Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spicy Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes

You'll probably start to notice my blog take a turn toward eating healthier in the upcoming months...which is a good thing!  However, before you run screaming, just know that I made a pan of brownies last night so I'm taking baby steps.  Sometimes you just need brownies...


This was my first time preparing and even eating quinoa.  Seems a little intimidating, but to be honest, it's not hard at all.  You do have to rinse it first to remove the bitterness, but I found it very similar to preparing rice.  To make this salad, it was simply cooking all the other ingredients, then adding it to the cooked quinoa. 
  

Once the weather starts to turn warmer, I immediately become obsessed with all things lime and cilantro.  This quinoa dish is spicy from the ancho chile powder and jalapenos, but you get this freshness from the cilantro and lime juice tossed in right before serving.  The sweet potatoes add this chunky bite of sweetness.  So many flavors in this dish that all compliment each other so well!    

I started using coconut oil as a substitute for vegetable oil (again, healthy kick!), so just know that you can use vegetable oil in this dish if you prefer.  Also, since I love lime juice so much, I definitely used at least 2 tablespoons, but start with 1 tablespoon and keep adding to suit your taste.    

Serves 4

Spicy Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons quinoa
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided in half
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced 
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse completely through two times.  Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and add 3/4 cups chicken broth, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the red onion and garlic and cook until slightly softened.  Add the chile powder and cumin and cook, stirring and cooking for about 1 minute.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, the jalapenos, sweet potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 15 minutes.    

Add the sweet potato mixture to the quinoa, then add the cilantro and lime juice and toss.  Season with salt to taste.  Serve warm.  

(Source:  Adapted from the Food Network)

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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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