Warm and slightly caramelized, this gorgeous mix of roasted vegetable pairs perfectly with the hearty quinoa, texture rich garbanzo beans and salty feta. Now, I call this a salad but with the nutrient dense sweet potato, zucchini, and squash combined with the protein and fiber rich quinoa and garbanzo beans, this really is a meal all on its own.
As usual, there is so much to love about this salad and a few minor things to keep in mind so that it turns out perfectly. Let’s break it down.
1) Do you have to use sweet potatoes? I’m going to say yes. This complex carbohydrate is a great source of vitamins and nutrients, particularly vitamin A, but that’s not the only reason. Tossed in olive oil and slowly roasted, the sweetness of this potato is enhanced and adds a unique twist to the flavor combinations that are going on.
2) Because the vegetables we’re using have very different densities and textures, it’s important that you dice them the correct size for even roasting. Sweet potatoes would usually take the longest to roast, so you’ll want to dice them fairly thin and small whereas zucchini, summer squash, and onions have a shorter cook time, so you’ll want to cut them up in thicker pieces. I’ve included a photo to give you an example.
3) As for the garbanzo beans and feta, I really wouldn’t skip on either one. The beans not only provide extra fiber and protein, but also give this salad a great texture. I love that little bit of crunch mixed in with the soft roasted veggies. The feta, although not exactly a nutritional powerhouse, provides so much flavor. The salt from the feta mixed in with the sweetness from the roasted vegetables is truly delightful.
4) Last but not least, the quinoa. If you just aren’t a fan of quinoa, you can substitute rice or couscous but quinoa is such a great source of protein and fiber, (it’s actually considered a complete protein) that if you have it, I would definitely suggest using it. There are several different kinds of quinoa out there: red, white, black. Any kind would work well, but remember that the red and black variety has an earthier, nuttier flavor to it. The white quinoa is much more mild, taking on the flavor of whatever dish it’s added to.
Hearty and healthy, this salad can be served as a side or as a meal on its own. While I would suggest trying it warm first, it’s also great served cold. Your choice:) Enjoy.
Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad
Yield: 12 servings (1/2 cup)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced small
1 medium zucchini, diced thick
1 medium yellow summer squash, diced thick
1 medium red onion, chopped thick
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Fresh ground sea salt to taste
2 1/2 cups cooked white quinoa (prepare according to directions on package)
1 15ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup favorite Italian dressing or vinaigrette (I used Kraft Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette)
4 ounces crumbled feta
Preheat oven 400F
Place chopped/diced sweet potato, zucchini, yellow squash, and onion in a large bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and gently toss until well coated.
Spread evenly on greased, foil lined baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelize.
While vegetables roast, begin preparing quinoa according to the directions on the package.
Once the roasting is complete, add vegetables, quinoa, and garbanzo beans in a large bowl.
Gently stir in Italian dressing and feta and serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Facts Servings 12 Amount Per Serving 1/2 cup Calories 146 Total Fat 5g Saturated Fat 2g Monounsaturated Fat 1g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 7mg Sodium 353mg Potassium 279mg Total Carbohydrate 20g Dietary Fiber 4g Sugars 3g Protein 6g