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Warm Quinoa Salad

This delightful warm quinoa salad includes sweet potatoes, dandelion (or other greens), scallions, and dried cranberries. It’s dressed with my dairy-free Creamy Dill Dressing and is very easy to put together.

The combination of ingredients is super yummy and healthy. It can be served as a side-dish with dinner, or as a main course for lunch. This dish is fancy enough for a formal holiday spread, yet also perfect for informal potlucks. I prefer to enjoy this salad while it’s still warm, but leftovers are also delicious right out of the refrigerator.

In my experience, this recipe is enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike. Hardcore omnivore in your clan? No problem, there’s also an optional omnivore variation.

Warm Quinoa Salad close up
Warm Quinoa Salad

Method Overview

  • If you don’t have a high speed blender, presoak or precook cashews
  • Steam cubed sweet potatoes; cook quinoa
  • Chop dandelions greens and scallions
  • Blend dressing ingredients and fold everything together

Dandelion Musings

Bitter greens help our liver and kidneys wake up and rid our body of the sluggishness that winter typically creates – so it’s fortunate that bitter greens are usually available in the springtime.

I’ve been having a bit of early spring fever lately – and then when I went to the market I found beautiful dandelions greens which added more fuel to my longing for spring! So I bought a bunch and got busy making this recipe. The sweetness of the sweet potato and cranberries complements the bitter greens nicely. No dandelions available in your area? Don’t worry, this quinoa salad is also perfectly lovely when made with spinach or arugula.

Why are dandelion greens healthy?

They contain generous amounts of beta carotene (the precursor for vitamin A), vitamin C, iron, calcium and potassium. They also contain diuretic properties, helping to flush excess water and toxins from the kidneys and liver. Synthetic diuretics deplete the body of potassium, but instead dandelions provide potassium. Dandelion greens, like all bitter greens, stimulate the production of bile, which aids digestion.

Bundle of dandelion greens
Quinoa Salad served in three side-dish bowls with dandelion greens and fresh dill in the background
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Warm Quinoa Salad

Course: main course, salad, side dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: festive, healthy
Servings: 6 side-dish servings
Calories: 261kcal

Equipment

  • covered pan with steaming basket
  • pan for cooking quinoa
  • high-speed blender (or other blender)

Ingredients

To make the Creamy Dill Dressing

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed, or 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons dry dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Judy's Sage and Rosemary Blend (see notes), optional but wonderful
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

To make the Warm Quinoa Salad

  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/4 pound dandelion greens
  • 4 to 5 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, such as Made In Nature brand

Instructions

  • Place all of the dressing ingredients into a high speed blender. Don't blend quite yet; set aside.
    If you don't have a high speed blender you'll need to either pre-soak or pre-cook the cashews (see notes).
  • Steam the cubed sweet potato until tender when poked with a paring knife.
  • In the meantime, rinse then cook the quinoa using the "pasta method". Try to time it so the quinoa is ready when the sweet potato is cooked.
  • While the sweet potato and quinoa are cooking, prepare the dandelion greens. Wash the dandelions and drain. Cut off the stems (set aside to be used for another recipe) then chop the leaves into thin slices. Put them into a large serving bowl.
  • Put the hot cooked sweet potatoes and quinoa into the bowl with the dandelion greens; the heat will wilt the greens just right. Add the chopped scallions and dried cranberries.
  • Blend the dressing well, scraping the sides of your blender jar as needed. If you have a high speed blender, the dressing will become hot and steamy.
    Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad. Gently fold until everything is combined and serve.

Notes

  • You can substitute chopped spinach or chopped arugula for the dandelion greens if you prefer.
  • No high-speed blender? No problem. You can make the Creamy Dill Dressing with a non high-speed blender or bullet blender – but you’ll have to either presoak or precook the cashews first.
    • To presoak cashews: Place the cashews in a bowl with at least 1-1/3 cups of water; cover with a kitchen towel and let them soak for 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse well. Now the cashews are recipe-ready.
    • To precook cashews: Gently simmer the cashews in at least 1-1/3 cups of water for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Now the cashews are recipe-ready.
  • To make Judy’s Sage and Rosemary Blend: Blend equal amounts of dried sage and dried rosemary using a spice grinder or bullet blender.

Nutrition

Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 194mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 10054IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 3mg
These are refrigerated leftovers that I served the next day – still delicious!

Optional Omnivore Variation

Add a bit of cut-up cooked shrimp to the omnivore’s portion(s) before serving.

If you enjoy this Warm Quinoa Salad recipe, you may also like my Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes recipe.

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