Sweet Heat Quinoa Salad With Balsamic Reduction loaded with spinach, zucchini, sweet potatoes, avocado and so many delicious flavors! Plant-based and made with all whole foods and topped with a sweet and spicy balsamic reduction!
Quinoa and Veggies
1/2teaspooneach of garlic powdersmoked paprika, chili powder & sea salt
3heaping cups sweet potatoes cut in bite size chunks
1medium zucchini dicedsimilar size as potatoes
Few cups of spinach as a bed for the vegetables
2tablespoonsgrapeseed oilfor oil-free, just simply roast them without any oil on parchment paper
Balsamic Reduction(Sauce reduces down quite a bit, so double the ingredients if serving multiple people)
1/4cupdark balsamic vinegarI used Alessi Balsamic Vinegar, because it contains red wine vinegar and grape musts. Make sure to use a quality balsamic, it WILL make a difference
2 teaspoonscoconut palm sugar
1 teaspoons chili powder
1/2teaspooneach of dried oreganogarlic powder & dry mustard
1/4teaspoonfine sea salt
NOTE: For oil-free, just roast the vegetables without any oil!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, prepare the quinoa. Add the quinoa, vegetable broth, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt to a medium pot, stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes or until all the water has evaporated. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, roast the vegetables. Dice the sweet potatoes and zucchini in bite size chunks and place them on two separate cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil (if using) on the sweet potatoes, massage with hands and season with salt and pepper. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper as well. Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes and then turn to broil just to brown and crisp the tops just for a couple of minutes. Watch closely so they don't burn. Bake the zucchini for 10 minutes and turn to broil the tops as well.
Directions for the balsamic reduction:
Add all of the ingredients into a small pot and whisk well. Turn to the lowest heat setting and let the sauce cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on how thick you want it. If you are doubling the recipe, it may take a bit longer to reduce and become thick. It is incredibly easy, you don't need to stand over the stove...just stir it every now and then to make sure it's not sticking to the sides or bottom of the pan. Once it reaches your desired thickness, and taste, turn off the heat. That's it! Easy as pie!
Tip: This has an intense, rich flavor so if you prefer a less tart taste from the vinegar, just whisk in a bit of water at the end to dilute it a bit. Keep in mind, the longer you cook it, the thicker it becomes, producing a more intense flavor.
Make a bed on a large platter with the spinach. Add the quinoa, cooked vegetables, sliced avocado and drizzle all over with the balsamic reduction. Or, if you are not serving a whole platter, just serve each individual plate with the vegetables and drizzle as much sauce as desired.