Home > Salads > Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad February 26, 2020 | 93 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This lively and fresh Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad combines quinoa with baby spinach, tender roasted sweet potatoes, sweet, dried cranberries, and creamy avocado cubes. A tangy lemon vinaigrette dresses this salad. We love quinoa salads! Try some other favorites next like this Kale and Quinoa salad, this Caprese Quinoa salad, or this Thai Quinoa salad. Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad We’re obsessed with Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad — it’s filled with amazing textures, delicious flavors, and it’s simple to make! And that doesn’t even get into how many nutrients we are packing into this salad. It’s loaded with good-for-you ingredients that make for an incredibly satiating salad. QUICK TIP Quinoa is a great source of plant-based protein which helps to make this salad much more filling than your typical garden salad. One cup of cooked quinoa provides about 8 grams of protein and unlike some plant-based proteins, quinoa is a complete protein. This means it has all nine essential amino acids that our bodies can’t make on their own. Lemon vinaigrette We coat Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad with a light, fresh, healthy, and tangy vinaigrette. There’s Dijon mustard, lemon juice, dried herbs, vinegar, and olive oil. All great ingredients and together, they pack a flavor punch! This is one of the go-to dressing recipes that I always have on hand to drizzle over quick salads or roasted veggies. Here are a few tips: If you prefer your dressings more on the sweet side, increase the honey to 1 tablespoon. As written, this is more of a tangy and acidic dressing. Dress to your preference. I love a generously dressed salad, but I know there are a lot of different preferences here. Add the dressing slowly and to your personal preference. You likely won’t want the entire batch of dressing on this salad, but then again, you just might want it all! I’d rather you have more than not enough. Leftover dressing stores nicely for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. (See “quick tip” below). We use leftover dressing over roasted vegetables, quick side salads, or over raw garden veggies. Vegan dressing: The entire salad is vegan, provided you swap out the honey for a different liquid sweetener. Agave nectar works fine in this situation. QUICK TIP Leftover dressing will likely separate and solidify a bit which is completely normal since olive oil solidifies at cold temperatures. Simply let the dressing stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes and then shake to re-combine– and it’s ready to use! If you don’t want extra dressing (and prefer a minimally dressed salad) feel free to halve the dressing — it halves nicely! Let’s chat sweet potatoes Red and orange sweet potatoes are often labeled as yams at the grocery store–and that’s actually inaccurate. True yams are much larger, starchier, and drier than sweet potatoes, and they have thick and fibrous skin. Skip tan or purple-skinned sweet potatoes (known as the “dry” varieties) and stick with orange or red-skinned sweet potatoes. This variety (known as “moist” varieties) are sweeter and have a creamier texture. My favorite sweet potatoes for roasting in Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad? Either Red Garnet or Jewel. (Here’s an article breaking down different varieties.) For the sweet potatoes to roast in the time indicated in the recipe, be sure to cut them into small, 1/2-inch cubes. This also makes them mix in easier and be more enjoyable in the salad! To see how I cube sweet potatoes, check out this Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe for step-by-step photos. The more space the sweet potatoes have (the less crowded they are) the better they roast. When vegetables are overlapping on a sheet pan, they end up steaming instead of roasting. This will make them softer/mushier in the salad. I recommend using an extra-large sheet pan and making sure the veggies have plenty of space to roast. QUICK TIP When picking a sweet potato at the grocery, store look for firm potatoes without growths or discolorations on their skins. Avoid soft or wet potatoes. Quinoa We eat quinoa salads a lot at my home– especially in the summer with some grilled steak, chicken, or salmon. My number one tip is to prepare the quinoa ahead of time. With cooked and cooled quinoa ready to toss in the salad, the overall prep is so much quicker. Waiting for quinoa to fully cook, steam, and cool isn’t difficult, but can be time-consuming. That said, if you’re making the quinoa at the same time you’re making the salad, here’s how to speed up the process for quinoa cooling: Spread the cooked and fluffed quinoa on a sheet pan in one even layer. Place the sheet pan in the fridge (or freezer) for 10-15 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad: the other toppings Beyond the quinoa and sweet potatoes which we’ve already discussed, there is also baby spinach, avocado, and dried cranberries in this salad. More notes on each below: Avocado. A ripe avocado lends an unbelievable creamy texture! If an avocado yields to firm gentle pressure, you know it’s ripe and ready to eat in this Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad. Dried cranberries. We love sweetened cranberries to add some tangy sweetness, but feel free to use unsweetened or dried tart cranberries instead! Spinach. I recommend baby spinach for this salad and highly recommend giving it a coarse chop — the chop makes it integrate with everything much better and eating it is much more enjoyable. Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad Variation Ideas Add some meat. This salad is vegetarian by default, but feel free to grill some chicken or grilled flank steak (thinly sliced) to serve on the side or to chop and put on top of the salad. (It’s not necessary to add meat to the salad; it’s actually a pretty macronutrient balanced salad with protein in the quinoa, carbohydrates in the sweet potatoes, and healthy fats in the avocado.) Add some meat without cooking. Don’t want to do any more cooking after making this salad? I don’t blame you! Add in some leftover shredded rotisserie chicken (lemon herb-seasoned if you can find it). Change up the herbs. If you aren’t a fan of basil, try cilantro or green onions in this salad. Herbs are optional but add a nice additional dimension of flavor. Add other toppings. There are so many great options for adding to this Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad! Some ideas: roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, pistachios, fresh parsley, feta cheese, goat cheese. (I love the flavor of goat cheese with this salad!) Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad Storage This salad doesn’t sit very well with the dressing and avocado mixed into it. If you aren’t planning on eating the whole salad at one sitting, toss only what you’ll eat on day 1 with the dressing. If you keep the dressing separate, this salad can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days (with the exception of the avocado). Here’s how I store this salad to eat throughout the week: Prepare the salad as the recipe indicates but leave out the avocado and don’t add the dressing. Separate the salad evenly into three or four containers, keeping the prepared dressing in a sealed jar. Store everything in the fridge. For the avocado: On the first day you’ll be enjoying the salad, halve the avocado. Chop 1/4 of the avocado and add it to the salad. Take the remaining avocado and squeeze lemon juice over it all. Store it in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge. Add 1/4 of the avocado each day slicing off the top layer if it’s browned. To enjoy a portion of this quinoa salad each day, add the avocado, pour the dressing over everything, toss to combine, and enjoy! More Quinoa Recipes Quinoa Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado Bruschetta Chicken over a bed of quinoa Quinoa Fried Rice a fun variation on typical fried rice Crockpot Quinoa Tacos with 10 minutes prep! Quinoa Chili with sweet potatoes FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad 4.94 from 31 votes - Review this recipe This lively and fresh Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad combines quinoa with baby spinach, tender roasted sweet potatoes, sweet dried cranberries, and creamy avocado cubes. A tangy lemon vinaigrette dresses this salad. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad 4.94 from 31 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This lively and fresh Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad combines quinoa with baby spinach, tender roasted sweet potatoes, sweet dried cranberries, and creamy avocado cubes. A tangy lemon vinaigrette dresses this salad. Course Main Course, Salad, Vegetarian Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian Keyword sweet potato quinoa salad Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Total Time 50 minutes Servings 4 -6 as a side Author Chelsea Lords Cost $5.52 IngredientsSalad4 cups (1.3 pounds; 550g) cubed(1/2-inch dice) sweet potatoes (~2 medium/large sweet potatoes)1 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oilFine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper1 cup (190g) quinoa (uncooked) + 2 cups water5 cups (4.4 oz.; 125g) fresh baby spinach, stems removed and coarsely chopped1 large avocado, chopped1/3 cup (50g) dried sweetened cranberriesOptional: 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basilLemon Vinaigrette4 tablespoons (59g) red wine vinegar1 and 1/2 tablespoons (26g) Dijon mustard, do not use regular mustard1/2 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon EACH: dried basil, honey1 clove garlic, minced (~1 teaspoon)1/2 cup (108g) extra virgin olive oil1 large lemon (3 tablespoons (47g) juice) InstructionsSWEET POTATOES: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Place on a large sheet pan with plenty of room so the veggies can roast (not steam). Drizzle with olive oil and salt + pepper. (Add to taste; I add 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.) Toss everything to coat, space out the potato cubes, and roast for 15 minutes, and then flip the potatoes and roast for an additional 10-20 minutes or until desired tenderness.QUINOA: Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve in cold water for about 30 seconds. In a small saucepan, combine rinsed quinoa with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover the pan with a lid. Turn heat to the lowest setting and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until the water has completely absorbed in the quinoa. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for 5-10 minutes. After it's finished steaming, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa gently with a fork. Set aside to cool to room temperature. In a hurry? Spread it on a sheet pan and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.DRESSING: Combine all the dressing ingredients and salt and pepper (to taste-- I add 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) into a large Mason jar. Seal and shake until combined. Store in the fridge while you finish the salad. Shake again before dressing the salad. See Note 1.ASSEMBLY: Remove the stems and coarsely chop the spinach. Toss spinach and completely cooled quinoa together. Add in the cooled sweet potatoes, chopped avocado, and cranberries. If desired, add in the basil.ENJOY: (Before adding dressing, read note 2.)Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing. (You'll have some leftover, depending on how dressed you liked your salads. We use about 3/4 of the dressing but add as much as you'd like.) Taste and season once more; I typically add another 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt to the salad. Enjoy immediately. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: To keep the salad fully vegan, swap out the honey for another liquid sweetener, such as agave. Note 2: Storage. Only add dressing to the amount of salad you intend to eat that day. This salad is best eaten immediately after being dressed, so if you want leftovers, only add avocado and dressing to the portion that will be eaten immediately. For more storage tips read the last paragraph of the blog post. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.