Monday, April 4, 2016

Spiced & Roasted Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

This is my new favorite lunch. It's simple, part of it can be made ahead of time, and it's such a feel good dish.

I've really been making a conscious effort to eat better lately. Every time I say that, I make a disclaimer that me trying to be healthy does not mean that I deny myself any of the epicurean pleasures in life. And it's still true. This salad is the quintessential example of this though. It's so good for you, but it's super delicious and does not taste like a denial meal at all. That being said, I am someone that loves vegetables and bright, colorful foods and that is why I love this dish. This isn't the type of meal that will trick your tastebuds into thinking you're enjoying a honking huge burger. It's meant to be healthy, meant to taste healthy, but still be delicious.

Honestly, if you're not keen on healthy eating, it's likely because you're not used to it. I thank the stars that mum forced vegetables into our diet constantly because it means that I crave them and a meal without veg makes me feel sad and sick. That being said, the human body is meant to live on a balanced diet and I think that the more you eat good food, the more your body will crave it and your mind will crave it too because you'll learn how good it makes you feel.

Okay, let me hop off of my soap box (especially because my next queued post is steak frites, which is basically a lard bomb of a meal) and let's get onto the recipe, shall we?
Ingredients [serves 6]:
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 lemon
+ 4 cups arugula
+ 8 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
+ 2 oz. feta, crumbled
+ ¼ cup dried cranberries

Start by peeling the potatoes and cut them into wedges and spread them onto a sheet pan along with some smashed garlic. Drizzle with lots of olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper, and spices. Toss to disperse the seasonings evenly and then roast in a 400F oven for about an hour, or until the wedges are tender.
Similarly, spread the (soaked overnight) chickpeas onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices. Toss together. Roast at 400F for 30 to 45 minutes or until the chickpeas are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
Finish off the chickpeas with a generous squeeze of lemon juice all over.
The sweet potato and chickpeas will keep well in the fridge for about a week. I made the huge batch pictured above so that I could have lunch set up for the entire week.
To assemble the actual salad, grab a pile of arugula, top with some sweet potato and a scoop of chickpeas. Then, crumble on some feta and top with some sun dried tomatoes and dried cranberries. Dress the salad simply with a squeeze of lemon and it's good to go.
This salad makes me so happy. First of all, it's gorgeous. Secondly, it's full of good-for-you ingredients and it tastes amazing. I love the textural contrast of the tender sweet potato to the crisp chickpeas and the crunchy greens. The acidity of the lemon goes beautifully with the sweetness of the sweet potato and the spices that were sprinkled onto the chickpeas and potato add a ton of flavor. The saltiness and creaminess of the cheese adds a bit of decadence. It's just so good.
By the way, when I made this for lunch at work, I stored the sweet potato and chickpea in a little container and microwaved it just to wake it up. And I stored the greens and dried fruit and cheese in a separate container and assembled the salad at work. And of course, a lemon wedge was packed in my lunch bag too.

I like to keep vegetarian for breakfast and lunch (it's just something I like to do for my conscience and my body) and this totally filled me up. But if you think you need a little more protein, grilled chicken would be amazing on top of this. And if you think you need some more carbs, a little orzo or quinoa would be delicious.
Here's the recipe page:

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