As much as I love my Autumn soups, stews, and chilis, I’m still a year-round salad-eater. But during this time of year I trade in my light and fruity salads for hearty and savory ones instead. This Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad fits the bill because it holds all the flavors of Fall and eats like a full on meal!
The arugula holds up to these wholesome salad toppings and adds a peppery bite. The wild rice gives a nutty, chewiness that’s best when the rice is added to the salad while it’s still warm. A friend turned me on to the idea of warm rice in salad years ago, and OMG! I passed that tip on to my husband while we were dating, and I’m pretty sure that’s what convinced him I was “the one.” 😉 The sweet potato gives the salad even more oomph, and along with the dried cranberries, a little sweetness. The toasted almonds add the necessary crunch, and the lemon tahini dressing is what really brings it all together.
Okay, before we get to the recipe, let’s talk nutrition real quick. Arugula is a green leafy vegetable. In case you’ve been living under a rock: these are very good for you. Arugula has anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants. It’s rich in folic acid, vitamins A, B(s), C, and K, and also contains iron.
Sweet potatoes are packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, B(s), C, and E, and also boast antioxidant properties. They’re high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, making them a must-have if you’ve been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes or are just trying to stabilize your blood sugar (p.s. That’s all of us). They also bring your chili game to a whole new level!
Wild rice is a good source of folate and other B vitamins. It’s high quality protein provides a wide range of amino acids, and it has far more antioxidants than white rice. It also offers vital minerals like iron, phosphorous, zinc, and magnesium.
Almonds are a healthy source of plant-based protein and fat. They supply us with a good dose of fiber and a plethora of vitamins and minerals to grow strong, healthy babies, perhaps most notably calcium. They’re also a common galactagogue, said to enhance lactation and breastmilk quality in nursing mothers.
The dried cranberries contribute a little dose of vitamins C and E, iron, potassium, and natural sweetness without added sugar. The dressing includes tahini and olive oil, both supplying us mamas with healthy fats. Tahini is another one of those lactation-enhancing foods, too, by the way.
Alright, alright, now onto the fooooood!
- 1 cup wild rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup almond slivers
- 1 5-ounce bag arugula
- 1/2 c dried cranberries
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 teaspoon red miso paste
- 1 medium lemon, juiced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- Place the rice in a mesh strainer and rinse under running water. Place the rinsed rice in a pot over high heat, along with 4 cups of water and teaspoon of olive oil. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 45 minutes, or until the grains are tender and all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
- While the rice cooks, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and dice the sweet potato. Toss with olive and coconut oils, garlic powder, cayenne and salt. Spread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until sweet potato pieces are tender and lightly browned.
- Toast the almond slivers in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat on the stove, tossing until browned.
- For the dressing, place the garlic clove in a food processor and pulse a until finely minced. Scrape down the sides, add the remaining ingredients up to the water, and blend. Add the water bit by bit until desired consistency is reached.
- Assemble the salad by putting the arugula in a large serving platter, and then topping it with warm rice, sweet potato, almond slivers, and cranberries. Drizzle dressing on top, toss, and serve!
- 1/2 cup diced sweet potato
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
- pinch of garlic powder
- 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
- 1-2 teaspoons tahini
- optional: 1/4 cup water
- Before tossing the diced sweet potato from the grown-up recipe in salt and cayenne, set about 1/2 cup aside. Toss this in olive and coconut oils and garlic powder, and then roast in a separate pan (I like to use a pie tin) alongside the other sweet potato. Baby's sweet potato will probably be done before mommy's, so check to see when it turn's soft, but not yet crispy. Mix with about 1/2 cup cooked wild rice and a drizzle of tahini and olive oil. Option to puree this mixture with a little purified water. Otherwise, the roasted sweet potato pieces can be a fun finger food for babies who are ready.