Spicy Sweet Potato Winter Salad

spicy sweet potato winter saladspicy sweet potato winter salad spicy sweet potato winter saladwinter saladFor the salad:

  • 1 yam and 1 sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 shallot
  • large handful of mint
  • 1 large red pepper

Cut the sweet potato and yam into small cubes and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake on a cookie sheet covered in parchment for 30 minutes on 400°. Cut the shallot into very thin slivers and combine with chopped pepper and mint leaves **if you despise mint, exchange it with another herb, cilantro or basil would taste great as well** When the potato and yam are finished cooking, allow to cool slightly and then combine with the rest of the ingredients. Serve cold or warm.

for the vinaigrette

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Combine the lemon and orange juice, whisk in the olive oil, add to the salad and you’re done! January is the month of attempting to be healthy and getting your Christmas-cookie-tummy feeling slightly more clean and fresh so I’ve been on the lookout for some interesting new “winter salads” that aren’t just a mound of lettuce leaves. This one is super fast and easy and can even be served over rice which is what I ended up doing. Plus, sweet potatoes are such an underused wonder, they really deserve another chance and combined with some winter citrus, this is one of my new faves.

 recipe inspired via

– <3 A. 

Quinoa-Cucumber Cups with Lemon Vinaigrette

quinoa cucumber cups with lemon vinaigrette

I’m so ready for a new month, aren’t you? Even cooking is impossible in January. There’s only so many soups, pasta, and bread you can eat before longing for some summer fruit and something fresh for a change. While I was pondering my fresh fruit problem and my, I-want-something-different problem, I came up with these Quinoa-cucumber cups with a lemon vinaigrette. Lemons don’t shy away from the winter months like other fruits do, so it’s a perfect, fresh flavor to add to an otherwise seasonally-sad time for fruit. Quinoa is quite the wonder-grain. It’s a spanish seed actually but cooks, tastes, and has the nutritional equivalent to most grains. I discovered it last year and since then have been unabashedly obsessed with the stuff. I think these cups would make the perfect appetizer: they’re simple, tasty, and can be eaten in one bite without a fork.
Untitled-10quinoa recipe

pillsbury pie crust recipeThe crust turned out slightly thicker than I wanted so I would recommend rolling it out a bit more so its thinner. Another option would be to use phyllo dough if you want a super thin, crunchy crust. These mini-silicone cups are also my new fav. They don’t stick to anything, don’t need cooking spray, cook evenly, and are the perfect proportion for an appetizer. I got these at World Market for only a few dollars and they come in a set of 12.

lemon vinaigrette recipe via giada de laurentiis

lemon vinaigrette recipe via giada de laurentiisThis vinaigrette recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis and the only thing I altered was exchanging basil for the parsley. I didn’t have parsley and I think the basil adds a better flavor anyway.

quinoa cucumber cups with lemon vinaigretteI used red pepper and basil flavored Quinoa for this recipe, but you could pretty much use any flavor you like and there’s so many different flavors, you have plenty of choices. Another option, if you aren’t a cucumber fan, fresh zucchini, broccoli, or even bell peppers would taste great with it.

quinoa cucumber cups with lemon vinaigrette

easy appetizers

quinoa cucumber appetizer with lemon vinaigretteThe silicon cups are so cute you could even serve the appetizer in it–with or without though, I think they’re adorable. Hope this perks up your winter-recipe list, there’s nothing like lemons to cut through the winter-food-blues.

-<3 A. 

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