I can remember my grandmother being able to make extraordinary meals and sweet treats. I was always surprised how some leftovers, a few fresh ingredients, and the kitchen basics created a new meal in a matter of minutes. She didn’t need a cookbook, anything fancy, or hours of prep, but somehow everything was delicious. Grandmothers are the best!
Yesterday was the first time I walked into the kitchen to make dinner and had no idea where to start. I grabbed sweet potatoes out of the pantry and opened the refrigerator to find apples and kale…a lightbulb went off! This was the first time I stood in my kitchen with no idea of what I wanted and no plan, but somehow created a simple and very healthy dinner. I couldn’t help but think if my grandmother was watching she would have been proud.
First, I started the quinoa on the stovetop. While it was cooking, I sautéed the sweet potatoes in olive oil until they were almost cooked through, about 7 minutes, and then added the kale and continued cooking until both were tender, about two more minutes.
I removed the skillet from the stovetop and added a diced apple and some dried cherries. I knew if the dried cherries were in there the girls wouldn’t turn it down. The quinoa finished cooking as soon as I finished mixing everything in the sweet potatoes and kale — perfect timing!! I added the quinoa to the sweet potato mixture, but it still needed something, so I whisked together a quick vinaigrette.
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 tsp honey dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
Done. Start to finish 30 minutes.
My girls loved it, but I did add a few things to their dish — a sprinkle of goat cheese and a few chopped pecans. My oldest, who recently ate Applegate Chicken Sausage for the first time, said, “this would be perfect if it had sausage!” Not a bad idea from a four year old! If you eat meat, add the sausage to the skillet while you are cooking the sweet potatoes.
Sounds like she’ll be cooking for me one day. :)
|Sweet Potato, Apple and Kale Quinoa Salad||
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed if needed
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups peeled and diced sweet potato, about 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
- 4 cups chopped kale, discard the ribs
- 1 large apple, diced with lemon juice squeezed to prevent browning
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe above)
- Optional toppings: chopped pecans and goat cheese
- Add the quinoa and vegetable broth to a medium pot, and turn on to high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer until cooked, about 12 – 15 minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking — add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated add the diced sweet potatoes and salt, then cover. Stir occasionally, and if it starts to brown too much, add a little water or broth. Cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes, then add the kale and continue to stir until it wilts, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Check on the quinoa — should be almost done at this point.
- Add the diced apple and cherries to the sweet potatoes.
- Once quinoa is cooked and cooled slightly add it to the sweet potatoes.
- Spoon in the vinaigrette, a couple tbsp at a time. We used about half the total vinaigrette, but add what works best for you!
- Top with goat cheese and chopped pecans, optional.
- Serve warm, room temperature, or cold!