Week 7: Roasted Sweet Potato, Pear & Pomegranate Spinach Salad
You know the saying “you don’t make friends with salad”? I beg to differ. February has been indulgent; from Superbowl to Valentine’s Day (hello molten chocolate lava cakes) to this Family Day long weekend, but it’s all about balance, am I right? Time to try a new recipe for a tasty way to get our dose of leafy greens, antioxidants, and all the feel good food. Ambitious Kitchen’s recipe for roasted sweet potato, pear, and pomegranate spinach salad also features pecans and goat cheese – sign me up! Fresh, healthy, seasonal, and delicious.
Ingredients: needed to pick up some produce for this one but the only thing hard to find was the pomegranate seeds.
Timing: I was a little surprised by this, but it took me over an hour to make this salad start to finish (1h10min).
Yield: 6 generous servings
How did it go? Pretty smoothly! No major hiccups along the way, although I did make some minor modifications. I don’t use coconut oil so I subbed grapeseed oil to roast the sweet potatoes. I used one pear instead of two as I had no idea where to put all that pear! And I couldn’t find whole pomegranates at the grocery store so I bought the prepacked POM seeds. I didn’t measure how much I used but one small pack was more than enough. I was surprised to see the sweet potatoes roasted in brown sugar but I gave it a try for the sake of sticking to the recipe. I found the sugar unnecessary and would omit in future unless you are looking for a candied taste on the sweet potatoes. And the sweet potatoes took 37 mins to roast in the oven at 400 degrees (20 mins on one side, 17 on the other) rather than the quoted 20-30. Even though this was just for two of us, I made the full recipe, served about 1/3-1/2 of it, and saved the rest for another day. I don’t usually spend more than 15 minutes making a salad so this made the lengthy prep time more worthwhile!
Taste: I love this combo of toppings! The spices on the sweet potatoes brought a lovely warmth (the sugar was a bit much for me but would be easy to omit). The creaminess of the goat cheese perfectly balanced the spices on the sweet potatoes, with the pecans bringing the textural crunch, the pomegranate seeds a little brightness, and the pear rounding out the flavour profile nicely. The flavour of the dressing was assertive – this is definitely not a boring salad! I can see this being a great contribution to a holiday meal, as the author suggested.
- Sweet potatoes: be prepared for a little longer roasting time, and omit the sugar.
- Pear: one should be enough.
- Dressing: consider trying white balsamic if you like a slightly mellower flavour in your salad dressings.
- Serving: you can make the full recipe and reserve half the ingredients for another day (just pop the sweet potatoes back in the oven for 5 minutes to reheat) if you’re serving a smaller crowd.
- Tossing: personal preference but I always like to toss the lettuce (or spinach, in this case) with the dressing and then put all the toppings on after. That way the dressing evenly coats the otherwise tasteless greens but you don’t lose the toppings at the bottom of the bowl. Bonus: it looks super pretty to see all the toppings arranged on top!
Luke’s review: Smells good. Good dressing. Really good. Pear is nice and fresh. Goat cheese goes well with sweet potato – cuts the spiciness very nice. Definitely good – very good. Salad dressing is very in your face… in a good way. Might substitute pomegranates for strawberries, personal preference! Overall very delicious. 81 cent pear was the star of dish. Viva la pear!
Luke’s recipe rating: thumbs up!