Warm Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce


I’ve always been a little wary about the whole warm salad thing. The thought of hot lettuce has just never really whetted my appetite you know?

But a few weeks ago I gave it a try, accidentally. I was in a hurry, trying to make my lunch BEFORE the sun went down so I could quickly photograph it (story of my life right there.) As soon as my sweet potatoes and my pot of quinoa were finished cooking I tossed them on a salad with some avocado and pumpkin seeds – snapped a few pictures (thankfully that never takes me long) and then I sat down to eat…

Next thing you know I’m eating a warm/cold salad… and it’s good? Like really really good?

And that’s when I knew I had a recipe on my hands. The trick is to combine the hot ingredients with the cold ones JUST before you eat. This keeps the greens from getting too warm or wilted.

This salad starts with a base of crunchy romaine and baby spinach. The spinach is quite tender but the romaine is hearty enough to withstand the warmth. Top with warm quinoa and chopped up baked sweet potato, add a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, and avocado, and add a drizzle of spicy-sweet peanut sauce. Sit down and start eating ASAP!

I’ve eaten this salad a number of times now. It’s great with hummus instead of peanut sauce, it’s easy to take on the go (just package the dressing separately), and if I haven’t convinced you to try warm salad, it’s delicious served cold too! You can’t go wrong with this one.

This salad is hearty, satisfying, and nutritious – everything a salad should be and everything you’re looking for in a January recipe! Enjoy!

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Ingredients :

  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1 handful chopped romaine hearts
  • 1–2 mini sweet potatoes (baked or microwaved)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (cook in vegetable broth for extra flavour)
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/4–1/2 avocado, chopped
  • dressing: spicy-sweet peanut dressing or roasted garlic hummus
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos – GF)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (can substitute with 1 more tbsp sriracha)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2–3 tbsp water to thin

Instructions :

  1. Scrub, prick, and cook 1-2 mini sweet potatoes until tender. I used my microwave for efficiency and they were ready in about 3 minutes.
  2. Rinse and drain quinoa. Bring 1/2 cup quinoa + 1 cup vegetable broth to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, wash and chop the romaine, chop up the avocado, and prepare the peanut sauce.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously OR combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse.
  5. Store extra sauce in the fridge. I like to keep mine in a glass salad dressing bottle. It may thicken up when refrigerated, I just run my bottle under hot running tap water until it softens back to a liquid.
  6. Makes approx. 1/2 cup of sauce.
  7. Mix the spinach and romaine together.
  8. Top with 1/2 cup warm quinoa, 1-2 chopped sweet potatoes, chopped avocado, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, and a drizzle (or more) of the peanut dressing.
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