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Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Feta Salad

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Feta Salad, Naturopath recipe, what is quinoa

This Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Feta Salad is a nutrient-dense, protein-packed and incredibly delicious! It’s gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free.

Eat this salad on it’s own, as a side dish or as a major part of a meal with some seared lean meat, fish or chicken. It will easily serve 4-6 people as a side dish or about 3 people as a main.

Leftovers are great cold for lunch the next day. Make extra so you have lunches ready to go for the week!

What is quinoa?

Quinoa (pron. keen-wa) originated in Central America, where it’s been used for centuries. Although technically a seed, it’s classified as a whole grain.

It’s highly nutritious and protein-rich as it contains all of the nine essential amino acids (so it’s great for vegans and vegetarians), as well as high amounts of magnesium, calcium, B-vitamins and other minerals. Quinoa cooks in half the time of brown rice, can be used in all sorts of dishes and can also be ground into flour.

It can easily be found these days in supermarkets, organic stores, and health food shops. Choose the tri-coloured quinoa, as the red and black quinoa contain polyphenols which can feed our beneficial microbes.

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Feta Salad

· 2-3 cups of cooked tri-coloured quinoa (equates to about 1-1.5 cup of uncooked quinoa)
· ½-1 large orange sweet potato diced, depending on how much sweet potato you’d like through the quinoa
· 2-3 cups of fresh spinach & rocket leaves (or some lightly stir-fried chopped kale)
· pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds lightly toasted and sprinkled with sea salt
· ½ cup chopped feta (cow, sheep or goat’s feta – optional, but does add flavour)
· chopped continental parsely or coriander (optional)
· currants (optional)
· olive oil
· salt and pepper

Heat oven to 180-200C. Start cooking one cup of well-rinsed quinoa in the rice cooker or saucepan (see below for separate cooking instructions).
Dice ½ a large sweet potato (or one small).

Once the oven is at temperature, put in a baking tray with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for a few minutes to warm the oil..
Carefully take the baking tray out of the oven and add the diced sweet potato, mixing it around in the warmed olive oil – it should cook in about 20-30 mins depending on your oven.

Once the quinoa is cooked, fluff it up with a fork and spoon into a large serving bowl. Stir through a little olive oil (or you could use the olive oil from the sweet potato), sea salt and black pepper. Then stir through the cooked sweet potato, the fresh spinach and rocket leaves and any fresh herbs you’d like to include. Gently stir through the feta, and if you’d like to use currants, you can stir these through at the same time.

Generously sprinkle the top with lightly toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds and serve.

Quinoa Cooking Instructions

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly by rubbing grains together in water in order to remove the bitter-tasting saponins. Saponins are the sticky substance on the outer part of the grain which naturally repels birds and insects, but may irritate digestion and can occasionally cause allergy/ intolerance in humans. Don’t skip this step as the quinoa will taste bitter!

Bring 2-3 cups water to boil and add 1 cup quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
You can also use a rice cooker for cooking quinoa – 2 cups of water per cup of quinoa (you may need to add a little extra water if the quinoa is still a little crunchy when it’s almost finished cooking).

Other Ways to Enjoy Quinoa

As well as being excellent for mixing through salads, cooked quinoa is lovely made into a porridge and topped with berries, apple and a sprinkling of cinnamon for breakfast. Serve it plain as a rice or pasta substitute. It works well as a base for veggie burgers and adding to cakes, muffins and savoury slices.

Quinoa also freezes really well if you have excess. Freeze in individual portions for an easy lunch for when you are time poor (as most people are during lunch breaks).

You might also like to try my other recipes.

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