Arugula Sweet Potato Salad with Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Lately I’ve been all aboard the sweet potato train, and today’s post will hopefully get you on the bandwagon as well. I love sweet potatoes in pretty much any form, and could happily eat them for several meals a day. Luckily they are great all year round as French fries or a delicious breakfast, and work just as well in salads as they do in soups and chilis.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Several months ago my office had a catered lunch that was a bit higher class than our norm. Although all the food was delicious, the one that made the most impact on me was an arugula and spiced sweet potato quinoa salad. Their version was sweet, with heavily candied nuts, sugary dried cranberries, and a sweetened balsamic vinaigrette amongst the quinoa, arugula, and goat cheese. Although I loved this combination, it really was like eating dessert with arugula in it which isn’t necessarily something I want to do very often.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Inspired by their concoction, I opted to test out a more savory version for myself. I kept the cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes but only lightly honeyed my walnuts. I also nixed the cranberries and used bacon instead, and adjusted the arugula:quinoa ratio to be more in favor of the former. Originally I was going to use brie as chèvre (goat cheese) can be exorbitantly expensive, but I discovered Costco carries goat cheese at an incredibly reasonable price and so I kept that flavor as well. Feel free to substitute brie or another neutral soft cheese if you prefer.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

The spiced sweet potatoes, salty bacon, creamy chèvre and lightly sweetened and toasted walnuts come together in that fantastic sweet-and-salty juxtaposition that is so popular these days. Arugula and quinoa make a great base and let salad act either as a light lunch or a great side dish.

To round out the experience, I made a cinnamon balsamic vinaigrette only slightly sweetened with honey to mellow the flavor. The dressing gives the salad more of a punch of flavor, and I highly recommend you make it too. In fact, maybe make extra and use it on your other salads too since it’s just that delicious.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Although my original recipe is clearly neither vegetarian nor vegan, it could easily be altered for those diet preferences. Vegetarians can simply ditch the bacon, and a pinch of salt to the dressing, and carry on as normal. Vegans will want to substitute maple syrup in lieu of the honey as well as nix the cheese. You may want to add another ingredient to round it out, dried cranberries or salted almonds would both be great options, depending on which flavor route you want to go.

Full of cinnamon flavor, tasty sweet potatoes and a tinge of sweetness, this would be a superb side dish to grace your Thanksgiving table. Instead of those overly sugary sweet potato and marshmallow concoctions normally served this time of year, this salad would be a healthier and more sophisticated twist for this year. Even better, you can absolutely make it ahead (even a few days!) and store it in the fridge until ready to use. It’s delicious cold, at room temperature, or warmed, so pick your favorite or the most convenient and serve it as such.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

The dressing makes a fair amount, so start with half of the recipe and stir in more to taste or serve on the side for guests to add as they like. I am personally a light dressing kind of person but many people prefer a stronger flavor, and it’s good to have options.

If you’re not doing the Thanksgiving thing, or don’t want to wait that long, this also make a great lunch. I made a batch on Sunday and got about 4-5 lunches out of it. Stored in the fridge, it reheated beautifully at work for the rest of the week. Additionally, if you’re not a fan of arugula, some kind of baby spring mix would be a great substitution.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad & Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Inspired by Food for Thought and Just a Pinch
Serves 6-8 (side dish) or about 4 (lunch)

Ingredients

Salad
4 cups cubed sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup

6 slices bacon (optional)1

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

5 oz arugula (or leafy veggie/mix of choice)
~4oz goat cheese (or brie, optional)1

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sweet potatoes, olive oil, and cinnamon. Stir with a rubber scraper until potatoes are well coated. Arrange in one layer on half of a cookie sheet.
  3. In the same bowl, combine walnuts and honey and stir until completely coated. (Heat the honey sightly to liquify for easier stirring.) Arrange in one layer on the other half of the cookie sheet.
  4. Arrange bacon in one layer on the other cookie sheet.
  5. Place cookie sheets in oven (I put the potatoes on the middle rung, and the bacon one rung below it) and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until walnuts are lightly toasted.
  6. Remove the walnuts to a plate to cool. Continue baking potatoes and bacon for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, and bacon is cooked to desired doneness.
  7. Remove bacon to paper towels to cool, pressing to remove excess grease. Dice bacon and set aside.
  8. Meanwhile, in a medium pot bring quinoa and water to a boil, then cover and simmer until all liquid is soaked up, about 15 minutes. Uncover and set aside.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until completely combined.
  10. In a large bowl, combine arugula and half the dressing, tossing to coat. Add quinoa and sweet potatoes, and stir gently until well combined.
  11. Add walnuts (breaking apart if necessary), diced bacon, and goat cheese, stirring gently to combine.
  12. Serve immediately, later today, or tomorrow since it’s good at pretty much any temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge, or make it ahead the night before. Reheats well with a brief stint in the microwave and is also excellent right out of the fridge.
  13. Add additional dressing just before serving if necessary, or serve it on the side.
  14. Delicious as a side dish (6-8 servings) or for a lighter lunch (4 servings).

Notes

For a vegetarian option, just leave out the bacon, it’s great without it too! To get that added salty flavor, add a pinch to the dressing or include a few chopped salted almonds in its place. Vegans could also use maple syrup and ditch the cheese, although you may want to add another ingredient (maybe dried cranberries?), and follow the same salty suggestion.

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Sunrise Sweet Potato

Today I bring you a recipe I’ve been planning for months. Why so long you ask? That’s a good question. Is it hard? Nope. Did it take a lot of iterations to figure out? Nope. Does Lindsey greatly struggle with frying eggs pretty enough to photograph? Turns out, yes.

Sunrise Sweet Potato {{Baking Bytes}}

Typically I scramble eggs because it’s way easier and I like to throw in a bunch of extra stuff anyway, but for the purposes of this recipe a fried egg is really my favorite combination. Ideally lightly browned on the bottom with the yolk still a bit runny, it’s a delicious savory meal for any time of the day. Mashed sweet potato, sautéed bell peppers, and a fried eggs are drizzled with a maple syrup and chipotle combo that compliments and juxtaposes the other flavors all in one delicious bite.

Sunrise Sweet Potato {{Baking Bytes}}

I really meant to share this earlier in the summer but my aforementioned struggle with frying pretty eggs deterred me from doing so. As you can see by my over-medium (hard) version here, I eventually gave up. My own personal shortcomings should not prevent anyone from making this delicious recipe, so please forgive the lack of runny yolk.

You may be skeptical of the sweet potato and egg combination but I assure you it is fantastic. Or perhaps, like M, you’re a little held up on the maple chipotle situation that meshes with the whole thing. Even he admitted maple and chipotle are a delicious breakfast addition for a sweet and savory item. (And yes, this recipe is also somewhat inspired by Biga Pizza, just like last month’s ice cream flavor.)

Sunrise Sweet Potato {{Baking Bytes}}

If, like me, you struggle with frying eggs, you can definitely go scrambled or poached or hard-boiled or any method you prefer. I find it easiest to use two separate small frying pans for the eggs and peppers anyway, but if you have better kitchen skills than I do feel free to do it all in one. For ease and quickness, I cook my sweet potato in the microwave, but you can also do a bunch at once in the oven if you’re feeding more than a couple of people. For myself I typically use just one egg, but after a 10-mile run I decided two was necessary.

Sunrise Sweet Potato {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a fantastic post-run meal, a hearty brunch, a delicious lunch, or a fun dinner. I encourage you to make it for whatever you think is the best option, but really, they are all delightful.

And if you have leftover chipotle syrup, it’s great on plain yogurt, on ice cream, on a diced peach warmed in the microwave, for dipping your bacon or sausage, or to top your usual griddle items like pancakes and waffles. Make a larger batch and store it in the fridge, or mix it up on the fly; totally up to you.

Sunrise Sweet Potato
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2-1 tsp ground chipotle

1 medium-large yam or sweet potato
2-4 eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 bell pepper, diced

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and chipotle. Set aside.
  2. Vigorously scrub your potato, then use a fork to prick several holes all over it.
  3. Microwave 5-10 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, sauté bell pepper in oil over medium heat to desired doneness, about 5 minutes.
  5. At the same time, prepare eggs using preferred method. I like to use fried eggs, but poached or scrambled would be great also.
  6. Just before the eggs are done (don’t forget about them), carefully slice your sweet potato in half. Use a fork to mash the insides and then drizzle with 1-2 tsp of the chipotle syrup.
  7. Top each potato will bell peppers and eggs, then drizzle with additional syrup.
  8. Serve immediately.

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

 [Welcome to Frozen Friday! In honor of National Ice Cream Month, I am sharing a new ice cream recipe each Friday morning. In case you missed them, be sure to check out the previous recipes, s’moresmimosablueberry cardamom cheesecake, and matcha!]
 

My final Frozen Friday flavor is inspired by Biga Pizza in Missoula, MT. Last April I spent a Saturday with a couple coworkers and a bunch of middle school girls doing a STEM workshop. Since we are software engineers, we had the girls write down a “program” telling us how to build s’mores, and then we acted as computers and ran the program. The results were quite delightful and it was a lot of fun, despite being a long day.

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

In any case, we arrived the night before (it’s a 3-hour drive) in time for dinner, and opted to get pizza at a popular local spot. The one we chose was sweet potato, bacon, hazelnut, something else I’m forgetting, and topped with a maple chipotle drizzle. The sweet potato + maple + chipotle combo really stuck with me and I’ve been using the trifecta quite a lot recently. (Related post pending…still practicing to make it pretty enough for pictures.)

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Although I have a very low spice tolerance, it turns out that maple and chipotle are a beautiful, delicious combination and I am super glad I was introduced to it. During one of my practice rounds at the aforementioned post-in-the-making, I had the idea that it might work well as an ice cream flavor, and promptly did a bit of research on how to make it work. Last May my mom randomly gifted me an awesome book of ice cream recipes and though I’ve still yet to specifically make any of them, I recalled maple being a flavor in there. That recipe calls for maple extract, so I immediately ordered some off Amazon and impatiently waited for it to arrive.

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Fantastically, my first attempt turned out perfect for me. Smooth and creamy, full of maple flavor and with an unexpected chipotle kick, this ice cream is unusual without being too crazy (like matcha). It reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate, in that it’s a fun twist on an otherwise standard treat.

I used a half teaspoon of ground chipotle which was perfect for me, but it is easily tailored to your personal spice preferences. The maple extract is optional, but it does really boost the maple flavor and I highly recommend using it. I always use pure extracts, but I’ll only judge you a little if you go the imitation route. (They are admittedly much less expensive.)

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

As a bonus, this ice cream is less sugary than other flavors, being purely sweetened by the maple syrup. If you’d prefer a sweeter experience, feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar to the mix, although I think it’s perfect as is.

Kick your summer up a notch and make a batch of this spicy ice cream for your next Taco Tuesday!

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream 

Inspired by Molly Moon
Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 tsp maple extract (optional but highly recommended)
1/4 – 1 tsp ground chipotle

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients, starting with 1/4 tsp chipotle. Taste and add additional spice to your preference. (I used 1/2 teaspoon and I thought it was perfect, but I also have a pretty low spice tolerance.)
  2. Transfer container to the fridge until completely chilled, or overnight.
  3. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight.
  4. Serve plain or topped with a sprinkle of extra chipotle powder.