Are you team broccoli or team cauliflower? I’m guilty of being both! Cauliflower is my go-to among those two, and you’ll know this is true if you crawl around my blog a bit… I’ve got a lot of cauliflower recipes 🙂
But, I digress: our star of the show today is fresh broccoli and sweet potatoes!
For this salad, we will be roasting sweet potato and broccoli. Together with our fluffy quinoa, we will toss briny feta cheese and a divine maple lemon dressing. It’s all made of fresh, whole-food ingredients and has all the flavors: sweet, citrusy, and savory.
My secret to great-tasting salads is actually to roast my vegetables. With a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, you’ll be surprised how the oven brings out the natural flavor of each vegetable. Plus, they get all crispy, which is always a fun texture when it comes to vegetables.
Ooh, this broccoli quinoa salad is going to make your tastebuds dance with delight. I just know it!
Can This Recipe Be Made Ahead?
This quinoa and broccoli salad can be made ahead, which makes it a meal-prep friendly recipe. Covered tightly, it lasts in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be served cold or warm. These tips will come in handy if you are making quinoa and broccoli salad in advance:
- Make extra maple lemon dressing in advance and store it in individual portions. This way, your salad will never be without a yummy dressing that is ready to go.
- If your salad has dried up in the fridge, add some moisture into the vegetables by just squeezing a bit of lemon juice over it before serving.
- Prep your sweet potatoes ahead of time. This is a huge time-saving tip for sweet potatoes. I like to peel and chop the potatoes the night before and store them in the fridge. That way, I can simply pop them in the oven the day I’m making this salad.
For the broccoli salad with quinoa:
- Quinoa – Measure 1 cup of quinoa and rinse well.
- Water – Prepare 2 cups of water for cooking the quinoa.
- Sweet potato – Peel 1 large sweet potato and chop it into ½-inch chunks.
- Pro Tip: Sweet potatoes are so nutritious! They’re packed with vitamins and are a healthy source of carbs.
- Broccoli – Cut 1 medium head of broccoli into small florets.
- Olive oil – Measure 2 tablespoons of olive oil. It will help the vegetables roast in the oven and get slightly crispy.
- Flat-leaf parsley – Finely chop ½ cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley. Of course, regular parsley also works.
- Feta cheese – Crumble feta cheese and measure about 4 tablespoons for topping.
- Pro Tip: I always get a block of feta and crumble it myself. It tastes much better this way than the pre-cut ones. I have tried this recipe with goat’s cheese and safe to say, it tastes amazing!
- Slivered almonds – Get a packet of sliced almonds and measure about ¼ cup. These will add some crunch to our salad, and you can use them in so many other recipes!
- Pro Tip: You may substitute almonds with walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – Sprinkled to taste.
The sweet and zesty maple lemon dressing calls for the following ingredients. See the next section for all the deets about this dressing!
- Lemon – For lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Measure ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- Maple syrup – Measure 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
How to Prepare the Salad
Step One: Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step Two: Chop sweet potatoes into ½-inch bite-sized chunks. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the sweet potato chunks on your prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Set it in the oven to roast for 35 minutes.
Step Three: At the 10-minute mark, remove the pan from the oven and add the broccoli florets. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper over the broccoli and toss everything on the pan together. Continue roasting for the remaining 25 minutes.
Step Four: Cook the quinoa.
Put the quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse well under cold running water, swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain the quinoa well.
Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and let it cook for 15 minutes (or according to directions on packet). Remove from heat.
Step Five: Place a clean tea towel or 3 layers of paper towels over the saucepan. Place the lid back on, and let it sit. The tea towel or paper towel will absorb excess moisture. After five minutes, fluff the quinoa with a fork then turn it into a bowl and allow it to cool.
Step Six: Once your veggies are nice and roasted, remove them from the oven and combine them with the quinoa in a large bowl. Chop parsley and crumble feta cheese. Sprinkle slivered almonds. Garnish on the quinoa and vegetable salad.
Step Seven: Make the maple lemon dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa and vegetables and toss to coat.
Maple Lemon Dressing
There is an 80% chance that the maple lemon dressing on this quinoa sweet potato salad is my new favorite dressing. It’s citrusy and tastes so bright! (It kind of reminds me of a lemon drop martini.) The acidity is also balanced out perfectly by maple syrup, which is a sugar-free sweetener.
This maple lemon dressing is absolutely no-frills – you will be surprised that it is so easy to whip up a salad dressing that you can use in almost anything.
Step One: Squeeze one lemon and discard any pesky seeds. Grate the zest of the lemon and set aside.
Step Two: Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a small bowl.
Step Three: Sprinkle the lemon zest into the dressing, and voila! Stir again before pouring over the quinoa salad.
Can you imagine drizzling this lively dressing over a veggie-packed pasta salad? So good!
Broccoli and Quinoa Salad Recipe
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed well
- 2 cups water for cooking the quinoa
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped into ½ inch chunks
- 1 medium head of broccoli cut into small florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons feta cheese crumbled
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 lemon freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Chop sweet potatoes into ½ inch bite size chunks.
- Toss chopped sweet potato chunks on your prepared baking sheet with 1 tbsp of olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes total. At the 10 minute mark remove the pan from the oven and add broccoli florets. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper over the broccoli and toss everything on the pan together. Add back to the oven for the remaining 25 minutes.
- While the sweet potatoes roast, put the quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse well under cold running water, swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain the quinoa well.
- Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and let it cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat (Or follow directions on the packet).
- Place a clean tea towel or 3 layers of paper towel over the saucepan, place the lid back on and let sit for 5 minutes. The tea towel or paper towel will absorb excess moisture. Fluff the quinoa with a fork then turn it into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Once your veggies are nice and roasted, remove from the oven and combine them with the quinoa.
- Chop parsley, crumbled feta and add to the quinoa and vegetable mixture.
- In a small bowl mix your dressing ingredients
- Toss dressing over quinoa and vegetable mixture.