Monday, March 21, 2011

Meatless Monday: Red, White & Blue Quinoa Salad

Have you ever seen purple yams? Carole first wrote about them over at NoREATS.  We shop at the same Chinese Supermarket and when I saw that she had picked them up there I ran over and got some myself.  They made some delicious yam fries, their gorgeous purple color and floral flavor was a great compliment to orange yams.  They baked up much crispier than the orange yams and held on to their great color. I had never seen them before so I have a feeling they aren't too readily available, but if you ever see them, you have to pick some up.  You won't be disappointed.

Last week, I had picked up a whole bunch of purple yams, more than I needed for just fries.  When thinking of something to do with these jewels I knew their color and flavor would pair wonderfully with quinoa for a great Meatless Monday Salad.  I found Mark Bittman's Sweet Potato & Quinoa salad and used it as the inspiration for mine, making use of ingredients I keep in the house and what I thought would taste good.  I of course had to add some cheese because just about everything can be made better with cheese.  It will absolutely work without it and make for a nice vegan salad if that's your preference.

Red White & Blue Quinoa Salad
adapted from Mark Bittman's Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad
printable recipe

3/4 cup dried quinoa
2 purple yams - peeled & cut into a 1" dice
1 shallot - minced
2 roasted red peppers - chopped
2 Tbsp goat cheese crumbles
1 Tbsps red wine vinegar
3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil, separated
fresh chopped parsley
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper

1.  Heat oven to 400F.  Toss diced yams in 1 Tbsps of olive oil, salt & pepper.   Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.
2.  Cook quinoa according to package directions while yams roast.  Set aside to cool when done.  Remove cooked yams from oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
3.  In a large bowl toss the quinoa, roasted yams, shallots, red peppers, remaining oil and vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.  Gently toss in the goat cheese crumbles.  Serve garnished with fresh parsley.

The floral yams with the tangy goat cheese worked incredibly well.  The red peppers broke down when they were tossed in the salad, making them almost part of the dressing and infusing the whole salad with that roasted red pepper flavor, it was pleasant surprise that made the whole thing better.


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