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/

 

 

 

Kale and Ground Beef/Turkey Taco Filling

This recipe is an amazing way to sneak in a lot of kale without having picky eaters complain! I was so pleasantly surprised at how the kale blended away among the spices and was not even noticeable. Kale is so good for you and I am always interested in new ways to incorporate it in a meal. In this case, it gets completely lost in all the other flavors of the dish. I love that the spice blend in this recipe is incredibly simple, yet it tastes even better than the (not-so-healthy) packets of taco seasoning from the store. Overall, it is not very spicy but it does have a little kick. If you want more spice, increase the amount of cayenne pepper to taste.

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I served this kale, beef, and bean mixture on a bed of crisp greens for me and in small tortillas for my husband. I was curious to see how he would react to the kale being cooked into the mixture, but he did not even mention it and told me the dish was awesome! Win!

Did I mention this easily came together in well under 30 minutes? It is a great choice for a homemade meal on a busy weeknight. I have a feeling we will be enjoying this dish again soon!

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I used lean, organic ground beef in this recipe, but I actually originally intended to use ground turkey. After reading this report (and several others) regarding the disgusting addition found in over 90% of ground turkey in the U.S., I am so hesitant to buy ground turkey now. Does this news enrage anyone else, or is it just me? I hate not knowing what goes into the food we put into our bodies. Anyway, perhaps organic, local, grass-fed beef is the way to go…at least for now.

You MUST try this recipe and let me know what you think. I have a feeling your whole family will enjoy it!!

Healthy Kale Taco Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups of chopped kale
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I only used 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

1). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ground beef. Stir until cooked through. Add the diced red pepper.

2). Add the kale and mix together well until wilted. Add the spices and the black beans. Stir occasionally until heated through.

3). Remove from heat and serve in tortillas or on a bed of salad. Enjoy!

 

Servings: 6. Nutritional Information per 1/6 serving: Calories: 247 Fat: 8g Carbs: 17g Protein: 25g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 2g

WW+: 6 Old points: 5

Recipe adapted from http://greenlitebites.com/2012/10/11/kale-turkey-black-bean-taco-filling/