Monday, September 23, 2013

Sweet Potato, Pear, and Wild Rice Salad

Sweet Potato, Pear, and Wild Rice Salad
It's officially fall, and that means you can officially wear boots and scarves and order pumpkin spice everything, shame free. It also means I can start making dishes full of fall flavors like pears and roasted sweet potatoes. I really think sweet potatoes are going to be my go-to this fall, sort of like corn was all summer. I just love sweet potatoes so much. As is evident here and here

Sweet Potato, Pear, and Wild Rice Salad
Amanda always welcomes fall with a pear and pecan salad that has a creamy yogurt-honey-lemon dressing. I decided to make that salad, but add in some heartiness with wild rice (actually, I used forbidden black rice, which is super fun), sweet potato roasted in coconut oil, and aged white cheddar. Bleu cheese would absolutely work here too (um, maybe both!?). 

Sweet Potato, Pear, and Wild Rice Salad
This salad also holds up well for lunch the next day! Just layer it in a jar so that your dressing is on the bottom, and your arugula is on the top. And leave your pecans out, so they stay nice and crunchy. 

Sweet Potato, Pear, and Wild Rice Salad
Who says you can't welcome fall with a salad!?

Sweet Potato, Pear, and Wild Rice Salad

Exact amounts for roasting the sweet potato and making the dressing are below. For assembly, just use proportions that work for you. I like to use equal parts rice, sweet potato, and arugula, then add in a handful of everything else. 

1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Salt & Pepper
Wild rice of your choice, cooked and cooled
Chopped fresh pear
Honey yogurt dressing (recipe below)
Toasted pecans
Diced red onion
Shaved or cubed aged white cheddar

To roast the sweet potato, preheat oven to 400, toss cubes with coconut oil, spread out evenly on a baking sheet, sprinkle salt & pepper, and roast (flipping once) for 30-40 minutes, until golden and slightly crispy on the outside, and creamy-tender on the inside. Watch to make sure you don't burn them. Cool.

To assemble, toss together cool roasted sweet potato, cool wild rice, pear, arugula, and a spoonful of dressing. Top with pecans, red onion, and white cheddar. Serve with fresh ground pepper. To assemble in jars, add a scoop of dressing, followed by rice, sweet potato, arugula, cheese, and pear. I like to bring onion and nuts in separate containers or baggies--the nuts so they don't get soft, and the onion so it doesn't overpower the whole salad. Refrigerate until lunch time, then either toss and stir in a bowl, or eat straight out of the jar. 

Honey Yogurt Dressing
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
Juice from 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Salt & Pepper

Whisk yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and chives together until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste. 
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