This Fall Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a burst of autumn flavors in every bite. With roasted sweet potatoes, roasted beets, and healthful quinoa, this fall salad provides plenty of nutrition while making your taste buds extremely happy.
Confession: I played hooky last week.
I had a full lineup of work scheduled for the busy week. But by noon one serendipitous day, after polishing off half a bag of popcorn in front of my laptop, I looked out the window and knew I was going to succumb to The Call of the Wild.
We’re not talking Jack London, though I do like sleds and dogs.
We’re talking 45F, light breezes, and rays of happy sunshine. If 40’s sound cold to you, allow me a moment of jealousy. Weather like that is rare in Minneapolis when the calendar says November.
So I grabbed The Bulldogge and we headed to the lake nearby for a realllyyy long lunch break. After 5+ miles on the trails, we put our Serious back on and got down to business.
I’m getting really good at this work-life balance thing. Work, play, rest, repeat.
Speaking of balance, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying this fall salad recipe. This one’s loaded with the the goodness of quinoa, beets, sweet potatoes, and kale. This sweet potato salad is undeniably healthy yet huge on flavors. Totally, wholly, perfectly balanced.
Bonus: This fall salad recipe is so easy to prep ahead, and the ingredients keep well for several days; just toss and eat when you’re ready.
Did I mention the amazing maple vinaigrette dressing? Read on, Friends…
Tips for making fall quinoa sweet potato salad with maple vinaigrette:
- If your store carries pre-cut sweet potatoes, grab them. Just do it. It will make your life that much easier. Unless you’re the winter-farmer type, in which case, I may be asking you for gardening help.
- One might be tempted to skip the roasting of sweet potatoes and beets, but please roast them. It’s super easy to roast your own veggies, and they taste So. Much. Better.
- I use fire roasted corn from frozen (thank you, Trader Joe’s) but feel free to use your favorite sweet corn kernels if you can’t find the fire roasted ones.
- Quinoa should always be rinsed thoroughly before cooking, as the rinsing helps remove a slight bitter flavor that can sometimes accompany quinoa. I use my super fine sieve to ensure my quinoa stays put during rinsing.
- I keep extra Maple Vinaigrette dressing in an airtight bottle for all the future salads. The dressing lasts several weeks in fridge.
- If you’re into make-ahead recipes, you’re so in luck. This quinoa salad can be fully prepped the day before and tossed right before you serve. I generally have all the components of this fall salad ready to go in separate containers. Just toss and eat whenever you like. It’s like nirvana for all you meal preppers out there.
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This Fall Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a burst of autumn flavors in every bite. With roasted sweet potatoes, roasted beets, and healthful quinoa, this fall salad provides a plenty of nutrition while making your taste buds extremely happy.
Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 TB pure maple syrup
2 TB coarse, whole seed Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder (or dried minced onion)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground lack pepper
For the Salad:
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper
2 small beets, whole
1/2 cup dry rainbow quinoa, rinsed/drained, and cooked according to package instructions*
1 cup fire roasted corn (from can or frozen, drained)
2 cups baby kale leaves
crumbled feta cheese
salted/roasted pumpkin seeds
Do ahead: In a bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined. Transfer to a dressing bottle and chill until ready to use.
Set oven to 450F, with rack on middle position. Wrap beets tightly in foil and roast on a lined baking pan for 1 hour or until beets are tender. Once cool enough to touch, unwrap roasted beets, gently peel, and cube. Set aside until ready to use.
Set oven to 450F, with rack on upper middle position. Line a large baking sheet with foil; grease foil and set aside. Place peeled/cubed sweet potatoes on sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast 20-30 minutes or until tender. Let cool and set aside.
When ready to serve: All ingredients should be cooled or at room temp before combining. In serving bowl, gently toss together the roasted sweet potatoes, roasted beets, quinoa, corn, and kale. Add desired amount of prepared Maple Vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add desired toppings and serve immediately.
*When cooking quinoa, I prefer to use vegetable or chicken broth instead of plain water. Allow cooked quinoa to fully cool before using in salad.
*Keep in mind that almost everything in this salad can be prepped ahead of time. Once roasted veggies are cool, cover and keep in fridge until ready to use. Do not add dressing until ready to serve.
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