and water and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the yams are soft and slightly browned. Allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the stems out of the kale leaves. On a baking sheet, evenly distribute the leaves and drizzle with the oil and sea salt. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the edges are browned. Keep careful watch as the kale is easily burned.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the quinoa, yams and spinach. Top with the chopped avocado, crumbled goat cheese and the kale chips. Top with the sweet olive oil dressing.