Now that the Holidays are over and the New Year is officially here, it’s time to start cracking back down on our diets. I know that I was sure easy going with what I was eating. I almost forget what portion control is…
Which brings me to todays recipe! It’s a great way to easily transition into healthier eating, either for the first time or returning.
No- it’s not a green detox salad. I’m not big on green salads. I find them lacking. I always seem to be incredibly hungry and unsatisfied after them. Personally, I prefer a hearty grain salad that is nutritionally pumped up. My favorites are quinoa and millet salads. You could use either here. Some grain salads have a larger green to grain ratio, but this one is definitely higher on the grain ratio and uses cooked spinach rather than raw greens (although you could certainly go raw!).
Really, as with any salad, the flavor choices for this salad bowl are endless.
If you don’t like/have sweet potatoes you can use butternut squash or delicata squash (LOVE me some delicata!). You could add some beans or chickpeas (roasted chickpeas would be super yummy in this). Maybe switch from spinach to kale. And any dried fruit (golden raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, etc.), seed (sunflower or pumpkin), or nut (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.) would be delicious! Heck you could even use tofu.
It is totally about what you like and have on hand that matters when you make a salad, whether it is grain-based or green.
And the beauty of grain salad bowls is that they can be served warm, room temperature, or even cold. Personally, I preferred this warm, because the millet tends to clump a lot as it cools… but if you used quinoa you wouldn’t have that problem.
Flavor alternatives: Add edamame, chickpeas, dried cranberries, kale, and any nut/seed substitution!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 4 ounces fresh spinach (about 4 packed cups)
- 1 cup millet
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted if desired (or any nut/seed of choice)
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, optional
- ¼ cup tahini
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread sweet potato chunks across baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place in oven, ROAST for 20 minutes, toss and return to oven to roast 15 to 20 minutes longer or until golden brown and tender. Remove and set aside.
- MAKES THE DRESSING: Combine all ingredients together in food processor and blend until smooth and creamy (you can also use a tall glass and immersion blender to do this). Set aside.
- COOK THE MILLET: Place millet in a medium saucepan with 2 cups water; cover, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, to steam an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Set aside.
- SAUTEÉ THE VEGGIES: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, millet, and sautéed veggies with dressing. Gently toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature (or cold, if desired). Top with pumpkin seeds and/or dried cranberries, if desired.
Add a few tablespoons dried cranberries for an extra sweet note ;)