Healthy Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing is rich in plant-based protein, pantry-friendly, and easy to make. Oil-free option.
Heart-healthy and satisfying, serve this salad warm in the fall, or at room temperature in the summer months. Either way, this delicious dish never fails to please.
The crunchy cashews and creamy lemony-tahini dressing compliment the salad perfectly.
For the salad:
- Sweet potato
- Olive oil or coconut aminos
- Dried thyme
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- Salt and black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
For the dressing:
- Maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- Lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
This recipe for Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing comes together smoothly, with the sweet potato, quinoa, and onions all cooking at the same time. Plus, the dressing can be made while the other ingredients are cooking.
Cut one large sweet potato into ¾-inch pieces.
Make sure to wash the quinoa.
Meanwhile, cook the onions.
While the onions are cooking, add the dressing ingredients to a small container or bowl.
Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Mix the arugula into the warm quinoa until just wilted. Add the sweet potato and onions.
Mix in the cashews for serving. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing.
Variations for Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad with Tahini:
- Sweet potato - instead of sweet potato, you can use butternut squash
- Yellow onion - use red onion instead -finely chop and do not cook
- Seasonings - use preferred seasonings or what you have on hand for the sweet potato -or use fresh herbs
- Cashews - use slivered almonds, or chopped pecans and walnuts instead of cashews- or omit the cashews for nut-free
- Olive oil - substitute the oil for coconut aminos or balsamic vinegar for oil-free
- Tahini dressing - substitute for a different dressing to change things up
See this Chipotle Tahini dressing on my website!
Grating garlic directly into the dressing adds more flavor. A microplane or fine grater works perfectly. Or you can use a garlic press if preferred.
Refrigerate the Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad separate from the cashews and tahini dressing. Recombine for serving. Good for 2-3 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
Rinse the quinoa well to remove some of the saponins. This makes the quinoa less bitter.
Transfer the quinoa and water in a 2:1 ratio (liquid:quinoa) to a saucepan.
Use a saucepan that comfortably holds the quinoa and liquid, but not one which is overly large.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat so the liquid comes to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Let the quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes after cooking so that it can steam. This makes it more fluffy. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa. Do not mix it with a spoon or it will become mushy.
Quinoa is botanically a seed. It is one of the few plant sources that is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. Because your body is unable to produce some amino acids, it must get them from food sources. Neither brown nor white rice is a complete protein. In fact, rice contains only a few amino acids.
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Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad with Tahini
- 1 large sweet potato cut into ¾-inch pieces (about 2 ½ cups)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling, or coconut aminos
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 2 medium yellow onions sliced thinly into rings
For the tahini dressing:
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt & black pepper to taste
- 2 cups arugula packed
- ½ cup cashews or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or use a nonstick sheet.
- Roast the sweet potato: Transfer the sweet potato to the prepared baking sheet. Add the thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly with the oil and seasoning. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender, tossing halfway.
- Cook the quinoa: Transfer the quinoa with 2 cups water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Cook the onions: Meanwhile, cook the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. (Or add 1 tablespoon coconut aminos with the onions.) Cook the onions for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Drizzle with more coconut aminos and cook for 1 minute more (optional).
- Prepare the dressing: Meanwhile, to a medium jar, add the tahini, lemon juice, Dijon, maple syrup, and ⅓ cup water. Grate the garlic into the jar using a microplane or fine grater. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until the ingredients are well combined. Add salt and pepper.
- Assemble for serving: Use a fork to fluff the quinoa. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Mix in the arugula. Add the sweet potato, onions, and cashews and mix to combine. Drizzle with the desired amount of tahini dressing for serving.
- Toss the sweet potato with a generous drizzle of coconut aminos when seasoning. Omit the olive oil.
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons coconut aminos at the same time as the onions and cook until caramelized. Omit the olive oil.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.