So, tonight, I had planned this elaborate feast for one (me, because Mark has game night with his friends on Wednesdays). I was going to make broccoli raab and polenta, both things that Mark can’t stomach because of the texture. I mixed up a fabulous martini with a Seattle-distilled vodka I found yesterday. (Eb + Flow, I think. It’s very interesting. Considering I’m usually a gin girl, I was very impressed. But it’s much, much better dirty than with a twist.) I got out my broccoli raab to wash and chop and… it was totally rotten. Awesome. Into the yard waste with the rest of my compost it went. The other veg I was going to feature in my meal was sweet potato. Saddened and devoid of ideas, I turned to Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and found, indexed under “Sweet Potato,” “Quinoa and Sweet Potato Salad.” As my knight in shining green armor usual does, he saved me.
Here’s my adaptation, with the addition of Dijon, mayo and walnuts. It turned out AMAZING. I am obsessed with it. I want to make 15 gallons of it and eat it for lunch every single day for the rest of my life. Seriously. But more realistically, I’d recommend doubling it, unless you’re only trying to feed yourself. I boiled the quinoa and sweet potatoes separately, but it ended up taking about the same amount of time, so I’ll bet you could save a pot and do them in the same one. I’m also kind of obsessed with the minced parsley you get in tiny frozen cubes at Trader Joe’s or almost any grocery store. So healthy, so tasty, so easy. Won’t create much heat and can be served cold, so it’s perfect for summer, but serve it warm and it’s hearty and satisfying the rest of the year, too. What’s not to love? Make some!!
Oh, and one last word about ingredients: I’m going to pull an Ina Garten here and demand that you use good balsamic vinegar. I just got mine at Trader Joe’s, but spend the extra 80-cents and get one that’s aged and doesn’t have any non-grape ingredients. It will last longer and be more delicious.
Time commitment: 30 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- 1 small to medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegan mayo
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 or 2 dashes onion powder
- 3 teaspoons (= 1 tablespoon) minced parsley
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- (If you haven’t toasted your walnuts yet, preheat the oven to 350 and put walnuts in a baking dish.) Fill up a pot with about 3 quarts of water. Add a couple big pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, stir, reduce to a little more than a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add your sweet potatoes and cook till both are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain using a strainer.
- While the other stuff stuff is cooking, mix up your vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mayo, mustard and onion powder till smooth. Add water (up to a couple of tablespoons) to achieve desired consistency. Stir in parsley.
- Add cooked and drained quinoa and sweet potatoes to a medium mixing bowl. Add walnuts. Stir to combine. Add vinaigrette, and stir well to combine. Serve warm right away with bread, or chill and serve cold.