Skip to main content

Roasted Sweet Potato, Blueberry, Feta and Pecan Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing

I have never really been much of a salad person. Given a choice between soup or salad, I will almost always pick the soup. Unless it is something disgusting like cream of lamb intestine soup *shudder*  (I actually have a story about this soup, but I will spare you the gory details. Let's just say it wasn't pretty!)

Anywaaay, let's talk salad. I have really been trying to incorporate tons of fresh fruits and veggies into our diet. Salad is a good way to do that. I came up with this salad a few days ago, and I just loved it! Trust me, if I go crazy for a salad, it must be a pretty special salad.

I  had originally planned on making a maple mustard vinaigrette but I realized that I didn't have any apple cider vinegar, so I came up with this version using balsamic vinegar. I also roasted a sweet potato to bring out its natural sweetness and  lightly toasted some pecans. I think the secret to a really good salad, is a variety of flavours and textures. This one has sweetness from the blueberries and the  sweet potato, crunchiness from the toasted pecans and the baby romaine, a salty bite from the feta, and a sweet-tangy flavour from the maple balsamic dressing.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Blueberry, Feta and Pecan Salad
( I don't really measure anything, add as much or as little as you like)

one large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into bite-size pieces
about 1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
whole pecan pieces
 fresh or dried blueberries (cranberries would also be delicious)
baby romaine or  other mixed greens of your choice
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cube sweet potato and toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and golden, about 45 minutes. In a separate pan, add the pecan pieces the last 7 or 8 minutes of cooking time ( If you are like me, you will probably want to set a timer for this.) In a large bowl, mix the sweet potato, lettuce, blueberries, pecans with the vinaigrette. Arrange on plates and sprinkle with crumbled feta.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
( this will make enough dressing for 4 to 6 large portions)

2 Tbsp pure dark amber maple syrup
1 Tbsp honey mustard
about 1/2 tsp. salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp canola oil

 In a jar with a lid combine all ingredients. Shake well. Taste and adjust seasoning. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Tags: Salad, Sweet Potato,

Popular posts from this blog

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Button Bones

Button bones are very similar to spareribs, but have a flat, circular bone. A quick Wikipedia check tells me that they are  taken from the bottom 5 or 6 bones located underneath the rib cage. I think button bones sound like something in a children's nursery rhyme - "Have you seen the button bones.. the button bones...the button bones... La La Laaaaa

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Button Bones
servings: 4
recipe source: Beer. Butter. Bacon

2 tsp. Sambal Olek
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. Sriracha
1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper
1 lb. pork button bones
sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnishing
Pour all ingredients in a large plastic zip lock bag. Marinade in fridge 6-8 hours. Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet 40-50 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. Turn often during cooking.

Tags: Asian, Button Bones, Pork

Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic

Traditionally, Fettuccine Alfredo is a simple dish made with heavy cream, lots of butter, lots of Parmigiano Cheese and pasta.  Delicious? Yes!   Figure friendly? No!   A couple of months ago, I would have had no problem inhaling a big bowl of this buttery, cheesy goodness, but times have changed and I am now really trying to be aware of every bite of food that I eat. Whenever I am contemplating eating higher calorie foods, I ask myself - " Is it worth the calories?" The answer is almost always no. I have discovered that I can make a healthier, lower calorie version of almost any dish that I am craving, that tastes just as good- if not better- than the original.

Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic
serves: 3 to 4

1 tsp. olive oil
2 whole heads of garlic, roasted and peeled
4 oz. light cream cheese, cut into cubes ( let cream cheese come to room temp.)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, plus extra …

Pasta alla Carbonara with Mushrooms

Pasta alla Carbonara - literally translated is"Coal Miner's Spaghetti" in Italian. Carbonara is a classic Italian dish  that is quick, relatively simple and requires only a few key ingredients; pasta, cured pork, eggs and cheese.
Timing is everything when it comes to making the perfect carbonara. Toss the hot pasta with the raw eggs and cheese, add a bit of the starchy cooking liquid and stir vigorously until a creamy sauce is achieved. This is the tricky part -  the pasta has to be as hot as possible, but removed from the heat or it will scramble the eggs. If the pasta isn't hot enough, the eggs won't be cooked and you will be left with a soupy mess. Salmonella is never a popular guest at a dinner party.

Have a hot date coming up? Pull this one out of your bag of tricks and you are going to look like a culinary rock star. Move over Mario Batali!

Pasta alla Carbonara with Mushrooms
(serves 2 -3)

3 strips center cut bacon, chopped
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1/2 small…