Clean eating can mean a multitude of things to different people but, at its core, the ideals of eating pure, real food remain. In essence, clean eating is centered around whole foods and the avoidance of anything processed or refined. I try to eat this way for the most part, but understandably it's not possible to be a purest all the time. My most common "hick up" is during the 3pm post-lunch almost done with work slump, when I retreat to the cafeteria for a pre-packaged Sabra with pretzels and an iced double espresso. However, by focusing on eating foods in their most unadulterated state, you maintain control over what you put into your body and hence your overall health. The recipes I share here, on The Crunchy Radish are my attempt to "keep it clean". Although nothing is quite overtly complex, the recipes remain true to the "real" ingredients which I use and always focus on overall wellness and of course flavor.
If you follow this blog, you are well aware that I am a sucker for a grain salad. Maybe it's because I can make them in bulk and have them to pack for lunch for a few days, or that they continue to get better with age or that I am usually able to compose one on whim with whatever I might have on hand.
This grain salads foundation was quinoa, which pairs well with a lemon herb vinaigrette. The complexity builds when the dressing is tossed with the hot grain and infuses each particle with a tart herby robustness.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweets and Arugula
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 tbsp olive, avocado, or coconut oil
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 3/4 cup water or low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, minced
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1 bunch arugula
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
Preheat oven to 350
Toss the cubed sweet potatoes in oil, a pinch of salt, and a good grinding of pepper.
Roast on a rimmed sheet pan for 20 minutes or until tender and golden.
While the potatoes cook, place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with water or broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the spiraled center is revealed and most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn the burner off and allow the grain to steam for five minutes and then fluff.
While the grain cooks, prepare the dressing. In the serving bowl, whisk together the scallions and parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper.
Toss the cooked and still warmed potatoes in the bowl with the dressing. Add the arugula and quinoa. Ideally, the arugula will wilt a little due to the residual heat of the potatoes and quinoa. Add some more lemon juice or olive oil if needed and finish with avocado.
Quinoa; that magical ancient grain:
- Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids.
- It is loaded with iron. Iron aids with brain function, assists with the transportation of oxygen between cells, and maintains optimal health of red blood cells.
- Quinoa is fiber rich. Fiber stabilizes blood sugar levels, reduces cholesterol, and helps with satiety and weight loss.
- Quinoa is also a good source of manganese, magnesium and riboflavin.
So do as the Inca’s did, and power up with this protein rich grain