Salad season has started this year and this Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Salad is a family favorite at the moment.
My husband is not a big fan of quinoa so I have to try my best to make sure we all eat quinoa from time to time. It is such a great protein source and combined with the black beans and the roasted sweet potato makes for a healthy and yummy meal.
I wish I could call this dish a longer name, as this recipe contains many ingredients that we all should include in our diets such as avocado, cashews or tahini. If you are looking for a filling and healthy salad, look no more, you will love it. The best part: This salad is vegan and gluten-free, so it suits everyone!
How to build the perfect salad
We have a rule at home when making salads. Our salads need to be made of five layers:
Base: For this salad, we used a combination of red, black and white organic quinoa. To cook the quinoa, use 1:2 ratio, so double the amount of water for the quinoa you are going to cook and leave the pan uncovered while cooking it. When all the water has evaporated, your quinoa will be ready to go.
Fruit & Veggies: Roasted sweet potato and avocado. We cut them both into cubes. The sweet potato is coated with olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and baked for 30 minutes. About the avocado, you want it to be ripe but not too much as it will go mushy when mixing into the salad.
Protein: For this meal, we used pre-cooked black beans but you can use dry beans soaking them overnight and cooking them for 30 minutes before adding them into the salad. Another great plant-based protein option is this tangy Vegan Lemon Chicken.
Nuts or Seeds: A proper salad needs a bit of crunch. We add slightly roasted cashews and they go great in this salad. Feel free to use walnuts, pecan or any other type of nuts that you like.
Salad Dressing: Our Quinoa Salad goes with a delicious salad dressing made with fresh mint, lemon juice, tahini, maple syrup and olive oil. So fresh and yummy!
Making your salad with these 5 items will be a guaranteed success. Your salad will be complete and nutritious.
If you are looking for other summer salad ideas, check our Beet Carpaccio with Goat Cheese, so fresh and easy to cook that makes a perfect weekday meal.
How to cook Quinoa
Quinoa is one of the best grains to incorporate to your diet. Packed full of dietary minerals and fibre, quinoa, when cooked properly is a delicious option to add to your dishes. Follow this simple instructions to cook quinoa:
- Rinse the quinoa before cooking it. This gets rid of the bitter taste that the grain has.
- Use 1:2 ratio, so double the amount of water for the quinoa you are going to cook.
- Bring the water with the quinoa to the boil and when it starts boiling, reduce the heat to really low and leave it cooking until all the water is absorbed.
- Do not cover the pan while cooking the quinoa. You would be overcooking it and it won't be good for the salad.
Quinoa is the perfect grain to cook in advanced as it can be left in the fridge for a couple of days. You can drizzle a little bit of olive oil before keeping it in an airtight container to keep it moist.
How to serve Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Our Roasted Sweet Potato Salad can be served warm or cold. We love serving it warm during the winter, as it makes for a perfect winter salad. If you serve the salad right after adding the baked sweet-potato and cooked quinoa, it will have the perfect temperature to enjoy during a cold day.
During the summer, we prefer serving it chilled. We leave the sweet potato and quinoa to cool completely before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Before serving, add some fresh mint on the top, for an extra minty taste, and sesame seeds.
Leftover salad? Bake some tofu following our Crispy Baked Tofu Recipe, and make a delicious burrito! If you are a hot sauce lover like us, add some spicy sauce to the burrito
Cooking for meal prep
This salad is a great choice for meal-prepping with a few things to have in mind. The avocado will go brown after a couple of hours, so it's always better to add it before serving. Same goes with the dressing. The salad will stay fresher if you add the dressing right before serving.
If you prepare your weekday meals once a week, this salad is made with ingredients that you can use for other dishes such as quinoa, sweet potato and beans. Once the dressing is done, you can use it in other salads as well.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- 150 g quinoa
- 1 medium size sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 1 avocado
- 100 g black beans
- 50 g cashews
For the Dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- A handful of mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Peel and cut the sweet potato into cubes. Add into a mixing bowl and coat with the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Place in an oven tray and bake for around 25-30 minutes.
- Heat in a medium-size pan double the amount of water than quinoa and add the quinoa. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to really low and leave it cooking until all the water is absorbed. Add to a big salad bowl and leave it to cool for a few minutes.
- Add to the salad the black beans, previously rinsed, the baked sweet potato and the avocado cut into cubes.
- Toast the cashews in a small frying pan. Don't add any oil as it's not needed. Simply heat a small pan on medium heat, add the cashews and keep turning them so they don't burn on one side. When they start to brown, you can add them to the salad.
- For the vinaigrette, mix in a bowl the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and maple syrup. Finely chop the mint leaves and add them to the dressing. Stir well with a fork or a small whisk until all the ingredients are perfectly combined and add to the salad.
- Sprinkle some finely chopped mint leaves to the salad and mix all the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!