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!
Warm Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 1x
- Category: Salad, Entrée, Main Course
- Cuisine: Vegan
This salad is hearty, nutritious and satisfying! The mix of warm and cold makes this the perfect salad for the cold winter months.
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 1 handful chopped romaine hearts
- 1-2 mini sweet potatoes (baked or microwaved)
- ½ cup cooked quinoa (cook in vegetable broth for extra flavour)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- ½ tbsp hemp seeds
- ¼-½ 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 tablespoon sriracha)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2-3 tablespoon water to thin
- 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.
- Rinse and drain quinoa. Bring ½ cup quinoa + 1 cup vegetable broth to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, wash and chop the romaine, chop up the avocado, and prepare the peanut sauce.
Spicy-Sweet Peanut Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously OR combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse.
- 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.
- Makes approx. ½ cup of sauce.
- Mix the spinach and romaine together.
- Top with ½ cup warm quinoa, 1-2 chopped sweet potatoes, chopped avocado, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, and a drizzle (or more) of the peanut dressing.
I love this salad! The dressing is particularly delicious!
Hello Brittany: The salad is very good but the dressing is amazing! I made it today and kept eating it for dinner too. For sure it is now one of my favourite salads. Now I will try more of your recipes. Great blog!
Thanks Laura! I agree on the dressing, it's one of my favourite recipes. Thanks for commenting! 😀
Taylor @ WhatVegetariansEat.com
Wow this sounds so good. Love your food pics, too. I found you on Food Blogger Pro, which I joined specifically to learn more about food photography. Great job! And I can't wait to try this salad - yum!
Thanks Taylor! I recognize you fromthe Food Blogger Pro forums! They've got some great resources that have really improved my food photography. Minimalist Baker has a food blogging course on fizzle.co with some great photography modules (it's only 1$ for the first month and you can easily finish the course in a day). Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope you enjoy the salad!
This looks amazing, and I really want to try it, but my boyfriend is deathly allergic to peanuts so I don't use any nut products in my cooking. You suggest hummus as an alternative to the peanut dressing, but hummus doesn't exactly drizzle. Do you have suggestions for a nut-free dressing that would work with this?
You can thin hummus with a little bit of cold water or vegetable broth! It makes a great dressing that way. But I usually just thoroughly mix hummus into my greens even though it's not liquid it usually does a pretty good job of coating evenly. I just put put the rest of the ingredients on top and make sure to eat it right away.
Thanks. I'll give it a try!
Thalia @ butter and brioche
This sweet potato and quinoa salad is beautiful! And so healthy too. I just love all the fresh flavours and vibrant colours going on in it.. this is a must make recipe for me!
Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it, it's one of my new favourites 😀
Raquel @ My California Roots
Yum Yum Yum. I LOVE warm/cold salads, especially when just mixed. This looks so delicious and fresh!
Thanks Raquel! I've been converted now! I'm definitely going to experiment with warm/cold salads more now.
What a unique idea. Looks delicious and quick . That sauce sounds sooo.. good!
Thanks Cheryl! The sauce IS so good! We've been using it on salads, stir-fries, and veggie wraps.
This sounds delicious and your photographs really showcase the dish! I'm going to give the peanut dressing a spin for sure!
Oh wonderful! I hope you enjoy it 😀