Sweet Potato Croutons and a Salad

Sweet Potato Croutons: because sone people don’t want bread croutons, but still want to add a burst of flavor to their salad.

Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes?  My obsession with this vegetable has led me to some crazy recipes in the past: from sweet potato naan bread to grain-free dual colored sweet potato gnocchi.  My new craze is dicing and roasting sweet potatoes and then sprinkling them over my salads.  Naturally sweet, they make an amazing salad compliment when seasoned and roasted to perfection.

The secret to the success of these potatoes is the spices.  I use a lot of spices, but trust me on this one, they work.  Cinnamon and nutmeg are pretty standard spices for sweet potatoes, but then I added garlic powder, rosemary, and turmeric.  It is a magical combination of spices that make these croutons amazing with salads and soups, but also great as a snack or side dish with dinner. They are not hard and crispy, as you usually expect croutons to be, but they offer so much more flavor to any dish you add them to!

This salad was born as a by-product of the sweet potato croutons.  When I first started making them, I was adding them to everything.  Although they are delicious with just about everything, I’ve figured out the best vegetables to throw together in a salad to really make the croutons shine.  This is great as a light lunch or a salad to go with dinner.  When I want to make it a little more substantial I throw some grilled chicken or tempeh in it.

My favorite part of this salad is how the feta cheese and balsamic vinegar mix to form a creamy, sweet, and slightly tart dressing.  What’s better than a dressing that you don’t have to make?!  I think that I tend to avoid fancy salad dressings (anything other than oil and vinegar) because they take an extra step to mix up: and let’s face it, I’m lazy.  Simply drizzling the vinegar over this salad and lightly tossing it coats the vegetables with the salty feta and sweet grape flavor.  Yum!

I recommend making a double batch of these babies.  They don’t last as long as you would think (and a six person serving is wishful thinking, at least for me).

Sweet Potato Croutons

yield: about 6 servings

2 large sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into about 1/2″ cubes.  Sprinkle with the spices then drizzle the coconut oil and toss well.

3.  Bake for 50-55 minutes.  Sweet potatoes should be soft with slightly crispy edges when ready.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Spinach, Broccoli, and Feta Salad with Sweet Potato Croutons

yield: one serving

3 cups baby spinach
1 cup steamed broccoli
1 ounce sheep’s milk feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 medium red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup sweet potato croutons
2 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
fresh ground black pepper

chopped chicken or tempeh, optional (for a more substantial salad)

1.  Put spinach in a bowl and top with broccoli, feta, onion, and croutons.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top, and toss so everything is evenly dressed.  Enjoy!

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