This easy Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad recipe makes the perfect healthy lunch for any day of the week. This gluten-free salad is made with dried cranberries, kale, pumpkin seeds and a sweet and zesty lime dressing and is totally delicious!
Because this girl loves a good salad!
And because sweet potatoes are tasting extra delicious this time of year. Yes – they are delicious every day of the year but there’s just something so warm and cozy about all the carbs when the cooler weather comes around!Print
A deliciously sweet and zesty Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad recipe all dressed up in a zesty lime vinaigrette. Fluffy white quinoa dressed in a zesty lime dressing with roasted sweet potato, cranberries, and kale made into a pretty fantastic and easy-to-make salad.
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, washed, peeled and cut into 1 cm chunks (about 3 cups sweet potato)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 cup dried quinoa
- 1 cup water or stock
- 1 cup finely chopped kale (optional but recommended)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped (I like an equal combination of cilantro and parsley)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (I like red or green onion)
- 2–3 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
For the Dressing:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or use more lime juice)
- 1 tablespoon honey (or try maple syrup or agave, if vegan)
- 1/8 teaspoon (each) ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
For the Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a baking mat for easy clean up.
- Transfer the chopped sweet potato to the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Gently toss the sweet potatoes with your hand to coat. Lightly season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cover the sweet potatoes loosely with a piece of foil and bake for 20 minutes, or when the potatoes are tender.
- Remove from the foil covering and let potatoes cool slightly before handling.
For the Quinoa:
- While the sweet potatoes are roasting, add dried quinoa and cooking liquid (water or stock) to a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid.
- Let the quinoa cook for 10-12 minutes or until fluffy and no water remains (or follow package directions).
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly in pot before handling.
For the Dressing:
- While the quinoa is cooking, add oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey (or sweetener of choice), spices and salt to a bowl or mason jar. Whisk or shake until the salad dressing comes together. Adjust sweetness, salt or lime to taste, if needed. Set aside.
For the Salad:
- In a large mixing bowl, add the slightly cooled sweet potatoes, slightly cooked quinoa, chopped kale, cranberries, onions and fresh herbs.
- Pour the dressing over top of the veggies and quinoa. Gentle stir to combine, ensuring everything is evenly coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Garnish with raw pumpkin seeds on top.
- Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
HOW TO MAKE THIS QUINOA SALAD WITH SWEET POTATO AND CRANBERRIES RECIPE…
Roasting your sweet potatoes are a must here! For one – who doesn’t like roasted vegetables? And for two – roasted sweet potatoes hold their shape better than boiled or steamed potatoes (ie. the ones that end up being soggy, mushy or too watery). I cut the sweet potato into itty-bitty bite-sized pieces, about 1 cm or so, and I think that works best here. (I tried with larger chunks of sweet potato and with those bigger pieces you don’t get little bits of sweet potato with every bite, which is obviously super important.
The cranberries are a sweet and tangy touch to this salad and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They give a sweet bite and a chewy texture, which fits in perfectly with this super autumn-inspired salad. Other amazing things stirred into this salad – kale (obvs.), onion (your choice of red, green, white), and raw pumpkin seeds and herbs, like cilantro and parsley.
This salad really does have ALL the textures.
And that dressing! (Insert a million heart-eye emojis please!) Dressings, sauces, and spreads are my weakness and this one is no exception. Olive oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, honey and just a pinch of spice – like cinnamon and cayenne and cumin. It’s zesty and a little sweet with a little bit of earthy goodness from the spices. It brings the sweet potatoes and the quinoa and the fresh herbs and the cranberries together in one delicious grainy salad.
And if you’re feeling like this dinner or lunch needs a little extra punch of protein feel free to add in some roasted chickpeas, some cooked chicken seasoned with cumin, cayenne and just a pinch of cinnamon or add some creamy, crumbled goat cheese on top.
MORE ABOUT THIS SWEET POTATO KALE CRANBERRY QUINOA SALAD…
This Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad recipe was inspired by an absolutely delicious salad I was completely obsessed with from many years back now. It was insanely good. And I would walk down to the source, my local health food shop, almost daily around 5:30 just when I would get home from work, to get my daily fix. It was just that good. There was just something about it – sweet, spicy, crunchy, filling, delicious, satisfying.
Heart-eyes times a million, for sure.
The funny thing though, I was never ever able to recreate it on my own. Something was always missing. It was always just a little bit off. And it never turned out as good as the store-bought one. Fast-forward about 6-ish years and that salad is still on my mind.
Is that weird?
Probably. But I don’t even care because all the weirdness of this nostalgic salad situation is remedied with each bite of this sweet potato and quinoa combination.
Today I have taken the memories of that sweet potato salad and its key ingredients like sweet potato, cranberry, onion, and lime and added delicious (and healthy!) things like quinoa, honey and a pinch of cinnamon, cayenne, and cumin to make this fantastic twist on my old favourite.
Is it as good as the original? Probably not. But I do know that this one is loaded with only real food ingredients, has much less added sugar and is overall a healthier option.
Taking a favourite take-out meal and cleaning it up (ie. ditching the refined flours and sugars, chemicals, preservatives and other questionable ingredients) so that it actually tastes good and is good for you has become one of my favourite challenges in the kitchen and something that I’ve really come to love and appreciate.
Don’t get me wrong, some nights I love the convenience of take-out. And not going to lie, it’s *usually* delicious and easy and all of that. But more often than not, take-out in any form leaves me feeling a touch on the icky side (bloating, sleepiness, headaches I am talking to you!).
I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to sacrifice flavour or many bites of your favourite dishes. Learning to make your favourites at home can be fun and easy and equally delicious (and much, much better for you too!).
This Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad was originally published in October 2016. The recipe and photos were updated in October 2018. Thank you for supporting Always Nourished and making recipes like this one possible!