This delicious salad is an absolute crowd pleaser. It has lots of lovely middle eastern flavours thanks to the cumin and sumac spiced sweet potato, the tangy tahini dressing and hands down the prettiest salad ingredient ever.....beautiful pomegranate jewels.
It is hearty enough that we often have this salad on its own for lunch or dinner (and it packs a protein punch thanks to the quinoa, tahini and almonds) but it looks beautiful as part of a big lunch spread and it will definitely be making an appearance on our Christmas lunch menu.
Ingredients for the salad:
2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into large bite sized pieces (you can leave the skin on or peel it off, up to you)
1½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons of ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon of sumac
sea salt and pepper
1 cup of white quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and then drained (you must rinse your quinoa well to remove the bitter taste which comes from the saponin, a naturally occurring chemical that coats every grain of quinoa)
1½ cups of baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
Large handful of continental parsley leaves, roughly chopped
The arils of 1 large pomegranate (or 2 if they are on the small side)
1¼ cup of almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
Ingredients for the dressing:
1½ Tbsp of unhulled tahini
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sumac
2 tsp honey or rice malt syrup
¼ cup water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 170C and line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl add the 1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ½ tsp sumac, ¼tsp turmeric, 1½ tsp ground cumin and some salt and pepper. Mix together well and then add the sweet potato and mix so that all the potato is coated with the oil and spices.
Spread the sweet potato out on your baking tray and roast for approximately 1 hour or until tender and then set aside to cool.
Place your rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with 1½ cups of water and a good pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12-14 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand, covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork and then transfer the quinoa into a large salad/serving bowl.
Add the cooled sweet potato to your quinoa along with the spinach, parsley, half of your chopped almonds and half of your pomegranate seeds (reserve the rest for sprinkling on top)
To make the salad dressing simply combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning to your taste. If necessary, you can add a little more water to achieve a thinner consistency.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix gently to combine.
Finally, sprinkle over the remaining pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds and enjoy!