Roasted Sweet Potato Salad


My boyfriend and I just got back from the UK last week, where we visited his mum who lives in Wales, and saw some eye-popping castles. We had a great time, but when you eat out for every meal, especially in a foreign country, it’s hard to control the quality of the ingredients, and I ended up feeling bloated and foggy. 

I’m not much of a breakfast person but we had breakfast every day…ever had a full English breakfast? Eggs, toast, two kinds of breakfast meats, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, and baked beans. Baked beans! The kind from a can with sugar! Yum, says the kid in me…and also, kind of, yuck, says the grown-up. (And if you’re really adventurous, black pudding. Look that one up. I didn’t go there, but the boyfriend did a couple times.)

We didn’t do that every day, it was too much. But there was usually eggs, toast or pastries. Evenings were spent chatting over the local ale…not normally a beer drinker, I love the English and Welsh ales. They are creamy and not too carbonated, something completely different than we have here in the US. But still full of carbs and calories.

I tried to find salads for lunches and did find a couple of really good ones in cafes and bistros, but his mum prefers pub food, not being the most experimental eater. And pubs in the UK are not generally known for salads. We did have some truly lovely fish and chips. When I’m home in my own element, I avoid fries at all costs, but, when in Rome…

Let’s face it. Vacations are for fun and enjoyment, family, nights out, and good times. If you’re healthy most of the rest of the year, it won’t hurt to indulge in some cuisine you won’t find elsewhere. But at the end of it, I wanted nothing more than to slash and burn the pounds I put on and go back to clean eating.

So, I’ve been poring over the internet searching for ideas for cold veggie salads packed with nutritious superfoods and filling the refrigerator with a rainbow of deliciousness I can grab and munch on without having to cook every day.  I almost never make a recipe exactly as I find it. I usually scour for ideas, think about what ingredients sound good to me and what I have on hand, mix and match, and voila: Steph’s take on whatever.

In the hormone health course I’m taking right now, after having recently graduated from IIN’s health coaching certification program (yay!!) I learned that sweet potatoes and beets are resistant starches. That means part of them passes through the digestive tract unchanged. In other words, “resistant” to digestion. They therefore act as soluble fiber, which has a lot of great health benefits including lowering blood sugar levels, reducing insulin sensitivity, increasing production of short-chain fatty acids, feeding the friendly bacteria in the colon (very important), and decreasing appetite.

Also if you’re post-menopausal like me, you might like to know that sweet potatoes and pumpkin seeds are among foods that ease our symptoms.

This recipe is also now saved on the "recipes" page on this site under salads, so you can come back for the details anytime!

Ingredients:

-Two large sweet potatoes, skin on if organic, cut into bite-size cubes

-Four small beets, I buy the cooked, vacuum sealed organic ones at Costco, also cut into bite size pieces

-half a bunch of kale, chopped

-Two carrots, peeled and shredded

-handful of raw pumpkin seeds

-handful of raw sunflower seeds

-1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped

-1/2 cup green onion, chopped

-1/2 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries

-coconut oil

-salt and pepper

-turmeric


Dressing:

1/4 cup raw, organic apple cider vinegar

2 TBS lime juice

2 tsp wasabi

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBS erythritol, honey or maple syrup

Salt and pepper


How to prepare:

If your beets are not already cooked, add them to the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with coconut oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of turmeric, mix around to get coated, and broil for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Allow to cool before adding.
Add the chopped kale to some boiling water for three minutes, then blanch under cold water to stop the cooking.
While those are cooking and cooling, add everything else into a bowl.
Make the dressing by adding the vinegar, lime juice, wasabi and salt and pepper into your blender or food processor. Turn it on and drizzle the olive oil in slowly, adding as much as you need so it tastes good to you.
5.   Stir everything together and refrigerate. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long!

Note: My recipes are to taste. If you like a tarter dressing, add more vinegar. If you don’t like walnuts, use pecans or cashews. If you don’t have carrots or seeds, just don’t use them. If you have anything else in the fridge you might like to add, go for it! Also, erythritol is the only alternative sweetener they found has no side effects. It acts and tastes like sugar but does not cause a spike in blood sugar. Just be sure to buy organic as it is made from corn which is often GMO and loaded with pesticides. But if you prefer a spoonful of maple syrup or honey instead, go for it!

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