Do you ever dream of lunch at 9AM?

I know I do. It’s everything I can do not to daydream to my refrigerator and throw together ingredient combinations in my mind. There are some sweet potatoes and a stray red onion in the drawer and some kale on the top shelf. Some quinoa in the pantry…and cheese. Always cheese.FullSizeRender-4.jpgDaydreaming is a good thing.

This salad is a reminder that the colder weather brings beautiful things—namely, warm, comforting salads with rich flavors. We’ve got earthy, sweet, creamy, and crunchy all wrapped up in one bite.fullsizerender-3Sweet potato and kale are resident stars in my fridge. We’re sauteeing both to create those gorgeous fall colors.fullsizerenderI added a bit of honey to give these sweet potatoes that signature caramel flavor (I tried creamed honey for the first time and love it!), then added kale and red onion. All the healthfulness of a salad with the comfort of a casserole.fullsizerender-5Quinoa is our grain of the hour, along with dried cranberries, pecans, and Feta cheese. These bright spots of flavor make this salad nothing short of delectable. We’ve got to reward ourselves for all those veggies, right?fullsizerender-1Tossed and drizzled with a honey citrus vinaigrette, and ready for my lunch bowl. Hope your refrigerator daydreams turn out as delicious as this!fullsizerender-2

Warm Harvest Quinoa Salad

serves 4, 216 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, plus water for cooking
  • 1 cup peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (the smaller, the better!)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 stems kale, destemmed and torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese

For the citrus vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions

  1. Add quinoa and one cup of water to a small pot. Heat until boiling, then cover and cook about 15 minutes until quinoa is fluffy. Set aside.
  2. Add sweet potatoes to a non-stick skillet and cook on medium-high until browned. Drizzle honey on sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Add kale and cook for 3 minutes, then add red onion and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add quinoa, cooked vegetables, cranberries, pecans, and cheese. Stir until mixed, then add vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve warm with extra cheese for garnish.
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