Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Last week we went on vacation, and it was glorious! After spending all day in the pool, I wanted to make something light, healthy, nutritious, and colorful. This southwestern grilled sweet potato salad was just the ticket. There are a LOT of textures and flavors going on in this one, folks. It’s a definite winner!

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Let’s deconstruct this giant rainbow bowl, shall we?

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The focal point of this salad is the grilled sweet potatoes. Yum. I cut them in big rounds to make them easy to grill, and then quartered them after grilling. Do you have to grill them? Absolutely not. It’s hot here in the south, so grilling means the heat stays outside the kitchen, which is important when it’s in the 90’s! I actually think roasting the potatoes would be equally good (if not better), so if you don’t have a grill I would recommend trying that option. If you do that, you can go ahead and quarter the sweet potatoes before baking. IMG_0945
Bright yellow corn, tasty black beans, and a crisp red bell pepper provide a nice contrast in texture to the grilled sweet potatoes. Top all that off with vibrantly green onions, creamy avocado, and fresh cilantro, and you have a bowl full of color. The last step is to toss it all together with fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper, and you’re ready to eat!

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Simply put, this is an awesome side dish (or main dish for the non-meat eaters!) that will definitely make another appearance in our home. My husband, who does not like avocados, loved this dish. When it all comes together, it’s just that good!! Take this to your next cookout or picnic!

Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 avocados, pit and skin removed, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1). Pre-heat the grill. Toss the cut sweet potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill them over medium-high heat until they can easily be pierced with a fork (about 8 minutes each side).

2). In a large bowl, combine the corn, black beans, red pepper, green onions, cilantro, and avocados. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through, quarter the rounds and add them to the bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and re-season, if necessary.

Servings: 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side. Approximate nutritional information for 8 servings: Calories: 234 Carbs: 34g Fat: 9g Protein: 8g Fiber: 10g Points+: 6 

Recipe adapted from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/southwestern-grilled-sweet-potato-salad/ 

From the Archives: Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

Parmesan roasted green beans are an easy side dish that can accompany chicken, fish, steak, pork, or any dish! The simple roasting method brings out the best in the green beans, giving them a unique flavor and delightful texture. No bland, mushy green beans here!IMG_0839

The first time I roasted green beans was life-changing; I never knew they could taste so good! My husband and I don’t particularly care for the green veggie unless it’s roasted. The texture and flavor completely changes so that even green-bean haters love them this way!

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I originally posted this recipe last year in conjunction with my easy crock pot bbq chicken, but this simple recipe deserves its own post. For the last couple years this has been my tried-and-true green bean recipe, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Trust me, if you haven’t roasted green beans yet, you must try them. And then let me know how they turn out. I promise they’ll win you over this way!

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Sometimes I’ll add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese when I take the pan out of the oven, and sometimes I won’t. The parmesan adds another dimension of flavor and saltiness, but if you don’t have any or are cutting out dairy for dietary reasons, they’re still delicious as-is.

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They key is to season them well. Season with quite a bit of freshly cracked pepper, sea salt, and garlic powder before baking, then taste one out of the oven and re-season, if necessary. I like to season them once they’ve been tossed in olive oil and are laying flat on the baking sheet because I feel it gives me better control, but you can also season them as you combine them with the oil.

One last trick I use: I always cover my baking pan in foil for virtually no clean up. I lightly spray it with cooking spray before adding the green beans. Works every time!

Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz green beans, washed and dried
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

1). Preheat oven to 425F. Line a pan with foil for easy clean up. Mix the green beans with olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Make sure they are all in one even layer on the pan.

2). Bake for 10 minutes. Mix the beans lightly and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese (optional).

Serves: about 4. Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 62 Fat: 2.9g Carbs: 8g Protein: 2.7g Sodium: 38g without salt

Recipe adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/11/roasted-parmesan-green-beans.html

 

Cucumber, Strawberry, and Feta Salad.

Strawberry season is here!! One of my best friends and I went to a local farm to pick fresh strawberries this week, and although I already froze and ate some plain, I wanted to incorporate them into a salad. Last year I really enjoyed this strawberry and baby kale salad, and this year I think my new favorite will be this cucumber and strawberry salad!

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I know what you’re thinking: cucumbers and strawberries?! Yes. Surprisingly they go very well together. I’m kicking out the tomatoes from the traditional cucumber/tomato salad and replacing them with another bright red fruit: strawberries.

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Reasons to love this salad:

-It is light and refreshing.

Chilled cucumbers and strawberries together? Cool and crisp!

-It requires only 4 ingredients.

Just cucumbers, strawberries, feta cheese, and a poppyseed dressing.

-It is quick and easy. 

Chop your cucumbers and strawberries, sprinkle some feta, pour the dressing, mix and you’re done!

-It is an unexpected combination.

Everyone expects to see cucumbers and tomatoes together. Why not change it up and use strawberries?

-It is a beautiful color combination.

Bright green cucumbers and red strawberries with a sprinkle of white feta in-between? It’s practically art in a bowl.

-Everyone seems to love it!

I can’t tell you how many people have raved about this salad! It’s a winner, for sure.

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Now, I am typically all about making your own salad dressings. After all, I already have several posted on the blog: creamy garlic, red pepper jelly vinaigrette, chia seed dressingavocado ranch, and a tangy blackberry balsamic. In this case, I did take a shortcut because of time restraints and bought Panera’s poppyseed dressing. If you have time to make your own, do it. If not, I was quite pleased with the flavor of this one and would recommend it. There are certainly more ingredients listed on the label than what you would use if you make your own, but that’s almost always the case with store-bought products.

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So, are you looking for a new way to sneak strawberries into a meal? Want to try a light and refreshing salad? You should really try this one; it just might become your new favorite!

Cucumber, Strawberry & Feta Salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups strawberries, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 tbsp poppyseed dressing

1) Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well and serve!

Servings: about 6. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 121 Carbs: 19 g Fat: 5g Protein: 5g Fiber: 4g Points+: 3

Recipe adapted from: http://thehousewifeintrainingfiles.com/cucumber-strawberry-poppyseed-salad/ 

“Black & Blue” Spring Salad with Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.

It is finally feeling like spring around here! As soon as the weather turns warmer, I immediately turn to cool, crisp salads to keep my meals light and filling. I love salads and eat them year-round, but somehow when it’s freezing outside the idea of biting into a cold piece of lettuce does not appeal to me as much!

Salads can get really boring, really fast. The trick to keeping them from becoming mundane is (obviously) change! Change the base of your salad (baby spinach, romaine, spring mix, etc.). If you like cheese, change what type of cheese you add. Change what vegetables you include. Change what crunchy add-ins you include. Change the dressing. And in this case, change it up completely by adding fruit!

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I love ripe, juicy fruit in my salads and usually stick to strawberries, blueberries, apples, or pineapple. Until now, I had never included blackberries! They were perfect in this salad. They were tart but sweet, and off-set the bite from the blue cheese perfectly. I added a few sliced almonds for added crunch, too.

And then, of course, there’s the dressing. It’s the real star of the show (and of this post)! To play up the blackberry flavor more, I topped the salad off with a blackberry dressing. It was quick to make, easy, and had the right balance of sweet and tangy. It’s sweetened with honey and a touch of sugar. I tried it without the sugar and my face immediately puckered–way too tart! I usually try to eliminate added sugars, but in this case the dressing  most definitely needs it. A scant 1 tablespoon is all that’s needed, though, which turns out to be less than a teaspoon per serving. Not too bad!

I love the deep color of the blackberry dressing–so pretty! All I had in the fridge was romaine lettuce, but I think this dressing would be even more beautiful among the deep green of spring mix or baby spinach! Use your favorite, or whatever you have on hand.

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“Black & Blue” Spring Salad with Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the salad: 

  • 4-5 cups of your favorite salad base (romaine, spring mix, baby kale, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese*
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries

For the blackberry balsamic dressing:

  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
  • salt and pepper

1) To make the dressing: Add the blackberries and sugar to a food processor and process until smooth. Add the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper and process again until smooth.

2) To assemble the salad: in a large bowl, add the greens, blue cheese, sliced almonds, and blackberries. Top with blackberry balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!

*Note: to make it vegan, use agave nectar in place of honey and do not include the blue cheese!*

Servings: 4. Nutritional information per serving for the dressing: Calories: 105 Carbs: 10g Fat: 7g Sugar: 10g Fiber: 1g WWPoints+: 3

Nutritonal information per serving for the salad base: Calories: 91 Carbs: 5g Fat: 6g Protein: 4g Sugar: 2g Fiber: 3g WWPoints+: 2

Recipe adapted from: http://iowagirleats.com/2014/04/02/black-blue-spring-salad-with-honey-roasted-pecans-and-berry-balsamic-vinaigrette/  

 

 

Cauliflower “Rice” 2 Ways: Plain & Cilantro Lime.

Have you heard of cauliflower rice? All you cauliflower haters listen up: this does NOT actually taste like cauliflower!! My husband tasted the cilantro lime version assuming it was rice and loved it, and the only way he will eat cauliflower is roasted. This side dish is super easy to make, a blank canvas just like rice, and a great way to sneak more veggies in your meals! It is gluten-free, paleo friendly, and clocks in at just 61 calories a cup. Any time you want to serve rice, you can serve this instead.

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I have 2 versions for you today: plain and cilantro lime. Let’s start with the plain first, as it will be the foundation for the cilantro lime version anyway.

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There is an essential tool you’ll need for making cauliflower rice: a food processor. If you don’t have one, I’m sure you could meticulously chop up your cauliflower florets until they’re teeny tiny, but it would take long time! Place your cauliflower florets in the food processor and pulse until they’re about the size of rice granules. Be careful not to over-process or else you will release too much moisture from the cauliflower and it will get soggy. No one likes soggy rice, right? Right.

A tip: you may have to pulse your cauliflower in 2 batches. I have what I consider to be a standard size food processor and found I had more cauliflower than would fit at once!

While this is happening, heat up olive oil in a large pan over medium heat with onions and garlic. Once they soften, you’ll add your “rice”, give it a stir, and cover for 5 minutes. Stir it again until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. The last step is perhaps the most important: season with salt and pepper! The salt and pepper will take it from blah to perfect. If you taste it and think it tastes bland, chances are you need more salt and pepper. You can also add garlic powder if you’d like!

The end result is fluffy, slightly chewy “rice” that tastes good AND is good for you.

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A few weeks ago I posted this recipe for cilantro lime rice. You all seemed to love it, so here’s how to make cilantro lime “cauliflower rice”: once the cauliflower is cooked, pour it into a big bowl. Add the juice of 1/2-1 lime and 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or more, to taste. That’s it! Easy, huh? This week I served it along with fajitas (I used this copy-cat Pappasito’s Fajita Steak marinade), but it would be perfect as a “rice bowl” using my super easy Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken!

Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped into florets
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1). Place half the cauliflower in the food processor and pulse until cauliflower resembles the size of rice or couscous. Be careful not to over-process or too much moisture will be released and it will be mushy. Remove and pulse the second batch.

2). Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes, while stirring often.

3). Once the onions and garlic are softened, add the pulsed cauliflower to the pan. Toss to combine and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender inside.

4). Season well with freshly cracked pepper and sea salt. Taste and re-season, if necessary. (Do not skimp out on the salt and pepper: it is critical to add flavor!)

For Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice:

1). After cooking the cauliflower as stated above, add the juice of 1/2-1 lime (depending on your preference) and 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro. Toss to combine and enjoy!

Servings: 5. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 61 Fat: 3g Carbs: 8g Fiber: 3g Protein: 2.5g WW Points+: 2.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/10/cilantro-lime-cauliflower-rice.html

Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron. 

Classic Guacamole.

Oh, guacamole. It’s great as an appetizer by itself, perfect on tacos or other Mexican fare, and even delicious on a salad. I LOVE a good guacamole, and it’s so good for you!

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Making homemade guacamole is easy: chop, mash, mix, season. Finding the right recipe, however, can be a challenge. Some are too tomato-y, some are too spicy, and some just have no flavor at all. The recipe I’m about to share with you came from Alton Brown, and (not surprisingly) was just right! It has nice thick chunks of avocado and tomato while still being creamy. I opted not to make mine spicy because I prefer it that way, so I omitted the jalapeño, but you can definitely add it if you like your guac with a kick! 

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Want to know a way to avoid your guacamole from turning brown if you decide to make it for a party ahead of time? Press the guacamole into a bowl, making sure there are no air holes. Then, using a measuring cup, carefully pour cold water over it until there is about an inch of water over the guacamole. Before serving, simply pour out the water and give it a stir! Just make sure to use a measuring cup to gently pour the water in the bowl. Don’t use the sink. Trust me. : )  

Now go grab a few ripe avocados and get mashing!

Classic Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3 hass avocados, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • Optional (I omitted): 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1). In a large bowl place the avocado pulp, lime juice, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Use a potato masher and mash to your preferred texture.

2). Fold in the onion, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic (and jalapeño, if using). Taste and season accordingly. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour for the flavors to combine before serving. 

Yield: About 4 cups, or 16 servings of  1/4 cup (4 tbsp) each.

Nutritional Information per 4 tbsp: Calories: 64 Fat: 5g  Carbs: 4g Protein: 1g Fiber: 3g WWPoints+: 2

Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/guacamole-recipe.html 

 

 

Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo (No Cream!)

When I first stumbled upon this recipe, I thought there was NO way a cauliflower sauce could even come close to tasting like alfredo. But then I read the reviews. And then a few weeks later, a friend of mine at church made it and raved about it. And then I made it, and fooled my husband into thinking it was alfredo sauce. A demolished bowl and a half of pasta later, he kept going on and on about how good it was, never once suspecting the main ingredient to be cauliflower. Folks, this recipe is pretty unbelievable. Cauliflower CAN in fact become a delicious alfredo sauce!

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Traditional alfredo sauce is notorious for being really unhealthy. Full of butter, cream, and lots of cheese, it’s just not friendly to your waistband. Although there is a little bit of butter and cheese in this recipe, it is greatly reduced: only 2 tablespoons for 10 cups of sauce! It’s enough to add that great flavor that will fool your family into thinking it’s regular alfredo sauce, but not enough to derail you off your healthy eating. By the way, did you catch that…this makes 10 cups of sauce!! It’s perfect for large families, but if you’re cooking for 2 like I am, you can freeze as much of the sauce as you want! Win-win.

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I served this over pasta for my husband, but I added it to brown rice and it was so good. It’s an easy way to add a lot of flavor for little calories…in fact, just 58 in a half cup serving! You can also use this to replace any recipe that calls for jarred alfredo sauce.

I used my immersion blender for this but I am including directions for a regular blender as well. The steps are basically the same, but depending on the size of your blender you may need to do this in batches.

Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5-6 cups cauliflower florets (I used one large head of cauliflower)
  • 6-7 cups vegetable broth or water (I used a little of both)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
  • ½ cup milk (more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (optional, can also add more)

1). Heat the butter in a large non-stick pan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for several minutes until soft, but not brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

2). In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth or water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower florets and cook, covered, for about 7-10 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork tender. Carefully drain the cauliflower, reserving about 2 cups of broth!

If using an immersion blender: Add 1 cup of broth back to the pot with the cauliflower, sauteed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Puree with immersion blender, adding more broth/milk depending on how thick you would like the sauce to be. Stir in parmesan cheese (if using), and season with salt and pepper to taste.

If using a regular blender: Add the cauliflower, 1 cup of broth, sauteed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Blend for a few minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth/milk depending on how thick you would like the sauce to be. Stir in parmesan cheese (if using) and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3). Serve hot over pasta, brown rice, or use in lasagna, etc. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. Enjoy!

Note: original recipe mentions adding additional olive oil to smooth out the sauce. I did not find this necessary but you can add it if you’d like!

Yield: 5 cups. Serving size: 1/2 cup. Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup: Calories: 58 Carbs: 6g Fat: 3g Fiber: 3g Protein: 2g WW Points+:2

Recipe adapted from: http://pinchofyum.com/creamy-cauliflower-sauce 

Roasted Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes

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Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. Such is today’s recipe. There are no fancy ingredients or difficult steps to follow. Just a good ol’ recipe for delicious roasted vegetables! I found a bag of these cute baby yellow dutch potatoes at the store recently and just had to make them. They do not require peeling which is a major plus! Simply mix them up with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder before baking them in the oven. They’re a perfect side dish to practically anything!

IMG_20140112_192224570 (1)You’ll notice the seasonings below all say “to taste.” What I did was just sprinkle an even layer of salt, pepper, and garlic powder over the potatoes. If you want to get creative and add additional herbs/spices, go for it! I think oregano would be great for an Italian flare, or some chili pepper flakes for kick. Enjoy! 

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Roasted Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag baby yellow dutch potatoes
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • freshly cracked sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • cooking spray

1). Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

2). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. Enjoy!

Servings: 6. Nutritional Information per serving: 130 Carbs: 17g Fat: 7g Fiber: 3g WWPoints+: 3

Recipe courtesy of audreysapron.wordpress.com.

Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

This is a perfect side dish for practically anything–chicken, pork, beef, or even fish! I like having simple, versatile recipes in my back pocket for busy weeknight meals. This one does just that!

Roasted parmesan sweet potatoes that are easy, simple, and completely satisfying! I love sweet potatoes because they’re so good for you, and my favorite way to eat them is roasted. This version is savory thanks to a touch of parmesan cheese. I like having both a savory and sweet version of roasted sweet potatoes. (By the way, you can find my favorite “sweet” version of  roasted sweet potato recipes here.) Like I said, this recipe comes together very quickly and is sure to be a hit! My husband, who does not typically care for sweet potatoes, ate every last one off his plate!IMG_20140103_193551191 (1)

Notice there’s just a tablespoon of parmesan cheese for the whole batch; we aren’t going too crazy! Of course, if you want to you can certainly add more. Other than salt and pepper, the sweet potatoes are spiced with dried thyme. If you don’t care for thyme, swap it out with your favorite herb! I think rosemary, oregano, sage, or even basil could be delicious.

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Here’s a great bonus with this recipe…it makes for very little clean up. I love cooking, but I don’t love spending a long time cleaning up after (especially on weeknights!). After chopping the sweet potatoes, place them in a Ziploc bag and add the remaining ingredients. Seal the bag and mix them really well. This results in 2 important things: #1-Even coverage of the spices on the potatoes and #2-nothing to clean up! Just throw the bag away after you’re done!

To cut down on clean up even further, I also like to line my baking pan with foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray. You don’t have to do that, though. I sometimes roast sweet potatoes in a glass casserole dish!

Once the potatoes are in the oven, let them cook until they’re really soft and starting to get a little crunchy on the outside. That’s the way I like ’em. See?

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Your cook time will depend on how small your sweet potato pieces are and how hot your oven is. For me, about 30 minutes was just right.

Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Ziploc bag
  • Foil (optional)
  • Cooking spray

1). Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil, if using, and spray with cooking spray.

2). In a large Ziploc bag, add the sweet potatoes, garlic, EVOO, parmesan cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake it to mix well. Once all the potatoes are evenly covered, spread them out on the prepared baking sheet.

3). Bake for 30-35 minutes, giving them a stir after 20 minutes. Potatoes are done when they are soft and slightly crunchy on the outside.

Servings: 3. Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 149 Carbs: 23g Fat: 6g rotein: 2g Fiber: 3g WW PointsPlus: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://www.teeniecakes.com/2010/12/roasted-parmesan-sweet-potatoes/

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale

This dish just screams autumn to me. Everything from the colors to the warm flavors make it a perfect recipe to cook this time of year. I love all the major ingredients that play into this recipe and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate them in our menu, especially kale.

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The preparation of the kale for this salad was unique. It is baked in the oven to create crispy kale chips, but it bakes in balsamic vinegar which gives it a neat tang. I ate a couple right out of the oven and they were awesome! Roasting the sweet potatoes and onion together really bring out a nice flavor that carries through the dish. This was filling and could also be a main dish for vegetarians/vegans! 

I really appreciated that other than the small amount of oil used to roast the sweet potatoes, no additional oil is necessary in the “dressing.” All that is added is a few extra tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to ensure that every bite of this quinoa salad is tangy and delicious.

Once all the vegetables and quinoa are cooked, toss them all together in a large bowl, making sure to mix really well so that everything is equally distributed!

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The salad can be served warm or even at room temperature. I could even see this as an addition for Thanksgiving to cater to vegetarians/vegans. You can also add dried cranberries to add another dimension of flavor. Yum!

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Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups kale
  • 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked black quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or low-sodium, fat free broth)
  • Pinch of salt

1). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes and onion in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together and then put them on a large baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir a few times while baking.

2). Drizzle kale with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. When the sweet potatoes and onions have been in the oven for 15 minutes, put the kale in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until kale is wilted and starting to get a little crispy.

3). While the vegetables are roasting, make the quinoa. Using a strainer, rinse the black quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool quinoa cool.

4). When the vegetables are done roasting, let them cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, sweet potatoes, onion, and kale. Drizzle the salad with remaining three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Servings: 6 as a side dish. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 184 Carbs: 33g Fat: 4g Protein: 6g Sugar: 6g Fiber: 4g WW Points += 5 

Recipe adapted from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/quinoa-salad-with-roasted-sweet-potatoes-kale-dried-cranberries-red-onion/